Izzy + Tristan

336p. Little, Brown/Poppy. Mar. 2019. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780316415385.
Gr 9 Up—This modern retelling of Tristan and Isolde has all of the romance, tragedy, and melodrama of its source material. Izzy and Tristan cross paths and fall in love after her white family moves into his mostly black neighborhood in Brooklyn. Tristan is a quiet, sensitive chess whiz who has earned his standing in the neighborhood by playing and winning chess matches that his locally powerful bad boy cousin Marcus bets on. When Marcus sets his sights on Izzy, a chain of events is set in motion that cannot end well. And it doesn't. Race, class, gentrification, police violence, and mental illness are all handled in an up-front manner, though some of the conversations and conclusions drawn aren't delved into deeply enough. Izzy's brother's mental illness is a heavy subplot that never quite feels resolved. The story takes a left turn after the main plot is wrapped up, the romance fizzles, and the tragic, sensational ending may feel a bit tacked on to some.
VERDICT A combination of a tale-as-old-as-time doomed romance and ripped-from-the-headlines action. A solid choice for medium-size collections.

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