cover image The Blackwoods

The Blackwoods

Brandy Colbert. HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray, $19.99 (384p) ISBN 978-0-06-309159-7

Via three alternating perspectives, Colbert weaves an absorbing intergenerational tale about a famous Black Hollywood family, their relationship with notoriety, and the ramifications that come with it. In present-day Los Angeles, after the death of film star Blossom Blackwood, tabloids chronicle the family’s grieving process and Hollywood searches for its next big star. Despite having grown up benefiting from her great-grandmother Blossom’s influence, Hollis has never wanted to be in the public eye. Hollis’s cousin Ardith, meanwhile, reveled in the limelight; as a child actor, Ardith yearns to follow in her great-grandmother’s footsteps. But when the teens’ personal secrets and private pasts begin leaking to the press, they must each reckon with the consequences of being in the spotlight. Periodic chapters beginning in 1942 follow 15-year-old Blossom’s rise to fame. Colbert expertly juggles each protagonist’s POV, rendering them with distinct tones and rhythmic prose that complements the characters’ individual situations. In tackling serious themes surrounding sexual harassment, sexism, and addiction, the author presents a textured look into the highs and lows of fame and the ways in which it impacts a family and its legacy. Ages 14–up. (Oct.)