Book review: “Blackout”

Blackout is a compilation of short stories that captivates readers. 

“Blackout” is a compilation of short stories that captivates readers. 

Sierra Hoeger

Darkness spreads over New York City as a blackout ensues, taking hold of the city during a heatwave. A different kind of spark, one not related to watts or voltage, brings individuals closer together than they anticipated.

In “Blackout” by Dhonielle Clayton, Tiffany D. Jackson, Nic Stone, Angie Thomas, Ashley Woodfolk and Nicola Yoon, readers are given a glimpse into the stories of six couples and their intimate relationships over the course of a couple of hours in the darkened city.

Chapters go back-and-forth between storylines, alternating each chapter. The setup is similar to the films “Valentine’s Day” and “New Years Eve” in the way that the characters are connected in a sense known only by the readers. The end goal of the novel is to make it to a block party, each invited by a different character.

A pair of exes, a second-chance meeting, confessed feelings between best friends, a couple set up by a grandparent, a high school student stuck in a love rectangle and a connection between a rideshare driver and a passenger strong enough to go into overdrive are all explored throughout “Blackout.”

Published in the summer of 2021, the novel follows Black characters navigating heterosexual and heteronormative relationships. This novel receives an A for effort in terms of representation. However, an A+ could have been earned if not for the short story component. The complexities felt by the African American demographic in today’s society could have made more of a presence in the novel.

Granted, the story is technically categorized within the Young Adult genre and is made up of six short stories. With less than 300 pages, each complexity and social issue cannot be tackled. Understanding that (and the fact that the main characters are all high school students or recent graduates), there is an appreciation in reading stories of young love.

Hopeless romantics and those who read for a mindless activity alike will appreciate this novel, as it serves as the perfect escape from the constant chaos of schoolwork and extracurriculars. The plot line plunges you into the chaos of a heatwave and a blackout in what could be considered one of the busiest cities.