Blackout by Dhonielle Clayton & More
Rating: 5 Stars
Genre: Young Adult Romance
"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." ~ TheStoryGraph
Blackout by Angie Thomas, Dhonielle Clayton, Ashley Woodfolk, Nic Stone, Nicola Yoon, and Tiffany D. Jackson is the perfect Summertime YA romance. New York City is hit by a blackout on a scorching hot day leading into the night of a Brooklyn block party. Black young folx across the city come face to face with love in unexpected ways as they navigate their ways from the library, a school trip, and more to the outdoor bash.
This book has a creative web of love stories with original plots. The writing was so cohesive that I only noticed the authors switching because of the titles of each story and one author's repetitive use of a phrase. The stories are relatable, especially when I think back to my teen years. The fact that I was able to slip into the stories so easily is a testament to all of the wonderful authors of this project! Each story flowed and had some smooth lines.
I'm honestly not scared at all right now. Just looking forward to seeing you with your mask off.
Tremaine to JJ
Although some folks may compare the set up of this book to Love Actually, I think Blackout is less messy, the love stories revolve around teens and young adults, and the cast is entirely Black. All but one of the stories have medium-fast pacing and I'd say this worked for the book. If it had moved any faster, I would have had a harder time connecting with the characters and figuring out their connections to one another. If anyone else needs a visualization of that, like I did, you can check out the one I created below.
My favorite characters are Nella, Jocelyn, Grace, and Seymour. You'll see why if you're reading this book, too! The inclusive language, relationships, and conversations made this book feel refreshing. I loved the representation for queer folx, dealing with different types of anxiety, and Caribbean-Americans (Jamaican, specifically). My only critique is that I wished some of the main characters were folx with other disabilities and included a nonbinary person. I don't expect authors to include folx just to check off a box but rather to show the different ways each of us experience the same city. Each of the lead characters were able-bodied which likely made it easier to write about their physical journeys to Brooklyn, but I wish there was some commentary on how inaccessible the city can be. There were a few mentions of some nonbinary folx in the stories but they were usually just mentioned and not a part of the main cast.
Blackout is a wonderful book for romantic comedy lovers! It's cute and thoughtful with minimal spice. Folx from the age of 12 and up will probably enjoy it.