Whiteout by Dhonielle Clayton, Tiffany D. Jackson, Nic Stone, Angie Thomas, Ashley Woodfolk, and Nicola Yoon

Whiteout by Dhonielle Clayton, Tiffany D. Jackson, Nic Stone, Angie Thomas, Ashley Woodfolk, and Nicola Yoon. Quill Tree Books, HarperCollins, 2022. 9780063088146

Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 3.5

Format: Hardcover

Genre: Romance

What did you like about the book?  In a sequel to last year’s Blackout, six popular YA authors of color again spin a web of interconnected and romantic short stories, this time set in a freak Atlanta snowstorm. Stevie and Sola’s long-term relationship anchors the collection, with sparks flying between a nerdy scientist and an aspiring romance writer. As the book opens, Stevie’s seeking Sola’s forgiveness; she messed up her girlfriend’s plans to break the news of their relationship to her extended Nigerian family, showing up hours late and implying that brain chemistry alone accounts for love. Now Stevie has to make a grand gesture to win Sola back so enlists a large crew of friends in her plans, which involve an elaborate drone light show. Meanwhile, 5 other couples are mixed and matched by the blizzard: trapped at the mall or at the airport, meeting serendipitously at deserted music halls or reliving their failed relationship at the Georgia Aquarium. This was a light-hearted, goofy romance collection (none of the complicated love stories end in tragedy or heartache) with diverse representation (2 couples are queer, one boy is Muslim in a world of Christmas celebrators). Atlanta lives up to its Black Mecca reputation, filled with financially comfortable, highly educated families, kids bound for HBCUs and impressive careers.

Anything you didn’t like about it? I thought there were too many characters. I knew who Stevie and Sola were, but kept losing track of everyone else’s backstories and intersections.  Maybe I’m too hard-core New England, but little inconsistencies really bothered me, like how could the drones work or be seen during a blizzard? What thinking aspirational parent would let their carefully cultivated offspring drive around in such inclement weather?  At the end of the book, the authors coyly supply trivia to help readers figure out who wrote which story, but it didn’t matter much to me, because by then, the stories melted down into a big marshmallow-y pile, with few distinctive elements.

To whom would you recommend this book?  If you loved Blackout, but wanted more queer characters, you’ll enjoy Whiteout. I understand that some readers just want Christmas-themed romance, so put this book in their hands.

Who should buy this book? High schools and public libraries in need of more holiday reads for teens.

Where would you shelve it? YA fiction

Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? No

Reviewer: Susan Harari, Keefe Library, Boston Latin School, Boston, MA

Date of review: January 2, 2023

This entry was posted in *Book Review, *Young Adult, African Americans, Angie Thomas, Ashley Woodfolk, Author, Dhonielle Clayton, LGBTQIA+, Nic Stone, Nicola Yoon, Romance, Short Stories, Tiffany D. Jackson and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.