16 Aug 2021

Audio #Review: BLACKOUT edited by Dhonielle Clayton



Authors: Dhonielle Clayton, Tiffany D. Jackson, Nic Stone, Angie Thomas, Ashley Woodfolk, Nicola Yoon
Series: N/A
Source: Purchased from Audible
Publisher: Quill Tree Books
Publication Date: June 22, 2021
Overall Rating:
Diversity Rating:

Six critically acclaimed, bestselling, and award-winning authors bring the glowing warmth and electricity of Black teen love to this interlinked novel of charming, hilarious, and heartwarming stories that shine a bright light through the dark.

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.

Beloved authors—Dhonielle Clayton, Tiffany D. Jackson, Nic Stone, Angie Thomas, Ashley Woodfolk, and Nicola Yoon—celebrate the beauty of six couples and the unforgettable magic that can be found on a sweltering starry night in the city. 
Amazon | Chapters | TBD
Each story in BLACKOUT is set on the same summer night when a blackout hits New York City as they are all making their way to Brooklyn for a block party. The stories take place in different areas, but everyone has the same goal: get to the party while navigating love, life, and no lights.

What I typically like about anthologies is that they are either one of two things: a collection of stories under a similar theme or a connected collection of short stories. BLACKOUT is the latter - a collected of connected stories. Or at least, it tries to be. And that is probably my main gripe with this anthology: it didn't actually pull all the stories together in a way that I enjoyed.

I liked that they all were heading to one location and that was the "thread" for the anthology but I wanted them to either actually run into each other or some sort of closing story that brought it together. Especially since based on the layout of the anthology, it seemed as though we had a "running" narrative/story between each contained story. But that wasn't really the case - THE LONG WALK (which is the story that was in between the rest) didn't really match the same energy as the rest, or be used as a way to really tie the other stories together. The brief one-off mentions of other locations were cute but not enough to solidify this as the latter type of anthology.

I enjoyed almost all of these stories, I think they would have been better in a different order to make it feel like we weren't hearing about something extremely similar over and over, but with a bit of a mix up in between. And while this is targeted as Young Adult, everyone was 18+ so this is probably more New Adult (lots of talk of college, starting a new, etc.) and I wasn't mad about it.

The audiobook was a large cast with a different crew doing each of the stories, which I really appreciated. I also thought the sound design was really good but would have liked a bit more background noise at the party than what we got - or even some of the DJ/music that we were supposed to hear throughout some of the stories.

"The Long Walk" by Tiffany D. Jackson - exes confronting their breakup and learning more about what communication really means. I felt the ending didn't fit the rest of the story and that this story overall didn't have the same energy or vibe as the others. This could be because it was "broken up" between the other stories, but I was hoping it would be more that narrative thread through and it wasn't.

"No Sleep 'til Brooklyn" by Angie Thomas - the best in the bunch, unsurprisingly. An emerging love triangle, characters that are memorable, and some sharp Karen jokes.

"Seymour and Grace" by Nicola Yoon - two strangers meeting on an Uber-type ride. This was technically the last full story of the bunch and honestly one of the better ones. I almost wish that it had been the full last one instead of the remainder of THE LONG WALK.

"Mask Off" by Nic Stone - two former friends explore their possible connection while stuck inside a dark train. This one packed the most messages - from consent to homosexuality in sports to breastfeeding in public. I really enjoyed this one and how the two of them explored their identity within themselves and the collective narrative of their lives.

"Made to Fit" by Ashley Woodfolk - two girls possibly fall in love while visiting a senior living facility. I liked a lot of this, but I felt the connection was a little too fast for it to work for me. I would have liked to see a bit more of a "history" for them rather than meeting and the love in like... what? a few hours max? But it was still really cute.

"All the Great Love Stories... and Dust" by Dhonielle Clayton - two childhood friends decide if they want to take their relationship somewhere new. Here, the writing just didn't work for me with the footnotes, which made me feel like I probably should have had a physical copy instead of an audiobook. I had a hard time staying with it and felt like the flow of the story stumbled at the end of each sentence.

I really did enjoy each of the stories and think it was a great summer read! If you haven't already checked it out, I definitely recommend doing so, especially since it's pretty inexpensive on Kindle but hearing it as an audiobook was nice as well!

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