Best Fiction for Young Adults (#BFYA2022) Featured Review of Blackout by Dhonielle Clayton, Tiffany D. Jackson, Nic Stone, Angie Thomas, Ashley Woodfolk, and Nicola Yoon

Blackout Cover Art

Blackout by Dhonielle Clayton, Tiffany D. Jackson, Nic Stone, Angie Thomas, Ashley Woodfolk, and Nicola Yoon
HarperCollins / Quill Tree Books
Publication Date: June 22, 2021
ISBN: 978-0063088092

It’s a hot, muggy summer day in New York City. When the power goes out, sparks fly. All across the city, an interconnected group of Black teens finds love. Bitter exes cross paths at a competitive internship before they’re forced to walk home together. Old friends reconnect on the subway and at the library. New attractions bloom at a nursing home and in a rideshare. Everyone is on their way to the same block party in Brooklyn, and who knows how their stars will have realigned when the lights finally come back on… 

Six in-demand Black female authors pen an interwoven collection of short stories that celebrate Black love. Set during a power outage that sweeps across New York City, the connecting thread is a pair of angry exes who reconnect when the lights go out. Meanwhile, their friends, family, and classmates are finding love of their own in separate story chapters. Grounded in real-world teen experiences, exploring love in all its forms (several stories center on LGBTQ+ romances), and focusing on the lives and loves of Black youth, this charming collection will delight readers as they search for connections between the stories’ characters and see their own lives reflected. All characters are Black.

Fans of the authors’ previous books are obvious readers for this short story collection. Recommend Blackout as well to readers of other short story collections like Meet Cute, Hungry Hearts, A Phoenix First Must Burn, Black Enough, All Out, and Out Now–all of which explore the intersections of race, queer identity, and relationships. Blackout is also a good fit for fans of anthology TV shows like “Modern Love” and “Little America.” 

Kali Olson

Other Nominated Titles

  • Amber and Clay by Laura Amy Schlitz (March 9. 2021)
  • Mister Impossible by Maggie Stiefvater (May 18, 2021)

The Selected Lists teams read throughout the year in search of the best titles published in their respective categories. Once a book is suggested (either internally or through the title suggestion form), it must pass through a review process to be designated an official nomination. 

Each week, the teams feature a review of one of the officially nominated titles. Additional titles to receive this designation are listed as well. At year’s end, the team will curate a final list from all nominated titles and select a Top Ten. The previous years’ lists are available on The Hub.