Gr 9 Up—This collection of 12 short stories is sure to satisfy readers who crave something magical. Black's got all the supernatural bases covered: vampires, fairies, an elf, a unicorn, wolves, the devil, and a spell-wielding high school Latin club. Included is a tale of a boy tempted to eat a flower that he's read can turn him into a werewolf, as well as a story set in a world where vampirism is like an infectious disease and a girl resists the urge for blood by numbing her desire with alcohol. All but two of the stories have appeared elsewhere, including in Deborah Noyes's The Restless Dead (Candlewick) and David Levithan and Daniel Ehrenhaft's 21 Proms (Scholastic, both 2007). Although they are often centered on bleak, dark characters, the pieces inspire hope, are touching and delightful, and even turn the most ghoulish characters into feeling beings. Some sexual situations and mature settings make this a collection for older teens.—Shawna Sherman, Hayward Public Library, CA
Black's first story collection assures her place as a modern fantasy master. The two new and ten previously published tales revisit fantasy tropes (faeries, kings, werewolves and even the devil), but in the author's deft hands each of these transforms into something fresh and haunting. Dealing with magic here is a means to understanding and knowing yourself, from the man who must win back his lover, stolen by faeries, and also come out to his family ("Coat of Stars"), to girls who find empowerment, whether by beating the devil at an eating competition ("A Reversal of Fortune") or by using magic to find self-love ("Night Market"). These vampires ("The Coldest Girl in Coldtown") are the antithesis of romantic heroism, and harsh realities like drugs and homelessness coexist with unicorns and magic. The two standouts, the title story and "The Dog King," both mix horror and high fantasy into some rare magic; in other tales, plangent loss reverberates ("Virgin," "Paper Cuts Scissors" and "Going Ironside"). Sly humor, vivid characters, each word perfectly chosen: These stories deserve reading again and again. (Short stories/fantasy. 13 & up)
“Black’s first story collection assures her place as a modern fantasy master
. Sly humor, vivid characters, each word perfectly chosen: These stories deserve reading again and again.”
Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“Black (the Good Neighbors series) proves equally adept at urban fantasy and more traditional fairy tales, and her stories often feature the edgy sexuality and angst that have become her trademarks.”
"Black's got all the supernatural bases covered: vampires, fairies, an elf, a unicorn, wolves, the devil, and a spell-wielding high school Latin club.... Although they are often centered on bleak, dark characters, the pieces inspire hope, are touching and delightful, and even turn the most ghoulish characters into feeling beings."
School Library Journal
"Compelling, rich and engaging."
Bulletin of Ctr for Child Books
"Gritty, grim, and fabulousHolly is a master of dark magic and dark reality!"
Tamora Pierce (author of Bloodhound)
"Holly Black is the Real Thing: a gifted writer with a solid grounding in what matters. Her stories are dark and splendid blooms rising from roots sunk deep in myth and tradition."
Ellen Kushner (author of The Privilege of the Sword)
"Simply put, Holly Black is one of our best writers. Enchanting and edgy, yes, but it's the big heart in her stories that brings me back to her writing, time and again. Reading a new book by Holly is like meeting up with an old friend. They might be a little messed up from the last time you saw them, they might have some serious drama going on in their lives, but the connection is immediate, and when they're packing up to head off again, you don't want to let them go."
Charles de Lint (author of The Blue Girl)
Praise for Holly Black’s books:
“Black’s series [is] considered to have kick-started the fairy trend in young adult fantasy.”
New York Times Book Review
"Black has an eye for the telling detail that brings the most minor character to life."
Kirkus Reviews (starred)
"Dark, edgy, beautifully written, and compulsively readable, this is sure to be a word-of-mouth hit with teens, even a few usually unmoved by magic and monsters."
For those with a penchant for dark, edgy, fantasy fiction, Holly Black, popular YA author of Tithe (Simon & Schuster, 2002/VOYA October 2002) and other novels, offers readers a collection of twelve stories. Ten tales have appeared in anthologies; two appear in print here for the first time. One new story was not included in the advance review copy. Like the Pied Piper, Black entices readers to follow her down paths both fascinating and twisted. A Reversal of Fortune pits a teenager against a devil in a battle of wits; Tomasa must save her sister from an elf's destructive love in The Night Market; an evil high school Latin Club's nefarious plan for prom night must be thwarted in In Vodka Veritas. Paper Cuts Scissors looks at books in a strange new way. A few of the stories, such as Going Ironside, revisit worlds from the author's novels, but readers need not be familiar with Black's lengthier works to enjoy them. Black seamlessly blends reality with the supernatural, creating tales that are sometimes amusing, often hair-raising, and always satisfying. Deftly blending both believable characters and realistic settings, Black serves up heady concoctions for those who like their fairy tales on the chilly side. The graphic nature of some of this collection's stories make it best suited for fantasy fans in senior high school. Reviewer: Rachelle Bilz