"McDonell deftly handles a surprisingly complex narrative, shifting between characters, exploring the mystery of Shaun’s death while holding back the truth (without ever seeming to deliberately conceal it) and teasing supernatural possibilities...Black Chuck surprises at nearly every turn; it’s a powerful debut."
Kirkus Reviews - February 28, 2018
"Dynamically complex characterization and storytelling…brooding and absorbing."
Resource Links - February 15, 2018
"This novel is Orca at its most mature. The characters are living on the edge, with such raw intensity that it is painful to remember that they are still teens…As these four teens struggle with their demons, we are pulled through their living nightmares by McDonell's harrowing depiction, and hope for their sakes that they can each find their road."
CM Magazine - February 13, 2018
"A book unlike anything I have read before…McDonell has developed characters who are diverse, multidimensional, and flawed, which makes them relatable…Black Chuck is an engaging and diverse book that would be a welcomed addition to any classroom or school library. Highly Recommended. "
Booklist - January 31, 2018
"Superb debut novel; the pain and angst of both Ré and Evie is palpable, and the struggles they face within their respective relationships are real and nuanced…This is a brutal, heartbreaking, and yet strangely uplifting novel about the consequences of lies, the gravity of love, and the courage it takes to prevail over self-condemnation."
School Library Journal - January 26, 2018
"McDonell provides a strong sense of character for each of her players, drawing them to a crashing conclusion through a series of impactful events. The author also displays an adeptness in handling themes such as inevitability, loyalty, and guilt, making this a read that sticks in the gut…This book delivers on a stirring psychological drama fans of Carol Plum-Ucci's The Body of Christopher Creed and of the CW's Riverdale will tear through."