A thoughtful meditation on being a young, white, queer person today.

WHEN YOU GET THE CHANCE

Teenage cousins Talia and Mark confront family drama and relationship struggles when they end up on an unplanned road trip to Toronto Pride.

Mark and Talia haven’t seen each other since they were about 10, but when their grandfather dies unexpectedly, they end up spending a week together in their family’s summer cottage in Muskoka, Ontario. Talia is preoccupied with her rocky romance with Erin, who is nonbinary, while Mark just wants to meet cute guys and ignore the boyfriend he is stringing along back home. The flimsy plot is secondary to the growth of Talia and Mark, who are both presumed white and identify as queer and gay, respectively. They seem caught between a queer history that they don’t quite understand (what does it mean to be a butch, anyway?) and a queer future that they are trying to create (is the taboo against outing still relevant if being queer is no big deal?). Ultimately, this story captures a coming-of-age moment in two young people’s lives as they begin to figure out where they fit in the world. Mark confronts his entitlement while Talia begins to form her own identity independent of her partner and family. This book is packed full of teaching moments, and while some feel tedious, others perfectly capture the frustration of, for example, explaining “they/them” pronouns yet again.

A thoughtful meditation on being a young, white, queer person today. (acknowledgements) (Fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: May 4, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-7624-9500-9

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Running Press Kids

Review Posted Online: March 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2020

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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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This grittily provocative debut explores the horrors of self-harm and the healing power of artistic expression.

GIRL IN PIECES

After surviving a suicide attempt, a fragile teen isn't sure she can endure without cutting herself.

Seventeen-year-old Charlie Davis, a white girl living on the margins, thinks she has little reason to live: her father drowned himself; her bereft and abusive mother kicked her out; her best friend, Ellis, is nearly brain dead after cutting too deeply; and she's gone through unspeakable experiences living on the street. After spending time in treatment with other young women like her—who cut, burn, poke, and otherwise hurt themselves—Charlie is released and takes a bus from the Twin Cities to Tucson to be closer to Mikey, a boy she "like-likes" but who had pined for Ellis instead. But things don't go as planned in the Arizona desert, because sweet Mikey just wants to be friends. Feeling rejected, Charlie, an artist, is drawn into a destructive new relationship with her sexy older co-worker, a "semifamous" local musician who's obviously a junkie alcoholic. Through intense, diarylike chapters chronicling Charlie's journey, the author captures the brutal and heartbreaking way "girls who write their pain on their bodies" scar and mar themselves, either succumbing or surviving. Like most issue books, this is not an easy read, but it's poignant and transcendent as Charlie breaks more and more before piecing herself back together.

This grittily provocative debut explores the horrors of self-harm and the healing power of artistic expression. (author’s note) (Fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Aug. 30, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-101-93471-5

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2016

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