Blackout is a collection of short love stories written by six authors – Angie Thomas, Dionielle Clayton, Nic Stone, Tiffany D. Jackson, Ashley Woodfold, and Nicola Yoon. I’m a big fan of Angie Thomas and Tiffany D. Jackson, so when I saw the cover on social media, I decided to stop by the bookstore and pick it up.
All six stories take place in New York City during a hot summer night. I loved how all characters are connected, and their stories somewhat intertwine. There is a summer block party happening that is on everyone’s radar for the night. No one expected a blackout to occur and for the entire city to lose power. Blackout does a great job depicting young love while highlighting self-discovery and acceptance.
The Long Walk by Tiffany D. Jackson
This story is the only one that continues throughout the book. It follows Tammi, who is a recent high school graduate and will be leaving for Clark Atlanta to get away from life-long best friend and ex-boyfriend Kareem. She shows up to an interview for a summer internship and bumps right into Kareem. It turns out they’re both there competing for the same spot. When the power goes out, they’re stuck with each other trying to make it back home in time for the block party. After avoiding Kareem for months, Tammi finally has to deal with the feelings she’s been holding in surround their breakup.
It comes with no surprise that I enjoyed this tale. I’m a fan of Tiffany D. Jackson and have read all of her books. It also helped that, since this is the only story that was revisited throughout the book, there was a lot of background information given on Tammi and Kareem’s relationship. I was able to really understand each character and became invested in the storyline. I was also very satisfied with the ending. I wasn’t left wondering or wanting more
Mask Off by Nic Stone
Okay, so this was one of my favorites. Mask Off follows JJ, a high school basketball player, and Tremaine (Tammi’s brother), a photographer for the school’s newspaper. JJ and Tremaine are both trapped on a subway train when the power goes out. The only problem is that Tremaine is claustrophobic and passes out when the train stops. JJ knows Tremaine from school but has been doing his best to avoid him due to uncomfortable feelings surrounding his sexuality.
The author did great with expressing JJ’s feelings surrounding his sexuality and the pressure of keeping up a particular persona as an athlete. I was happy with the ending of this story, but I did want more. I would love to have this turned into an entire novel but that’s just my personal preference. I’m greedy and short stories always leave me wanting more.
All the Great Love Stories….and Dust by Dhonielle Clayton
This one earns the number one spot as my favorite of the six. Lana and her best friend Trisitan are in the library after making a bet on who can pick the best book ever. They are both lifelong friends, but Lana has had a secret crush on Tristian for a long time and wants to let him know before leaving the city and beginning the next part of her life. The only problem is that Tristian is a ladies man. He’s never shown any indication that he may have feelings for Lana and usually moves from one girl to the next.
In my opinion, this story was written beautifully. I was holding my breath while waiting for Lana to express her feelings to Tristian. My heart was thumping. I didn’t know if she would have the courage to tell him or what his reaction would be. This is what made it my favorite; the emotions I felt while reading. I wanted to be Lana in the library with my Tristian. I didn’t want this one to end, but I guess I have to accept that it probably won’t and be happy with what I was given (sighs).
Made to Fit by Ashley Woodfolk
Made to Fit follows Nella, who is helping out at a group home for older adults where her grandfather lives. While there, the lights go out, and she meets one of the other resident’s granddaughter, Joss. They come together while searching for a picture of Nella’s grandmother that fell out of her grandfather’s wallet.
This was an okay story. It wasn’t horrible, but I didn’t enjoy it. Compared to the others, it fell flat. I didn’t connect with either character, and it seemed the story’s progression was somewhat rushed. I found my mind wandering while reading it, and I had even put the book down a few times and ended up scrolling on social media.
No Sleep Till Brooklyn by Angie Thomas
This is another that I enjoyed. If I had to rank them, No Sleep Till Brooklyn would probably come in 3rd after All the Great Love Stories and Mask Off. The main character is Kayla, who is on a tour bus (driven by Tammi’s father) with her other classmates. They’re visiting NYC from Mississippi. Imagine having your first trip to NYC be in the middle of a blackout.
Kayla is with her boyfriend Tre’Shawn, but is a little nervous after receiving a text message from another classmate on the bus, Micah, basically asking her to give him a chance. She feels conflicted and later opens up to her friend Jazzy about what’s going on. Jazzy encourages her to leave Tre’Shawn because he’s “lame” but after talking to Jazzy, Kayla notices that Jazzy may have a thing for Tre’Shawn. The love triangle is now looking more like a square. Now Kayla doesn’t know what choice to make or what to do about her friendship.
I enjoyed Kayla. She has a direct personality which makes it easy for her to face her problems. Jazzy is another story because I was side-eyeing her the minute she started talking. I didn’t get enough detail to favor neither Tre’Shawn or Micah as a good fit for Kayla, but was happy with her decision.
Seymour and Grace by Nicola Yoon
Yoon writes about two characters Grace and Seymour, who meet while Grace is on her way to the block party. Seymour is her Ryde driver. Grace is busy texting Lana to find out what her ex-boyfriend is doing at the party and comes off as a little rude to Seymour. Grace plans to show up to the block party and show her ex what he’s missing out on, but that plan may get put on the back burner when she starts to enjoy her time with Seymour. I enjoyed seeing how they both let their guards down with each other, possibly paving the way for a friendship.
Overall this was a good, light read. If I had to rate it I would give it 3.5 stars. It didn’t wow me but wasn’t bad. While reading, It was announced that The Obamas plan to turn this book into a movie on Netflix, and I will definitely be tuning in. I’m excited to know what actors will be chosen to play each character. Hopefully it does the book justice. Fingers crossed!
Have you read Blackout? What was your favorite story? Let me know in the comments, and be sure to follow me on Instagram and Twitter @TaniReads.