Synopses & Reviews
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?
Winner of the 2013 Michael L. Printz Award, In Darkness is a story not to be missed.
"Shorty, 15, is trapped in the rubble of a hospital following the 2010 earthquake that left Haiti in ruins. As time wears on without rescue, he relives the journey that brought him to the hospital with a bullet wound, recounting his life running drugs and gunning down enemies for one of Site Solèy's most notorious gangs. In a startling but successful feat of literary imagination, Lake (the Blood Ninja series) pairs Shorty's story with that of Toussaint l'Ouverture, the 18th-century slave who led the revolt that forced out the island's French colonizers. The narrative is as disturbing (people are hacked to death, an encephalitic baby is found alive in a trash pile) as it is challenging; the book moves back and forth in time from Shorty's fictional first-person account, shot through with street slang and Creole, to Toussaint's story, told in third-person. But the portrait it reveals of a country relegated throughout history to brutality and neglect is powerful and moving, as readers come to understand that Shorty is held captive by more than just the ceiling that fell on him. Ages 14 up. (Jan.)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
“A vivid and unforgettable voice...incredibly moving.” The Times
“Both violent and subtle, unexpectedly reminding me of The Wire. Characters, settings, and the half-believed Haitian vodou religion are handled with patience and complexity....A serious, nuanced, challenging novel. Trust me, there are plenty of young readers who hunger for exactly that.” Patrick Ness, Guardian
“Remarkable....Lake's elegant, restrained prose and distinct characters will reward adults and older teenagers able to brave a story with strong language, harrowing scenes of brutality and an almost painful stab of joy at the end.” Wall Street Journal
Winner of the 2013 Michael L. Printz Award
This is the story of "Shorty" — a 15-year-old boy trapped in a collapsed hospital during the earthquake in Haiti. Surrounded by the bodies of the dead, increasingly weak from lack of food and water, Shorty begins to hallucinate. As he waits in darkness for a rescue that may never come, a mystical bridge seems to emerge between him and Haitian leader Toussaint L'Ouverture, uniting the two in their darkest suffering — and their hope.
A modern teen and a black slave, separated by hundreds of years. Yet in some strange way, the boy in the ruins of Port au Prince and the man who led the struggle for Haiti's independence might well be one and the same...
About the Author
Nick Lake is the author of Hostage Three and Printz-Award winner In Darkness. He's also the editorial director for fiction for HarperCollins Children's Books UK and the author of two previous novels. Nick became fascinated by Haitian culture while pursuing his master's degree in linguistics.