Monday, July 5, 2021

Book Review: "Blackout" by Dhonielle Clayton et al.

In Blackout, even love stories can glow when the lights go out.

I love this concept! Six best-selling Black YA authors—Dhonielle Clayton, Tiffany D. Jackson, Nic Stone, Angie Thomas, Ashley Woodfolk, and Nicola Yoon—got together and wrote a collection of interconnected stories that all take place when a blackout hits NYC during a heatwave.

Each story focuses on a relationship—a reunion of exes, meeting and being intrigued by someone new, revealing a longtime crush on your best friend, even showing your true self to someone for the first time. Characters in one story are connected to those in another, sometimes significantly and sometimes in passing.

For many authors who usually write heavy, emotional stories, this is an opportunity to share stories of Black joy and Black teen love, and the results are fun, sweet, moving, and hopeful. Jackson’s story, “The Long Walk,” is divided into five parts, and is scattered throughout the book.

I enjoyed all of the stories but my favorites were “Mask Off” by Nic Stone, in which a young man encounters a classmate on a subway train during the blackout and it forces him to come to terms with who he really is; “Made to Fit” by Ashley Woodfolk, about a young woman brooding over an unrequited crush on her best friend when she meets someone new at her grandfather’s senior home; and Nicola Yoon’s “Seymour and Grace,” which recounts the discovery a young woman makes after an intriguing ride share.

You know I love short stories, YA books, and rom-coms, so Blackout was a fun read. Having experienced the NYC blackout of 2003, this brought back some memories!!

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