A worthy effort weakened by a rushed conclusion.

THE GIRL WHO COULD SILENCE THE WIND

Laden with the hopes and fears of her village, a 16-year-old girl casts aside her appointed calling to discover her true destiny.

“The curse on Sonia Ocampo’s life came without warning before she was even born, cleverly disguised as good luck.” Sonia’s birth marked the end of the colossal storm that had been ravaging the village of Tres Montes. From that day on, she carried the prayers of Tres Montes in the form of milagros, small, metal prayer charms, sewn into her shawl. When her prayers fail to save the life of young village boy, Sonia questions her supposed gifts. With the help of her spirited Tía Neli, she finds a job in the capital city as a wealthy woman’s maid. She leaves behind her parents, her brother and her schoolgirl crush, Pancho Muñoz, and joins three other village girls in service at Casa Masón. Soon word of her brother’s disappearance reaches her, and Sonia must decide how much she is willing to risk to save the ones she loves. Medina breathes life into Sonia and many of the secondary characters, and the vivid descriptions and touches of magical realism will enthrall readers. However, teens may find themselves with more questions than answers as the novel builds towards a hasty resolution and a tidy epilogue.

A worthy effort weakened by a rushed conclusion. (Magical realism. 14-18)

Pub Date: March 13, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-7636-4602-8

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Feb. 15, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2012

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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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Though constrained, the work nevertheless stands apart in a literature that too often finds it hard to look hard truths in...

DEAR MARTIN

In this roller-coaster ride of a debut, the author summons the popular legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. to respond to the recent tragic violence befalling unarmed black men and boys.

Seventeen-year-old black high school senior Justyce McAllister, a full-scholarship student at the virtually all-white Braselton Prep, is the focus. After a bloody run-in with the police when they take his good deed for malice, Justyce seeks meaning in a series of letters with his “homie” Dr. King. He writes, “I thought if I made sure to be an upstanding member of society, I’d be exempt from the stuff THOSE black guys deal with, you know?” While he’s ranked fourth in his graduating class and well-positioned for the Ivy League, Justyce is coming to terms with the fact that there’s not as much that separates him from “THOSE black guys” as he’d like to believe. Despite this, Stone seems to position Justyce and his best friend as the decidedly well-mannered black children who are deserving of readers’ sympathies. They are not those gangsters that can be found in Justyce’s neighborhood. There’s nuance to be found for sure, but not enough to upset the dominant narrative. What if they weren’t the successful kids? While the novel intentionally leaves more questions than it attempts to answer, there are layers that still remain between the lines.

Though constrained, the work nevertheless stands apart in a literature that too often finds it hard to look hard truths in the face. Take interest and ask questions. (Fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: Oct. 17, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-101-93949-9

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Aug. 7, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2017

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