Synopses & Reviews
A Coretta Scott King Honor Book
Told in two distinct and irresistible voices, Junauda Petrus's bold and lyrical debut is the story of two black girls from very different backgrounds finding love and happiness in a world that seems determined to deny them both.
Port of Spain, Trinidad. Sixteen-year-old Audre is despondent, having just found out she's going to be sent to live in America with her father because her strictly religious mother caught her with her secret girlfriend, the pastor's daughter. Audre's grandmother Queenie (a former dancer who drives a white convertible Cadillac and who has a few secrets of her own) tries to reassure her granddaughter that she won't lose her roots, not even in some place called Minneapolis. "America have dey spirits too, believe me," she tells Audre.
Minneapolis, USA. Sixteen-year-old Mabel is lying on her bed, staring at the ceiling and trying to figure out why she feels the way she feels — about her ex Terrell, about her girl Jada and that moment they had in the woods, and about the vague feeling of illness that's plagued her all summer. Mabel's reverie is cut short when her father announces that his best friend and his just-arrived-from-Trinidad daughter are coming for dinner.
Mabel quickly falls hard for Audre and is determined to take care of her as she tries to navigate an American high school. But their romance takes a turn when test results reveal exactly why Mabel has been feeling low-key sick all summer and suddenly it's Audre who is caring for Mabel as she faces a deeply uncertain future.
Junauda Petrus's debut brilliantly captures the distinctly lush and lyrical voices of Mabel and Audre as they conjure a love that is stronger than hatred, prison, and death and as vast as the blackness between the stars.
"Petrus's earnest debut successfully, touchingly combines elements of fantasy, bittersweet realism, and potent, affecting spirituality to tell the coming-of-age story of two complex, beautifully drawn young black women whose friendship and love draw them together." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)
"Striking an agile balance between humor and heartbreak, Petrus delivers an immersive queer romance set in a world much like our own but touched with the slightest tint of magic realism." Booklist (Starred Review)
"Readers seeking a deep, uplifting love story will not be disappointed....A cosmically compelling read." Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review)
"Deeply spiritual and bursting with light, The Stars and the Blackness Between Them is a gorgeous love letter to the African diaspora." Brandy Colbert, Stonewall Award-winning author of Little & Lion
“The most gorgeous, profound, spiritually uplifting, queer Black Afro-futuristic-magical, ancestral love oracle/book I've ever read in my whole life. I'm shook with joy.” Gabby Rivera, author of Juliet Takes a Breath and America
"Junauda lets us remember our first knowing of ourselves, our earliest resistance to those who would deny us, our first brush with the brevity of life. Enjoy this sweet and magical work." adrienne maree brown, New York Times bestselling author of Pleasure Activism
"Petrus's storytelling brings the ancestors to life." Layla F. Saad, New York Times bestselling author of Me and White Supremacy: Combat Racism, Change the World, and Become a Good Ancestor
About the Author
Junauda Petrus is a writer, pleasure activist, filmmaker and performance artist, born on Dakota land of Black-Caribbean descent. Her work centers around wildness, queerness, Black-diasporic-futurism, ancestral healing, sweetness, shimmer and liberation. She lives in Minneapolis with her wife and family. www.junauda.com