ARC Review: Blackout

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.

Blackout is a collection of six connecting short stories. Set on a summer night in NYC, six Black teenagers are trying to make their way across the city from different areas when the lights in the city go out. What these teenagers have in common, aside from connections to characters in the other stories, is that they’re dealing with some kind of romance. From heartbreak to first meetings to finally professing their love… there’s enough love fluff to go around.

What I really enjoyed was the unification of these stories. Characters from each one were related to one in another in some way, whether they were cousins, siblings, best friends, or just knew them from school. It tied the anthology together, which made it a little easier to stick with. I often find that I trail off when reading normal anthologies since there isn’t a story to continue, but the fact that all these did… I liked it a lot. 

Here’s a little about what I enjoyed from each story and the order of which I enjoyed them:

“Seymour and Grace” by Nicola Yoon – Two strangers meet on an Uber-like service, and when the car runs out of gas the two have to walk to their destination and maybe find a gas station along the way. I just thought the characters in this were adorable and loved their philosophical talk along the way.

“The Long Walk” by Tiffany D. Jackson – A five-part story (that alternated with the others) about exes who have to travel across the city to a block party in their neighborhood. I just liked the flow of this story and looked forward to getting back to it after the other stories.

“No Sleep ’til Brooklyn” by Angie Thomas – An emerging love triangle among some students visiting the city and they’re stuck on a double-decker tour bus. It was short and sweet, but I really enjoyed it and the message that went along with it, which was to put yourself and love yourself first.

“All the Great Love Stories… and Dust” by Dhonielle Clayton – The classic childhood friends where one has been crushing on the other forever, but doesn’t know if the other feels the same. It was cute, but this was one where I kind of trailed off and wasn’t super-invested in.

“Mask Off” by Nic Stone – Two former sort-of friends connect again while stuck inside a dark train. This one kept going into the past a little, so I had to remind myself when the main character was talking about the past vs. the present. Otherwise, it wasn’t too bad.

“Made to Fit” by Ashley Woodfolk – Two girls connect while looking for a lost item in a senior-living facility. I wasn’t into this one and kept losing my place because I was trying to speed through it so I could get back to The Long Walk.

So for the most part I did enjoy this little anthology. The ending did show some of the characters from the other stories at the block party that was mentioned in each story, but I wish there had been a little more. In any case, if you’re looking for a cute and not over-whelming anthology of short stories that focus on Black teens.

Rating: 4 stars

*I received a free e-galley from NetGalley of this in exchange for an honest review*

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