What a great collection. I loved the idea of authors getting together to have characters set in the same place/time/date with them all spinning their individual stories. This was honestly lovely and I had no problem with any of the storylines. To have a young adult romance book starring mostly Black characters was wonderful to read. I started wishing for this to get turned into a miniseries. I miss really good romantic movies/tv shows. It feels like they have gotten out of vogue the past few years.
“Blackout” takes place on a hot summer day in New York City. Most of the characters go to the same school (Stacey Abrams Preparatory) and all of them seem to be at a crossroads. Besides the blackout centering all of the stories, most of the stories deal with the characters trying to get to a block party which cracked me up. I recall when I was a kid and our neighborhood lost power during the summer. Everyone ended up just BBQing and were playing music on big boom boxes. Kids were running up and down the street. Drinks were stored in containers or coolers and every dad on the block it seemed went and got ice.
I honestly don’t know whose story I loved the most out of this book, but will make sure I give a brief rundown of all of the stories per usual.
The Long Walk: Act 1 by Tiffany D. Jackson (all acts together are 5 stars)-FYI, this story flows throughout the book and Jackson is the author on all the different acts. I loved that it takes a while to follow and complete the story of Tam and Kareem. Two longtime best friends who turned into boyfriend and girlfriend who break up. They haven’t spoken in a while at the start of this story, but both end up arriving at the same place for an internship. The blackout hits and they are forced to walk back home together.
Mask Off by Nic Stone (5 stars)-We follow the story of local basketball star Jacorey “JJ” Harding Jr. in this one. Jacorey’s story starts off slow, we find him stuck on a subway before the blackout hits. He sees his classmate Tremaine Wright and flashbacks to when they were younger and how Tremaine is claustrophobic. I thought this was a lovely story of Jacorey’s realization or him facing up to the fact that he’s not attracted to girls. The entire story I thought was lovely and I loved how it loops back to how Jacorey can’t seem to get Tremaine out of his mind.
The Long Walk: Act 2-The acts were cut up in a good way. This one has Tam upset that Kareem seems to be rushing to get back to his now girlfriend. She tells herself that it’s good she’s leaving New York and getting away from him.
Made to Fit by Ashley Woodfolk (4.5 stars)-I loved this story. We follow Nella, who goes to Althea House to visit her grandfather that lives there now. The blackout has hit and Nella is stuck meeting a young woman her grandfather has wanted to introduce her to for a while, Joss. I felt for Nella in this story. She’s come out to her family who sound great. But she’s left reeling from the fact that she thought she was dating someone who just saw her as a friend. As an aside, I don’t hold hands with my friends and kiss them on the mouth! The other girl in this story was shady as heck LOL. The only reason why I gave it 4.5 stars is that the central story between Nella and Joss felt a wee bit rushed. The other stories thus far had people already in pre-existing relationships or they have known each other.
The Long Walk: Act 3-Tam and Kareem are now reminiscing about stories their parents told them about the blackout in New York in the 1970s. They are getting a bit softer with each other. We get a lovely scene of them in Time’s Square together with no lights on anywhere. And they can see the sky. They end this act wondering what happened with them.
All the Great Love Stories…and Dust by Dhonielle Clayton- (5 stars)-Lana and her best friend Tristan sneak into a library during the blackout. They are playing a longstanding game with this one being about selecting the best book ever written. During their exploration and hiding from the security guard you find out that Lana has fallen in love with Tristan and is worried about telling him that. It’s a lovely story.
The Long Walk: Act 4-We have Tam dealing with a panic attack that Kareem helps her with. You definitely see how he has supported her, but she didn’t always factor him into her dreams though she thinks she has.
No Sleep Till Brooklyn by Angie Thomas (5 stars)-A group of teens from Jackson, Mississippi, visiting New York for the first time come to some realizations about their relationships. This is told via a young woman named Kayla’s point of view with her realizing her long term relationship with her boyfriend Tre’Shawn may be changing. I loved how this ended. There is no big scene, just an understanding that sometimes things change, and that change can be great.
The Long Walk: Act 5-And the final act that shows Tam how much Kareem loves her and she loves him.
Seymour and Grace by Nicola Yoon (5 stars)-Linked back to “All the Great Love Stories. A side character, Grace was mentioned in that one, and now we follow her as she tries to get to the party with her Ryde driver Seymour.