I received an ARC (advanced reader copy) of Black by TL Smith in exchange for an honest review. Let me start my review by saying, if you’re looking for a book that can grab ahold of your emotions and let you ugly cry, this is the book you want to get.
Black follows two different perspectives, that of Black and Rose. Black and Rose crossed each other’s paths back when they were in high school and each had a hold on the other until one day, Rose just vanishes, leaving Black to worry and wonder where she went and what happened to her.
Years later, we get a glimpse of Black and the career choice he has chosen. It’s when he’s at a club that he stumbles across a broken woman and realizes it is none other than her. Rose.
So much transpires over the course of just a few chapters. T.L. Smith knows her characters inside and out. Not once do I doubt their motivations as they are all logical for the character. This story just roped me in so quickly, and I kept getting irritated when people were interrupting me with having me do stuff or just trying to talk to me.
There is some explicit sex in this book, as a warning to some readers, but it is well written and doesn’t make you feel trashy or dirty when you read it. I’m so weird when reading sex scenes, it’s either good or bad, there is no in-between. Black is the good sex. It does get graphic in some areas, but it’s handled extremely well. Also, another warning, there are many heavy topics that are dealt with in this book and there is a recommendation that this book is only for readers 18 and older.
One of my favorite aspects about Black is the writing style. It was poetic prose. Let me tell you, poetic prose is some hard crap to write. Smith writes this with ease and the writing not only tells a story, but has a soul behind it. I think that this is what propelled the story from beginning to end.
I have two nit-picky things about the book. The first being when Black and Rose are discussing her money situation. Rose writes down a figure on a piece of paper and Black doesn’t think the number in his head. Anyone would think the number in their head as they’re looking. It betrays the first person point of view. My other complaint is when Rose is thinking of things in the future. It also doesn’t work, as this story is being told in the present. Rose wouldn’t have precognition of what will happen later on in the book.
Other than those issues, the rest of the book was woven together very nicely. I was impressed with the level of suspense that was raised throughout. Smith handles the two perspectives of Rose and Black very well, giving each of them distinct voices without it feeling as if their voices blend and blur together. Some books struggle with this, especially with multiple first person POVs, but Black definitely doesn’t fall into this category.
There are so many great quotable lines from this book. I wish I was skilled in photoshop so I could make a cool banner with the quotes. Overall, I give this book a solid 4.5/5 star rating and will round up to a 5 star rating on all reviewing outlets. It’s definitely worth the read. The anticipation I had built up surrounding this book was just killing me!
I leave you with this quote from the book that made me ugly cry so hard. If you hate ugly cries, you still need to get this book because it’s so worth crying over.
“Don’t worry, Black, you don’t want me. You don’t want me in your life. So don’t worry.”