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Strange Chemistry #01: Blackwood
Synopses & Reviews
On Roanoke Island, the legend of the 114 people who mysteriously vanished from the Lost Colony hundreds of years ago is just an outdoor drama for the tourists, a story people tell. But when the island faces the sudden disappearance of 114 people now, an unlikely pair of 17-year-olds may be the only hope of bringing them back.
Miranda, a misfit girl from the island's most infamous family, and Phillips, an exiled teen criminal who hears the voices of the dead, must dodge everyone from federal agents to long-dead alchemists as they work to uncover the secrets of the new Lost Colony. The one thing they can't dodge is each other.
Blackwood is a dark, witty coming of age story that combines America's oldest mystery with a thoroughly contemporary romance.
"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.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
About the Author
Gwenda Bond is a contributing writer for Publishers Weekly and regularly reviews for Locus. Her nonfiction work has also appeared in the Washington Post, Lightspeed, and Strange Horizons, among others, and she guest-edited a special YA issue for Subterranean Online. She holds an MFA in Writing from the Vermont College of Fine Arts' program in writing for children and young adults. Readers of Lady Churchill's Rosebud Wristlet may know her as everyone's Dear Aunt Gwenda.
She lives in a hundred-year-old house in Lexington, Kentucky, with her husband, author Christopher Rowe, and their menagerie: Hemingway the Cat, Polydactyl, LLC; Miss Emma the Dog-Girl, CPA; and Puck the Puppy, INC. This is her first novel.
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