This meticulously crafted YA journey will challenge readers’ expectations until the last page.

BEWILDERNESS

BOOK ONE

A human teenager finds herself on a series of alien worlds in this YA adventure.

A 16-year-old girl is trapped in a sandy oasis. There are no people or animals, and she has no memories of how she arrived or of anything else about herself. She does, however, remember a “blue glow coming through a swirling vortex” and sinister whispers. When she tries to explore her surroundings, a strange voice says, “Let us guide you,” but she can’t seem to escape the oasis. She then finds Sidaire, a younger girl who has glowing, emberlike hair and doesn’t seem quite human. Sidaire warns her about a place called the Hollow and about a threatening monster. When the teen dives into a spring in an attempt to escape said creature, she enters a series of underwater caves. She emerges in a new world of forests and mountains. A friendly humanoid named Maetha rescues her from danger, names her Ambrielle, and explains they’re in Anatharia. With no clear way back to Earth, Ambrielle tries to live among Maetha's people, the Kavekkians. They’re a wary group and warn her not to engage with their enemies, the Darterrans. This proves impossible when Ambrielle spies a human among the latter. Cox’s YA novel lives up to its title, keeping the protagonist in a consistent state of bafflement over new developments. He also provides occasionally striking visuals, such as a description of Maetha, who has a light-gray, oblong face and “rust-colored eyes.” Ambrielle encounters more familiar things, as well, including prejudice from the Kavekkians and petty tribalism among the Darterrans. The worldbuilding branches out in surprising ways when the setting moves to the technologically marvelous world of Elyravess. As Ambrielle remembers more details from her previous life, such as her falling-out with her friend Hannah, a fuller emotional journey evolves. Ambrielle also pursues a well-earned romance with Gavian, a teen living with the Darterrans. A superb final moment ensures that fans will return for the sequel.

This meticulously crafted YA journey will challenge readers’ expectations until the last page.

Pub Date: Oct. 10, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-578-94488-3

Page Count: 292

Publisher: Silvettica

Review Posted Online: Jan. 13, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2022

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An immersive tale of brave, vulnerable teens facing threats both real and fantastic.

ALL OUR HIDDEN GIFTS

An Irish teen grapples with past misdeeds and newfound ties to magic.

When 16-year-old Maeve discovers a deck of tarot cards stashed with a mixtape of moody indie music from 1990, she starts giving readings for her classmates at her all-girls private school. Though her shame over dumping her strange friend Lily during an attempt to climb the social ladder at St. Bernadette’s is still palpable, it doesn’t stop her from trying to use the tarot in her favor to further this goal. However, after speaking harsh words to Lily during a reading, Maeve is horrified when her former friend later disappears. As she struggles to understand the forces at play within her, classmate Fiona proves to be just the friend Maeve needs. Detailed, interesting characters carry this contemporary story of competing energy and curses. Woven delicately throughout are chillingly eerie depictions of the Housekeeper, a figure who shows up on an extra card in the deck, echoing the White Lady legend from Irish folklore. Even more disturbing is an organization of young people led by a homophobic but charismatic figurehead intent on provoking backlash against Ireland’s recent civil rights victories. Most characters are White; Fiona is biracial, with a Filipina mother and White Irish father. Roe, Maeve’s love interest and Lily’s sibling, is a bisexual, genderqueer person who is a target for intolerance in their small city of Kilbeg.

An immersive tale of brave, vulnerable teens facing threats both real and fantastic. (Paranormal. 14-18)

Pub Date: June 8, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5362-1394-2

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Walker US/Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Dec. 10, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2021

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Black is building a complex mythology; now is a great time to tune in.

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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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