Blackwood

Gwenda Bond, Author
Gwenda Bond. Angry Robot/Strange Chemistry (Random, dist.), $9.99 trade paper (416p) ISBN 978-1-908844-07-1
Reviewed on: 08/13/2012
Release date: 09/04/2012
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Bond, a first-time novelist and PW contributor, presents a modern-day story set on Roanoke Island that offers an explanation for the mysterious real-life disappearance of 114 colonists from the island during the 16th century. When the exact same number of Roanoke residents go missing one night, Miranda, a town outcast whose alcoholic father is murdered the same night, and Phillips, son of the Roanoke police chief, try to figure out what happened. The story shifts focus between the two 17-year-olds, both of whom feel connected to the island’s mysteries: Phillips has heard the voices of spirits in his head for years, and Miranda’s family is believed to be cursed. Despite past bad blood between the teenagers, they work together, trying to save the island and everyone they love. Bond uses a wealth of pop-culture references to establish her protagonists as hip outsiders, though they may not age well (and Miranda’s constant use of the Battlestar Galactica expletive “frak” is intrusive). Still, Bond has created an engaging mythology and mystery involving alchemy, curses, and past lives. Ages 13–up. Agent: Jennifer Laughran, Andrea Brown Literary Agency. (Sept.)
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