The premise of A Blade So Black can be summed up into one simple sentence: “What if Buffy fell into Wonderland instead of Alice?” Combine that with a bada$$ black girl on the cover and a release date of MY BIRTHDAY and I LITERALLY CAN’T WAIT FOR THIS BOOK.  I was so excited that LL agreed to give us some recommendations because I admire her tireless work in our online YA community so much.  I was thrilled we could have a small snippet of her time.  LL has focused on books she read when we was younger, so be prepared to topple your TBR with some classics!


A Blade So Black by LL McKinney
Hardcover, 384 pages
Expected publication: September 25th 2018

A Black So Black by LL McKinney

The first time the Nightmares came, it nearly cost Alice her life. Now she’s trained to battle monstrous creatures in the dark dream realm known as Wonderland with magic weapons and hardcore fighting skills. Yet even warriors have a curfew.

Life in real-world Atlanta isn’t always so simple, as Alice juggles an overprotective mom, a high-maintenance best friend, and a slipping GPA. Keeping the nightmares at bay is turning into a full-time job. But when Alice’s handsome and mysterious mentor is poisoned, she has to find the antidote by venturing deeper into Wonderland than she’s ever gone before. And she’ll need to use everything she’s learned in both worlds to keep from losing her head . . . literally.



LL McKinney

Leatrice “Elle” McKinney, writing as L.L. McKinney, is a poet and active member of the kidlit community. She’s an advocate for equality and inclusion in publishing, and the creator of the hashtag #WhatWoCWritersHear. She’s spent time in the slush by serving as a reader for agents and participating as a judge in various online writing contests.

Elle’s also a gamer, Blerd, and adamant Hei Hei stan, living in Kansas, surrounded by more nieces and nephews than she knows what to do with. Aside from rockin’ the Favorite Aunt thing, she spends her free time plagued by her cat–Sir Chester Fluffmire Boopsnoot Purrington Wigglebottom Flooferson III, esquire, Baron o’Butterscotch or #SirChester for short–or defending the realm from the enemies of Azeroth. FOR THE HORDE!

A BLADE SO BLACK is her debut novel.




I only really have two recs from black authors that influenced me when I was younger. I didn’t really find any—read, they weren’t in my school and local libraries prominently—until I was older.
Honestly, anything Octavia Butler, but I loved KINDRED. It’s one I go back to. Then her collection BLOODCHILD AND OTHER STORIES.
Toni Morrison and BELOVED, I think that’s a given.
Then anything by N.K. Jemisin, and I mean ANYthing.
I have a lot of new faves coming up, from last year and this year, but I bet you already know about those. ^_~.
We’re pretty sure LL’s last sentence is referencing upcoming books from other Black History Month contributors, Jay Coles, Ibi Zoboi, and Brandy Colbert.  But there are SO. MANY. MORE. black authors being published in 2018, like NYT Best Selling The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton which released last week, plus the upcoming Dread Nation by Justina Ireland, Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi, and many, many more on the horizon!