The story behind this summer’s biggest romance

“Why don’t the Black girls ever get big love stories?”


How do you get six critically acclaimed, bestselling, and award-winning authors to write a novel together? Simply call them and ask! That’s exactly what author Dhonielle Clayton did after a challenging conversation with her niece.

‘Blackout’ by Dhonielle Clayton and others (Quill Tree Books)

“I have a wonderful niece. She is 15-years-old and she said to me why don’t the Black girls ever get big love stories? Why are they always the sidekick?” Clayton shared during a roundtable discussion with CBS This Morning.

This line of questioning led Clayton to call five of her best writer friends — Tiffany D. Jackson, Nic Stone, Angie Thomas, Ashley Woodfolk and Nicola Yoon — to see if they wanted to collaborate on something “big.”

This big idea turned into Blackout, which some are calling “YA’s biggest book of 2021.”

The book is a collection of six interlinked stories celebrating Black love. The stories all take place during a citywide power outage in New York City — inspired by images of empty cities that circulated online during the early months of the pandemic. As the blackout throws all of New York into disarray, relationships are tested and new romances are formed. Nobody wants to be left out in the dark. 

One of the best things about a project like Blackout is getting to see these celebrated authors write outside of their element. Besides Nicola Yoon, none of them had published a romance story before (although many of their previous books do include romantic elements).

If you loved Blackout, or if you are interested in reading these authors other work, check out our gallery of titles from the superstar team!

Spencer is a high school English teacher in Montréal, Canada. He loves graphic novels and books about road trips.

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