Audiobook Review & Giveaway: The Stars and the Blackness Between Them by Junauda Petrus
The Stars and the Blackness Between Them is lyrical and downright stunning. I made a grave mistake letting this sit on my TBR instead of reading it the day I bought it. See why you shouldn’t wait another minute to pick it up in my 5 star review!
The Stars and the Blackness Between Themby Junauda Petrus
Published by: Dutton Books for Young Readers
on September 17, 2019
Genres: Contemporary Romance, GLBTQIA+, Young Adult
Audiobook through LibroFM, Bookshop
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.
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. 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.
The Stars and the Blackness Between Them is one of the most beautiful books I’ve ever read, and not just because of its stunning cover. Told in dual POV, Stars is two girls’ stories of family, love, and identity.
Dang, I loved it so much.
Audre and Mabel, two Black young women, find love and friendship. The setting is vibrant and tangible, whether we are in Trinidad or Minneapolis. I loved Audre’s grandma and their relationship. Petrus explores the unique cultures of the two communities as well as their shared experiences.
I felt a lot of things reading this book. Sadness and frustration when Audre is forced to leave her home and girlfriend. Joy as she gets to know her father. Pleasant surprise at how real and amazing Mabel’s parents were (more of this, please!). Glee as Mabel and Audre develop their friendship and deepen their relationship, at the way they discover each other and life all at once. I laughed at Mabel’s love of Whitney Houston and all of her thoughts about Whitney.
If you have a chance to pick this up via audio, you’re in for a special treat from narrators Junauda Petrus (yes, the author narrates!), Bahni Turpin, and JD Jackson. The narration brings Audre and Mabel to life, as well as the world around them.
To help raise awareness and to celebrate Pride, today we are giving away this stack of Black queer YA books that have all been painted by Edged in Starlight!
Pictured (top to bottom in 1st photo):
How to Be Remy Cameron by Julian Winters (green edges)
Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender (yellow/orange ombre)
The Stars and the Blackness Between Them by Junauda Petrus (purple)
You Should See Me in a Crown by Leah Johnson (pink/purple ombre)
All Boys Aren’t Blue by George M. Johnson (pink & blue)
Let’s Talk About Love by Claire Kann (purple ombre)
The giveaway is US/PR only. Closes on July 4th. Must provide a mailing address in the rafflecopter to win!a Rafflecopter giveaway