Title: Black Bird of the Gallows
Author: Meg Kassel
Publisher: Entangled Publishing, 2017 (Sept 5)
Genre: YA Fantasy, YA Paranormal
**I received a copy of the book free from Netgalley and Chapter by Chapter Book Tours in exchange for an honest review**
I knew this book would blow my mind. Do you know how hard it was for me to wait and write this review? I finished this book but I knew I was part of the blog tour (I don’t schedule posts bc I really don’t know how and it seems weird to me), so I waited for my time to talk about this book.
Have you ever known you were going to love a book before you read it? Well, that’s how I felt with Black Bird of the Gallows. With the description/blurb, the cover, and the all-around “ness” of the book (i.e. The awesomeness), I didn’t have to read it to know I was going to love it. But I’m glad I did.
Can we just talk about this coverlove right now? I mean….WOW!! 😍😍😍
That doesn’t even do it justice…
Anyway, you lol know I could gush superficially for hours. But that’s not why we are here, is it?
Let’s talk about Black Bird…
Angie Dovage carries her grief with her everywhere: the loss of her mom to a drug overdose should have been a relief, as she’s now being raised by her stable father. However, she still hurts from the mother she loved despite the erratic behavior and the unastable environment. Her only outlet is her music: she hides as DJ Sparo at the local club, and with the help of her two friends, no one knows Angie and Sparo are the same person. And Angie likes it that way.
When the neighbors are found dead and a new family moves in, Angie tries not to notice Reece Fernandez, the handsome eldest son. But it’s hard not to notice him when strange things happen around him…at the bus stop during their first meeting, crows come out of nowhere and seem to attack Reece, yet he strangely stands there, completely calm. She also thinks it’s strange that he warns her about the bees…but she thinks maybe he just really doesn’t like bees.
As she gets to know Reece, she realizes that he wears a mask at school, but underneath the mask is the same grief Angie is hiding. She is drawn to Reece but cannot explain why. There’s also the strange man following both her and Reece…with a face that seems to change every few seconds, Angie knows he’s not human. But who, or what, is he? And what does that make Reece?
Logical solution? She decides to follow him and find out his secret.
But when she comes upon a car accident and Reece just standing there, looking like he is enraptured rather than disgusted or scared…Angie knows he needs to tell her the truth. What is Reece? And what is going on now that he’s here in her town: people are suddenly acting strange and psychotic – normal people that never showed signs of erratic behavior before.
What Angie gets is a lot more questions…but she does get her answer.
She knows what Reece is.
He is a harbinger. Of death.
Can she keep falling for him, knowing he isn’t human…knowing what he is?
While Angie fights her heart…the bees are coming. And it’s all happening no matter what Angie does.
Here’s an excerpt to get you in the mood for Black Bird if you’re still not convinced…
His soft voice clashes with the intensity of his gaze. “You’re adorable when you’re trying to be mad at me. You needn’t work so hard at it, though. We aren’t meant to be adversaries.”
“I, um…” My thoughts disband, leaving nothing for communication purposes. I’m adorable? Adorable has many definitions. I think my dog is adorable, for example. “That…wasn’t what I was going to ask you.”
He inclines his head. “Okay, then. Ask.”
But that “adorable” echoes through me, clinking around like a penny down a well. “What are we meant to be, then?”
His lips curls up at the corners. “That wasn’t your question, either.”
I know…I’m mean. That wasn’t much at all, was it? 😈
Here’s a link to Goodreads for more info: Black Bird of the Gallows
Is It Classroom-Appropriate?
This one is hard because I would love to use this. However, it’s really not a book I could see incorporating into the curriculum. There’s some fabulous mythology that would make for great discussion, but it’s more of a paranormal thriller to be read outside the classroom. The romance is right on point, though some people I talked to thought it was creepy. I think it was beautiful. It’s an intense read with some deep questions about grief and life/death, but I would leave this one out of the classroom and instead push it as outside reading material. So for classroom use, I give Black Bird ★★☆☆☆.
Now of course Black Bird isn’t on Lexile.com. That would just make my life too easy. So I have to go with my best estimate for appropriate age level. There is some steamy feelings between our protagonist and our love interest, but nothing is explicit. All implied. I think mainly it is the dark subject matter that makes me stick with 14 and up. The book is a little too dark for MG readers in my opinion. I think high school readers will be fine, and an advanced reader will really enjoy this. Lovers of Twilight (I hate to admit it, but it’s true) and Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick would really enjoy this read. When in doubt, judge by previous reading material, and if they’ve read books centered around tragedy and death before, then there’s really nothing taboo in Black Bird to make me advise against reading it at a younger age…it just might spook some. That’s all.
I absolutely adored this book. I adored it so much that I’m going to include purchase links after this so you may grab a copy ASAP. This was fresh, original, and addictive, and I wouldn’t mind more from Kassel with Reece and Angie. Kassel: bring it on! I want MORE!!!
I give Black Bird of the Gallows ★★★★★!! And it deserves every one of them.
More Good Stuff???
Three (3) winners will receive A Black Bird of the Gallows canvas tote bag (11“x14”) which includes a custom made crow pendant and ball chain, bookmark and stickers, $10 Amazon Gift Card (INT):
Here is the link to enter: Rafflecopter Giveaway
Go and enter now! Why wouldn’t you??
Now let me tell you a little about Miss Meg Kassel!
Meg Kassel is an author of paranormal and speculative books for young adults. A New Jersey native, Meg graduated from Parson’s School of Design and worked as a graphic designer before becoming a writer. She now lives in Maine with her husband and daughter and is busy at work on her next novel. She is the 2016 RWA Golden Heart© winner in YA.
Link to Tour Schedule: