As contemporary writers of color go, Victor Lavalle is tops, especially if you like work that leans toward the supernatural, surreal, or macabre. This seems like the definitive direction his latest works are taking, and the novella he’s dropped today is no exception. Lucretia and the Kroons is an e-book with a young adult slant that chronicles the story of two best friends, Lucretia and her neighbor Sunny. When Sunny disappears, it’s up to Lucretia to solve the mystery of her whereabouts. The journey leads her to a perilous netherworld, with dangers entirely different from the one she and Sunny face in their Queens tenement back home.
What’s exciting about Lucretia and the Kroons, which also is available for instant Kindle delivery for just 99 cents, is that its protagonists are girls of color — a demographic we know is grossly under-served in the YA market. LaValle is one of the few writers of color who’ve written e-novellas through their publisher. (Lucretia and the Kroons is being sold by Random House Digital, Inc.) It’s also an interesting initiative because it’s being billed as a prequel to his larger work, due out next month, a novel, The Devil in Silver.
Early reviews compare Lucretia to Neil Gaiman’s Coraline and Guillermo Del Toro’s Pan’s Labyrinth. At 104 pages for slightly less than a dollar, it’s a fantastic bargain, and it promises to be a thrilling, chilling tale of friendship in peril.
Have you read Victor Lavalle’s earlier work? Will you read Lucretia and the Kroons and The Devil in Silver?