A celebration of Black teen love and the magic of possibility.

BLACKOUT

Six authors collaborate to create an interwoven story set during a blackout.

Unbearably hot temperatures in New York City cause a sudden blackout, simultaneously throwing plans into chaos and creating unexpected opportunities. Contributor Clayton, who is joined by YA superstars Jackson, Stone, Thomas, Woodfolk, and Yoon, was inspired by Covid-19 and the “metaphorical blackout” it has created for the world to initiate this project that embraces a wide spectrum of Blackness and sexuality. The characters’ final destination is a block party in Brooklyn with Jackson’s “The Long Walk,” a story about reconnecting exes told in five acts, serving as the overarching mechanism to connect the narratives. Stone and Woodfolk contribute queer love stories in “Mask Off” and “Made To Fit” respectively. Thomas’ “No Sleep ’Til Brooklyn” begins as a love triangle, progresses to a love quadrangle—and in the end is about self-love and discovery. Clayton’s story, “All the Great Love Stories…and Dust,” is set in the New York Public Library’s main branch and centers on best friends who may become something more. Yoon’s piece completes the novel with strangers finding love in a ride-share car in “Seymour and Grace.” Working together to deliver a fantastic mix of humor and romance, these authors offer something fun and lighthearted that is welcome during the continuing pandemic and that will bring joy long after it’s over.

A celebration of Black teen love and the magic of possibility. (Fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: June 22, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-06-308809-2

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Quill Tree Books/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: April 27, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2021

Did you like this book?

A thoughtful and thrilling story of life, death, and meaning.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2016

  • New York Times Bestseller

SCYTHE

From the Arc of a Scythe series , Vol. 1

Two teens train to be society-sanctioned killers in an otherwise immortal world.

On post-mortal Earth, humans live long (if not particularly passionate) lives without fear of disease, aging, or accidents. Operating independently of the governing AI (called the Thunderhead since it evolved from the cloud), scythes rely on 10 commandments, quotas, and their own moral codes to glean the population. After challenging Hon. Scythe Faraday, 16-year-olds Rowan Damisch and Citra Terranova reluctantly become his apprentices. Subjected to killcraft training, exposed to numerous executions, and discouraged from becoming allies or lovers, the two find themselves engaged in a fatal competition but equally determined to fight corruption and cruelty. The vivid and often violent action unfolds slowly, anchored in complex worldbuilding and propelled by political machinations and existential musings. Scythes’ journal entries accompany Rowan’s and Citra’s dual and dueling narratives, revealing both personal struggles and societal problems. The futuristic post–2042 MidMerican world is both dystopia and utopia, free of fear, unexpected death, and blatant racism—multiracial main characters discuss their diverse ethnic percentages rather than purity—but also lacking creativity, emotion, and purpose. Elegant and elegiac, brooding but imbued with gallows humor, Shusterman’s dark tale thrusts realistic, likable teens into a surreal situation and raises deep philosophic questions.

A thoughtful and thrilling story of life, death, and meaning. (Science fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Nov. 29, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4424-7242-6

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 26, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2016

Did you like this book?

This story is necessary. This story is important.

Reader Votes

  • Readers Vote
  • 46

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2017

  • Kirkus Prize
  • Kirkus Prize
    finalist

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

THE HATE U GIVE

Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter is a black girl and an expert at navigating the two worlds she exists in: one at Garden Heights, her black neighborhood, and the other at Williamson Prep, her suburban, mostly white high school.

Walking the line between the two becomes immensely harder when Starr is present at the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend, Khalil, by a white police officer. Khalil was unarmed. Khalil’s death becomes national news, where he’s called a thug and possible drug dealer and gangbanger. His death becomes justified in the eyes of many, including one of Starr’s best friends at school. The police’s lackadaisical attitude sparks anger and then protests in the community, turning it into a war zone. Questions remain about what happened in the moments leading to Khalil’s death, and the only witness is Starr, who must now decide what to say or do, if anything. Thomas cuts to the heart of the matter for Starr and for so many like her, laying bare the systemic racism that undergirds her world, and she does so honestly and inescapably, balancing heartbreak and humor. With smooth but powerful prose delivered in Starr’s natural, emphatic voice, finely nuanced characters, and intricate and realistic relationship dynamics, this novel will have readers rooting for Starr and opening their hearts to her friends and family.

This story is necessary. This story is important. (Fiction. 14-adult)

Pub Date: Feb. 28, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-06-249853-3

Page Count: 464

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Dec. 6, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2016

Did you like this book?

more