Alejandro Mañón’s Black Star follows James, the youngest Quinn sibling, as he moves to Vermont with his family and starts afresh.


“Everyone has a secret that they would never tell.” 

– Alejandro Mañón 

Alejandro Mañón’s Black Star revolves around the Quinns, a family full of secrets. Charlotte, Jackson, and James are all sad to leave their lives in New York. They are all astounded as soon as they reach Vermont. Little do they know that the luxurious mansion and their father’s brand-new Mercedes are just the beginning. James, the youngest Quinn brother, is super excited to start afresh in Vermont. The added bonus of having the person he has been dating online for months living in the same place sweetens the deal for him. James hopes to leave behind his past and begin anew with his new friends and a paramour by his side. All the while, he resolves to keep his secrets in the dark. However, nothing goes as planned. Things come to a head when his mother, Madeleine, vanishes off the face of the earth. 

What happened to Madeleine? Will she ever be found? What about James? Will he be able to keep his secrets and lead a happy life? 

Black Star by Alejandro Mañón takes you on a rollercoaster ride of feelings. I guarantee you that by the time you finish the novel, you would have felt all the emotions on the spectrum. Mañón weaves a story that is astonishingly realistic. The Quinn family’s story proves that you never know what truly goes on in a family no matter how well you know them. Mañón breathes life into the story by penning dialogues that include language normally used by teenagers nowadays. 

Black Star primarily focuses on James Quinn. James has always been the happy-go-lucky guy who is able to make friends easily. However, there are a ton of skeletons in his closet. Seeing him battle through all the betrayals from his closest people broke my heart. It was indeed enlightening to watch him come to terms with his addiction and sexuality.  Through James, Mañón depicts the struggles of countless teenagers who become addicted to substances and find it difficult to leave it all behind. I love the way Mañón shows how the people around you can affect you and your decisions. 

James’ struggles with his sexuality are relatable. Even though we live in a modern society, people still shun anyone who does not conform to heterosexuality. No matter how woke we believe ourselves to be, there is a long way to go. James’ story proves that. 

Nicole and Jackson are two characters that are noteworthy. They both play important roles in James’ life, one being his best friend and the other his brother. I loved how easily Nicole and James struck up their friendship. She was so supportive of him that it seemed that she would always be there for him. Jackson, on the other hand, had very little to do with James in the beginning. I was happy to see him step up for his brother when things got tough for James. Out of the blue, he started being there for his little brother. I am sure that the way the characters of Nicole and Jackson develop and turn out in the end will leave you gaping. I have to mention Brandon. He is the quintessential boy that any sane person should stay away from. James being James gives him chance after chance despite everything he did to him. 

Overall, Black Star by Alejandro Mañón is a captivating read that is bound to engross you till the end. Even in the end, it will shock you. This is one of those rare books that would leave you thinking about it long after you finish it. Mañón breathes life into the story through his realistic writing style. The way each chapter starts with an illustration and a description of a constellation adds to the uniqueness of the book. I recommend this book to fans of YA novels and thrillers. 

Book Details

  • Title: Black Star
  • Author: Alejandro Mañón
  • Genre: YA Fiction
  • Theme: LGBTQ, Suspense, Coming of Age
  • Publication Date: July 15, 2021
  • ISBN or ASIN: B099N2Y3RC
  • Number of Pages: 243
  • Minimum Audience Age: 13

Book Themes

(Note: 0=none, 1=a few, 2=considerable, 3=pronounced, 4=excessive)

  • Sexual themes: 2
  • Religious themes: 0
  • Violence, self-harm, etc.: 1
  • Crude language, expletives, swearing, etc.: 3
  • Other adult themes: 1


  • Content: 5 stars
  • Writing Style: 5 stars
  • Appeal to Target Audience: 5 stars
  • Uniqueness: 5 stars
  • Editing: 3 stars
  • Other factors: 5 stars
  • Overall: 4.6 out of 5

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By Kajori Sheryl Paul

Reading is my passion, and writing is my compulsion. I started reading from a very early age. Since then, I have not stopped. I have garnered this addiction from my father. I have always loved reading his books. As you can see, books are my world. I escape this world to traverse the world of my books. Naturally, I have an affinity to create worlds of my own. There are thoughts constantly swirling in my head. These are the thoughts that I jot down. Sometimes, they become poems while sometimes stories. More often than not, they are just reviews of the plethora of books I read and the things I do.

One thought on “A Book Review by Kajori: “Black Star” by Alejandro Mañón”
  1. It’s super sad that in this day and age we still struggle to come to terms with diverse sexual orientations. But there’s something about family secrets that I can resist! I’ll definitely add this one to my TBR list.

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