A potent story of how one young woman finds the power to write her own story.

ONE GREAT LIE

Budding writer Charlotte Hodges has a dream: “to say something that says something.

She gets the chance when she spends the summer under the guidance of her idol on his private island in the Venetian Lagoon. Luca Bruni is a kindred spirit: His semiautobiographical writing speaks directly to 18-year-old Charlotte’s personal pain. At first, Bruni is charming and brilliant—as Charlotte always expected. Reality creeps in as his true nature slowly emerges: He’s a middle-aged, arrogant snob hiding serial lechery behind a mask of empty, performative feminism while preying on the young women who attend his sought-after summer program. Charlotte’s dreams crumble when this powerful man who can make or break a writing career sets his sights on her. Third-person–present narration foreshadows the dreadful events to come, giving the story a fairy-tale tone and inspiring readers to absorb every luminous detail as the narrative slows down to describe Venice in gorgeous, flowing prose. Each chapter is prefaced with information about a female poet from the Italian Renaissance who, despite her accomplishments, has been forgotten or is only remembered for her connection to a man. In a subplot, Charlotte investigates one such woman, an ancestor who may have penned a famous poem claimed by her lover as his own. Readers won’t miss the parallels between this woman’s life and what is happening to Charlotte in the present. Most characters are assumed White.

A potent story of how one young woman finds the power to write her own story. (Fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: June 1, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5344-6317-2

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: March 31, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2021

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Riveting, brutal and beautifully told.

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WE WERE LIARS

A devastating tale of greed and secrets springs from the summer that tore Cady’s life apart.

Cady Sinclair’s family uses its inherited wealth to ensure that each successive generation is blond, beautiful and powerful. Reunited each summer by the family patriarch on his private island, his three adult daughters and various grandchildren lead charmed, fairy-tale lives (an idea reinforced by the periodic inclusions of Cady’s reworkings of fairy tales to tell the Sinclair family story). But this is no sanitized, modern Disney fairy tale; this is Cinderella with her stepsisters’ slashed heels in bloody glass slippers. Cady’s fairy-tale retellings are dark, as is the personal tragedy that has led to her examination of the skeletons in the Sinclair castle’s closets; its rent turns out to be extracted in personal sacrifices. Brilliantly, Lockhart resists simply crucifying the Sinclairs, which might make the family’s foreshadowed tragedy predictable or even satisfying. Instead, she humanizes them (and their painful contradictions) by including nostalgic images that showcase the love shared among Cady, her two cousins closest in age, and Gat, the Heathcliff-esque figure she has always loved. Though increasingly disenchanted with the Sinclair legacy of self-absorption, the four believe family redemption is possible—if they have the courage to act. Their sincere hopes and foolish naïveté make the teens’ desperate, grand gesture all that much more tragic.

Riveting, brutal and beautifully told. (Fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: May 13, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-385-74126-2

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2014

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Black is building a complex mythology; now is a great time to tune in.

THE CRUEL PRINCE

From the Folk of the Air series , Vol. 1

Black is back with another dark tale of Faerie, this one set in Faerie and launching a new trilogy.

Jude—broken, rebuilt, fueled by anger and a sense of powerlessness—has never recovered from watching her adoptive Faerie father murder her parents. Human Jude (whose brown hair curls and whose skin color is never described) both hates and loves Madoc, whose murderous nature is true to his Faerie self and who in his way loves her. Brought up among the Gentry, Jude has never felt at ease, but after a decade, Faerie has become her home despite the constant peril. Black’s latest looks at nature and nurture and spins a tale of court intrigue, bloodshed, and a truly messed-up relationship that might be the saving of Jude and the titular prince, who, like Jude, has been shaped by the cruelties of others. Fierce and observant Jude is utterly unaware of the currents that swirl around her. She fights, plots, even murders enemies, but she must also navigate her relationship with her complex family (human, Faerie, and mixed). This is a heady blend of Faerie lore, high fantasy, and high school drama, dripping with description that brings the dangerous but tempting world of Faerie to life.

Black is building a complex mythology; now is a great time to tune in. (Fantasy. 14-adult)

Pub Date: Jan. 2, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-316-31027-7

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Sept. 26, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2017

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