Hey, everyone! I’m back with a new book review. And this time it’s for the newly released Blackout, a young-adult anthology of interconnected Black Love stories set during a blackout in New York City. Blackout hits shelves today (June 22, 2021), so a huge thanks to EpicReads for my early review copy of the book!
About the Book
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.
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.
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.
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. (via Goodreads)
Blackout was a fun and heartwarming read! I love reading books set in New York City, and I think that the blackout made for a story that was even more immersive when coupled with the NYC setting. I definitely had to be in the right mood for this book since it requires you to suspend disbelief and follow these characters for only a single evening, but once I got into the right frame of mind, I thoroughly enjoyed my time with it.
One of the first things I noticed was the unique voice of each of the six authors. While I appreciated the way that each of the stories were subtly connected, I also liked that each vignette still felt extremely distinctive. Some of the characters are native New Yorkers, and others are visiting, so each author really takes time to paint the setting in their own way.
Due to the varying writing styles and approaches to the classic, teenage love story, I definitely found myself preferring some of the stories to others. I found the book to be a bit slow in the beginning since some of the earlier stories weren’t my favorite, but the second half of the book was a true page turner for me. Dhonielle Clayton’s story was my personal favorite since I adored her writing style (note: she uses footnotes!) and how introspective her main character was–I also love a good friends to lovers to trope. Anthologies, by nature, can either be a hit or miss since there’s no single narrative or writing style to follow. For me, Blackout hovers near the “hit” region since I enjoyed a good four and a half* out of the six stories.
*I say “and a half” since one story in particular (written by Tiffany D. Jackson) gets multiple acts, so we see that one in a longer form while all the others get a single act. I enjoyed this one a lot more in the beginning than I did in the end.
Though each story has a romantic element, I also liked reading about some of the other themes of friendship, identity, and self-reflection. In some cases, the exploration of these themes outshined the romance for me.
Overall, Blackout was a solid read, and it’s perfect for summer! The dedication of the book is made out to “Black kids everywhere,” so I love that a young Black audience will get to experience such a joyous book with characters that look like them.
Star Scale: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Grade Scale: B+