‘Blackout’ Review: A Charming Read That Absolutely Shines


The YA team-up for the ages has arrived at last. Powerhouse YA authors Nic Stone, Ashley Woodfolk, Angie Thomas, Dhonielle Clayton, Nicola Yoon, and Tiffany D. Jackson have finally released their much-anticipated novel collaboration, titled Blackout. Told in six different stories, Blackout follows the residents of New York City after an unexpected blackout hits. As they wait for the power to return, new friendships are formed, romantic relationships are revisited, and hidden truths come to light.

From the first sentence, the setting and tone that carry readers through the book are established. The feeling of a hot summer day jumps off the page as Jackson sets the stage for what’s to come. Each author quickly establishes the protagonists, their situations, and their relations to other characters. No time is wasted. As readers are pulled through NYC, they also get a sense of not only the vastness of the city, but also how it’s an entire (smaller) world on its own. While NYC is fraught with tourists, each author takes care to write as though readers aren’t, inviting them into the world of the book in a personal way.

The entire point of the book, though, is to showcase love and joy – specifically love and joy for Black teens, and these authors absolutely nail it. First and foremost, they present love in more than one way, most notably by including bisexual and queer protagonists who have just as much opportunity to explore their relationships. Each character experiences highs and lows with friends, exes, and significant others. They endure heartache and intense yearning, but never without some type of satisfying resolution. One of the great qualities of this book is that the authors don’t allow any sort of pain or trauma to overpower.

Blackout is the perfect summer novel, but it’s also one that is guaranteed to bring a little slice of happiness no matter the season. Each author brings a unique perspective to the table that fits well with each other. Each story is distinct, yet the authors seamlessly weave their individual worlds together into one deeply interconnected tale. They craft an endearing, tender, and humorous story bursting with Black joy. Blackout is a triumphant love letter to Black teens, who are gifted the space to see themselves in a new and deserving light. Run, don’t walk to purchase and read this book immediately.

Blackout is available now in stores and online.

Julia is a writer/editor/content assistant for Nerds who joined the team in 2019.

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