Monday, January 28, 2013

Printz Award!

Congratulations to Nick Lake, author of IN DARKNESS, for winning the Printz Award!

The FNC was part of the blog tour for IN DARKNESS. In honor of this awesome honor, here's a repost of Janine's original review:

When I picked up Nick Lake's soon-to-be-released In Darkness last week, I figured I'd enjoy it. That's why I agreed to participate in the blog tour, after all. The description from the publisher had caught my attention months ago--

Bloomsbury is proud to be the global publisher of In Darkness, a stunning tour-de-force set in the aftermath of a devastating earthquake. "Shorty" is a Haitian boy trapped in the ruins of a hospital when the earth explodes around him. Surrounded by lifeless bodies and growing desperately weak from lack of food and water, death seems imminent. Yet as Shorty waits in darkness for a rescue that may never come, he becomes aware of another presence, one reaching out to him across two hundred years of history. It is the presence of slave and revolutionary leader Toussaint L'Ouverture, whose life was marred by violence, and whose own end came in darkness. What unites a child of the slums with the man who would shake a troubled country out of slavery? Is it the darkness they share . . . or is it hope?

Raw, harrowing, and peopled with vibrant characters, In Darkness is an extraordinary book about the cruelties of man and nature, and the valiant, ongoing struggle for a country's very survival.

--and I assumed it would be some blend of inspirational, informative and important, even if a little sentimental.

I was so very wrong.

In Darkness, while it is inspirational, informative and important, it is the furthest thing from sentimental. It is raw, and it is gripping. The harrowing circumstances of Haiti past and Haiti present are not sugar-coated, nor are they sensationalized. They are simply the reality of the story (and of history) and a part of the fabric of the characters' lives.

The characters, by the way, are so alive on the page that I developed an attachment to them within the first few chapters. Both Shorty and Toussaint, the two main characters, are complicated. Both have blood on their hands, but both also have stories that evoke sympathy and force us to question what we would do if we were in similar circumstances.

The storyline itself is riveting. Once I got a few chapters into the book and got situated in the point-of-view, which shifts each chapter from Haiti past with Toussaint to Haiti present with Shorty, I did not want to put the book down. I was fully vested in the characters and their circumstances, and I needed to know what would happen next.

In Darkness is an eye-opener. I really had no idea of Haiti's blood-stained past, though considering her present, I should have realized. But the real take-home for me, I think, is that I hadn't thought about it. Haiti is one of our nearest neighbors, and I am largely unaware of what is happening there. This book is a work of fiction, but much in it is true, and, without being didactic, it has opened my eyes to a not-so-far-away place where great atrocities have and still happen.

In Darkness is a good read. It's heavy, but the reading itself is light. It's fast, and even with the shifts in point-of-view, it's easy to track along. In spite of its serious topic, it is entertaining. But along with capturing our imaginations, it has the capacity to make us better-informed global citizens as well.

In Darkness will be released on January 17, 2012. I hope you'll read it.


  1. Yes, I know I need to read this. Can you believe I still have an ARC from Jan 2012? Must get to it. Thoughtful review, Janine.

  2. I really need to read this book. This review (plus the award) just proves that more!


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