Nothing Burns as Bright as You

Versify/Clarion/. Apr. 2022. 288p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780358655350.
Gr 10 Up–This novel in verse tells the story of a burning first queer love between the unnamed narrator and the somewhat undefined, more-than-friend she refers to as “you.” The narration alternates through time, detailing the history of their intense relationship before and after a pivotal fire that drastically changes their relationship. Woodfolk’s lyrical verse and poignant language highlight the consuming power, the push and pull, the passion, enormity, confusion, and overwhelming feeling of this wild and immature first love between two young hearts. All of Woodfolk’s choices—every line break, indentation, and italicization—enhance the feeling, tone, and pace of the work. Even the blank space on the page helps to carry this piece to its full potential as a feverishly gripping, immersive, and emotional ride that will stick with readers for a long time. Both main characters are Black and attracted to girls. One of them is bisexual.
VERDICT A masterfully crafted love letter to tumultuous, young, queer love and its lessons. Recommended for all libraries.

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