THE STARS AND THE BLACKNESS BETWEEN THEM by Junauda Petrus
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THE STARS AND THE BLACKNESS BETWEEN THEM

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KIRKUS REVIEW

In Petrus’ bewitching debut, Aquarius meets Scorpio and contemplates what comes next.

Audre has found religion in the form of Neri, the pastor’s granddaughter, much to the chagrin of her religious mother. Sent from Trinidad to Minneapolis to live with her father, Audre is afraid of leaving her beloved grandmother, being cut off from her home culture, and starting over in a new country. Meanwhile, fascinated with Whitney Houston and the singer’s supposed romance with a female friend, Mabel is attempting to fit the pieces of her sexuality together. Although she’s been feeling sick, she agrees to entertain her father’s friend’s newly arrived daughter, and Audre and Mabel grow close over the summer. As the school year ramps up, Mabel can no longer ignore her chronic fatigue and pain and must grapple with life-altering news. She finds comfort in reading an old book of her parents’, learning about astrology, and seeking Audre’s healing presence. Audre’s voice is lyrical, and readers will practically hear her Trinidadian accent as she overcomes her fears and self-doubt. Through a nonlinear storyline and two secondary characters, Afua and Queenie, the author beautifully interjects elements of magical realism while delving into the complexities of spirituality. Readers seeking a deep, uplifting love story will not be disappointed as the novel covers both flourishing feelings and bigger questions around belief and what happens when we face our own mortality. Main characters are black.

A cosmically compelling read. (Fiction. 14-adult)


Pub Date: Sept. 17th, 2019
ISBN: 978-0-5255-5548-3
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: Dutton
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1st, 2019