Review of "Black Sheep: Letting Go of the Past" by Kia Zi Shiru

Remember two weeks ago I featured a burgeoning author on my blog? Kia Zi Shiru? In that feature, we discussed her writing and also talked about the release of Book Two in the Black Sheep series: Black Sheep: Loving in the Present. Because I tend to read more than one thing at a time, and am quite a slow reader, I finally finished Part One of that series: Black Sheep: Letting Go of the Past. Here is a review.


Anyone who knows my reviews knows that I don’t give summaries. Summaries are dull. When I read a review, I don’t care about plot. If I wanted that, I’d find the Spark’s Notes on the piece or go to Wikipedia. I want to know if I should read it and what I should watch for. Therefore, that’s what you get here. Check out Shiru’s Amazon.com page for summaries of each book and reviews that dig a little deeper.

As mentioned in a previous post, Black Sheep is a Young Adult novella series with an LGBT slant. But don’t let the LGBT slant scare you off. Vic, Jack, Anne, and the lot of characters draw you into the confusing world of all our teenage years regardless of one’s own orientation.

To be fair, however, this YA read might not be for all young readers. The language can get a little coarse for a YA read (as these are teenagers living in the real world) and adult themes like sexuality, self-destruction, and LIFE  play out. Then again, books that don’t skirt the line between YA and inappropriate don’t belong in the genre in the beginning. Parts some parents will find offensive are true to the core. Only parents trying to protect their children from life will find offense.

The dark realities of teen life come out in buckets. Shiru lets us into the Vic’s life slowly. But with each new sliver of information comes a torrent of pain. In a good way, if one can call it such. I had zero problem falling hard for these characters. I even had to put it down briefly on the bus to keep from tearing up at one point. In the comfort of my own apartment, crying is OK. Public transit is another story.

I look forward to reading Book Two. I can only assume her writing voice has sharpened since finishing Letting Go of the Past. After reading her first novel, I’m comfortable saying with authority that Shiru will be a name to watch for in the coming years.


Disclosure: Kia Zi Shiru and I are acquaintances as fellow Google+’ers and writers. She neither paid me for this nor gave me anything except a thank you for this review. However, I did win a contest several weeks ago…of which many participated…and I won an ebook copy of this book. 

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