I’ve always been fascinated with the lost colony of Roanoke, so I was very excited to read Gwenda Bond’s new Roanoke-themed YA novel Blackwood, and it did not disappoint. The book is set in modern Roanoke, but when people start disappearing, it’s clear that there’s a connection to the island’s history, and teens Miranda and Phillips, both descendants of important figures in Roanoke’s past, must figure out what’s going on in time to save their island and the people they love.
The novel’s take on what caused the original disappearance was not what I expected, but it provided for a fascinating plot, and Miranda and Phillips are both great leads. (Yes, there’s a bit of romance, but they’re more concerned with NOT DYING most of the time.) Miranda’s home life has been troubled, and she uses genre TV shows as an outlet, which meant that there were tons of references to shows I like, including The Vampire Diaries, Fringe, etc. This made the book even more fun, and the way the characters talk about the shows and use them to help deal with their lives is one of the most realistic treatments of pop culture consumption I’ve seen in fiction.
(Disclaimers: I got my copy through NetGalley. I’ve chatted with Gwenda a bit on Twitter and I’m friends with her agent, but I would not tell you I liked something I didn’t!)