I love it when authors come together on a common project with a nice intention in mind.
Blackout was written in 2020 during the Covid-19 pandemic. When I was a teen, I devoured books but never really found some that I could fully identify as the characters. Not that I did in this book, as I am not a teen anymore, but the Black representation is something important in my life. And these authors did it justice.
At first, I was a bit scared because of the romantic aspect of the stories. To be honest, romance can easily be too cute for my taste. However, I was pleasantly surprised: it was way beyond love between teens.
Blackout features six stories within one bigger storyline. All happening during one single night in New York City. It is not always clear how they fit with each other, but this actually made it good for me. Because nobody likes when things are too obvious in a book (or is it just me?). I appreciated the fact that each intertwined with the others. However, not all were as good.
- I loved Angie Thomas’ “No Sleep ’til Brooklyn“. But I am biased as, so far, I am truly digging her style and her voice in general.
- I liked “All the Great Love Stories… and Dust” from Dhonielle Clayton (who actually was the curator of this anthology). I never read anything by this author, so this was my introduction to her writing. I found this story very syrupy. The girl is in love with her long-time best friend and is trying to have the courage to tell him how she truly feels. The one thing I really was entertained by was their habits of betting with each other and how this tied the story in a way that was nice.
- I need more from Nicola Yoon. Her Uber-ride story, “Seymour and Grace” was sweet but it sometimes fell into some clichés. However, the philosophical talks between the protagonists were a positive touch for me. It elevated the entire book (in my opinion) and did not make it as a young adult novella as the other stories. I am not sure it would happen like this in real life, without feeling a little creepy, but what do I know? 😉
- In “Mask Off“, Nic Stone tackles what it’s like to be Black and also Gay. There is a stigma about being both in today’s age still and I truly enjoyed how the author wrote about it. There is a strong message in this story that I feel is important to think about. I was glad that some of it tackled claustrophobia as well, as this is something I struggle with.
- “The long walk” by Tiffany D. Jackson is like the red thread connecting all the different stories. It’s divided into several parts all throughout the anthology. I found it pretty nice to have a storyline coming in between the other ones, connecting them even more together.
- The setting of “Made to fit” by Ashley Woodfolk in a senior home was refreshing. I liked the balance of the young main characters blended with the older residents. The family relationship was a nice touch. Of course, the instant-love part of it felt a bit too forced but it still worked out somehow.
More than just stories about young Black teens in love, this is an ode for the city of New York. I have not visited yet as I wrote this, but this book painted what feels like a true-to-life picture of it.
It’s being adapted for TV!
I just discovered that Blackout is becoming both a TV Show AND a movie, produced by the Obama’s production company. It is a deal with Netflix and from my understanding as I am writing this, some stories will be in the series while others will be in the movie. However, there is not much information about it yet.
There is plenty of potential in how these stories can be adapted for tv. So now, it’s just “wait and see” right now, I guess.
About the authors
“All six authors who contributed to Blackout during the pandemic have written for young people but felt passionate about this particular project because it removes the usual trauma attached to Black American love stories. The characters simply fall in love. […]
Blackout is not just a romance story, although there is plenty of that. It’s a love story to New York City, to being young and Black, to the darkness that hides us and can also set us free. As Clayton writes, “Some stories are better told in the dark.”” (Source: teenvogue.com)
I invite you to read this great interview of the authors from the Publisher Weekly website: “Blackout authors on centering black love“
Young Adult Fiction
Quill Tree Books
22 June 2021
Six critically acclaimed, bestselling, and award-winning authors bring the glowing warmth and electricity of Black teen love to this interlinked novel of charming, hilarious, and heartwarming stories that shine a bright light through the dark. Beloved authors--Dhonielle Clayton, Tiffany D. Jackson, Nic Stone, Angie Thomas, Ashley Woodfolk, and Nicola Yoon--celebrate the beauty of six couples and the unforgettable magic that can be found on a sweltering starry night in the city.
A summer heatwave blankets New York City in darkness. But as the city is thrown into confusion, a different kind of electricity sparks... A first meeting. Long-time friends. Bitter exes. And maybe the beginning of something new. When the lights go out, people reveal hidden truths. Love blossoms, friendship transforms, and new possibilities take flight.