Out of Darkness

  • Interest Level: Grade 8 - Grade 12
  • Reading Level: Grade 7

A Michael L. Printz Honor Book

“This is East Texas, and there’s lines. Lines you cross, lines you don’t cross. That clear?”

New London, Texas. 1937. Naomi Vargas and Wash Fuller know about the lines in East Texas as well as anyone. They know the signs that mark them. They know the people who enforce them. But sometimes the attraction between two people is so powerful it breaks through even the most entrenched color lines. And the consequences can be explosive.

Ashley Hope Pérez takes the facts of the 1937 New London school explosion—the worst school disaster in American history—as a backdrop for a riveting novel about segregation, love, family, and the forces that destroy people.

“[This] layered tale of color lines, love and struggle in an East Texas oil town is a pit-in-the-stomach family drama that goes down like it should, with pain and fascination, like a mix of sugary medicine and artisanal moonshine.”—The New York Times Book Review

“Pérez deftly weaves [an] unflinchingly intense narrative….A powerful, layered tale of forbidden love in times of unrelenting racism.”―starred, Kirkus Reviews

“This book presents a range of human nature, from kindness and love to acts of racial and sexual violence. The work resonates with fear, hope, love, and the importance of memory….Set against the backdrop of an actual historical event, Pérez…gives voice to many long-omitted facets of U.S. history.”―starred, School Library Journal

Format Your Price Add
978-1-4677-4202-3
$15.74
978-1-4677-7676-9
$25.99
Interest Level Grade 8 - Grade 12
Reading Level Grade 7
Genre Young Adult
Category Diverse Books: Race & Ethnicity, Diverse Books: Social Justice, Diversity
Copyright 2015
Publisher Lerner Publishing Group
Imprint Carolrhoda Lab ®
Language English
Number of Pages 408
Publication Date 2015-09-01
Reading Counts! Level 4.8
Text Type Fiction—Historical
BISACS YAF058190, YAF052000, YAF024170
Dewey [Fic]
Dimensions 6 x 9
Lexile 660
ATOS Reading Level 4.6
Accelerated Reader® Quiz 178200
Accelerated Reader® Points 15.0
Features Author/Illustrator biography, Awards, Reviewed, and Starred Reviews

Awards

  • Lincoln Award: Illinois Teen Readers' Choice Master List, Long-listed, 2017
  • Virginia Readers' Choice Award Reading List Selection, Long-listed, 2017
  • Garden State Teen Book Award Nominee, Nominated, 2017
  • Booklist’s 50 Best YA Books of All Time, Winner, 2017
  • Children's Book Committee at Bank Street College Best Children's Book of the Year, Winner, 2016
  • Cooperative Children's Book Center (CCBC) Choices, Winner, 2016
  • Tomás Rivera Book Award, Winner, 2016
  • YALSA Best Books for Young Adults, Winner, 2016
  • Michael L. Printz Honor Book, Commended, 2016
  • Writers' League of Texas Discovery Prize, Winner, 2016
  • Amelia Elizabeth Walden Award Finalist, Short-listed, 2015
  • ACL Distinguished Book, Winner, 2015
  • Kirkus Best Teen Books of the Year, Winner, 2015
  • School Library Journal Best Book, Winner, 2015
  • Tayshas Reading List, Winner, 2015

Reviews

The New York Times Book Review

“[This] layered tale of color lines, love and struggle in an East Texas oil town is a pit-in-the-stomach family drama that goes down like it should, with pain and fascination, like a mix of sugary medicine and artisanal moonshine.”—The New York Times Book Review

Booklist

“Elegant prose and gently escalating action will leave readers gasping for breath at the tragic climax and moving conclusion.”—Booklist

Kirkus Reviews

“Pérez deftly weaves [an] unflinchingly intense narrative….A powerful, layered tale of forbidden love in times of unrelenting racism.”―starred, Kirkus Reviews

School Library Journal

“This book presents a range of human nature, from kindness and love to acts of racial and sexual violence. The work resonates with fear, hope, love, and the importance of memory….Set against the backdrop of an actual historical event, Pérez…gives voice to many long-omitted facets of U.S. history.”―starred, School Library Journal

Elizabeth Wein

“The beauty of Perez’s prose and her surefooted navigation through the dangerous landscape of the East Texas oil field in the late 1930s redeem the fact that anyone who dares read this agonizing star-crossed love story will end up in about six billion numb and tiny pieces. Absolutely stunning.” —Elizabeth Wein, author of Code Name Verity and Michael L. Printz Award Honoree

Author: Ashley Hope Pérez

Ashley Hope Pérez is the author of award-winning books for young adults, including What Can’t Wait, The Knife and the Butterfly, and Out of Darkness. Out of Darkness was described by The New York Times as a “layered tale of color lines, love and struggle” and was named one of Booklist’s “50 Best YA Books of All Time.” It also won the 2016 Tomás Rivera Book Award, the 2016 Américas Award, and a 2016 Printz honor for excellence in young adult literature from the American Library Association. When she’s not writing or hanging out with her two beautiful sons, Liam Miguel and Ethan Andrés, Ashley teaches world literature at The Ohio State University. Visit her online at www.ashleyperez.com or find her on Twitter and Instagram: @ashleyhopeperez.

Out of Darkness Named One of the Most Challenged Books of 2021

On April 4, during National Library Week, ALA released a list of the Top 10 Most Challenged Books of 2021. The YA novel Out of Darkness by Ashley Hope Pérez ranked at #4. Previously on the Lerner blog, Ashley contributed a guest post ahead of Banned Books Week… View →