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The Stars and the Blackness Between Them

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4.24  ·  Rating details ·  1,401 ratings  ·  398 reviews
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 strictl
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Hardcover, 312 pages
Published September 17th 2019 by Dutton Books for Young Readers
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Average rating 4.24  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,401 ratings  ·  398 reviews


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emma
Magical realism is the best genre.

There. I said it.

You can argue with me all you want, but you would be wrong and it would be sad for you.

Contemporaries are cool, but zero magic or mythical creatures or whimsical elements of any kind. Deal breaker.

Fantasy is rad, but in the end aren’t you just coping with the crushing blow of knowing you will never get your Hogwarts letter / fall down a rabbit hole / otherwise engage in a charmingly random activity that launches you into a quest?

Magical realism
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may ➹
— you can find this review and others on my blog

4.5 stars

The Stars and the Blackness Between Them is a book I don’t think I’ll ever forget. The way it made me feel, the way it was written—everything about it feels like it was a gift to this world that I wasn’t worthy of experiencing.

My first thought upon finishing was just, “Oh my god.” There are no other words for how I felt, because this book was absolutely gorgeous. I don’t know how exactly to describe it, but I teared up so many times readin
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Cece (ProblemsOfaBookNerd)
Wow. Wow wow wow. I spent most of this book not thinking it would get me emotional, but it absolutely destroyed me in the end. I think this is a f/f YA that flew a little under the radar in 2019 and I hope it gets more time in the spotlight going into the new year. If you are participating in f/f February and also intend to read Black authors (aka my 2020 plans) then this is a MUST READ. Warnings for some emotional intensity - one of the main characters is suffering from a mystery illness and th ...more
Jesse bowtiesandbooks
Dec 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
When 16 year old Audre’s homophobic mother catches her with her girlfriend, she is sent to live in Minneapolis - thousands of miles away from her partner, family, and beloved Trinidad.
What does it mean to be uprooted? Despite her grief, Audre meets Mabel, and an undeniable attraction - and love - blooms between them.

The audiobook is the ONLY way to read this book. Partially read by the author, the girls’ two distinct voices weave together with the cohesion and beauty of a tapestry. Much of the
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Thomas
Shout out to my best friend Bri for reviewing this book and getting it on my radar! The Stars and the Blackness Between Them carries a whole freaking lot of what the world needs right now: tenderness, radical love, and a centering of marginalized voices rife with nuance and feeling. The novel follows two black teens from different backgrounds: Mabel, who lives in Minneapolis and worries about her ex Terrell and a mystery illness that has affected her all summer, and Audre, who lives in Trinidad ...more
Bri
Dec 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: teen-fiction
OK OK OK now that I’ve had a few days to wholly bask in the sheer magic of this book’s creation...


This is my favorite read of the year, hands down. Juanada Petrus is a fabulous storyteller. She managed to incorporate soo many people’s lives in many dimensions into this book and it didn’t feel overwhelming or extraneous or unnecessary. Her language was lyrical and concise and Black as hell. I loved the joining of vastly different parts of the diaspora: a Black girl from middle America (Mabel) and
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Fadwa (Word Wonders)
CW: homophobia, unaccepting parent, parental physical abuse, talk of suicidal ideations, masturbation, leukemia.

Do you ever read a book so tender and soft that it leaves you feeling at peace with yourself and the world after reading it? Well, that was this book for me. The Stars and the Blackness between us is the kind of quiet book that gets under your skin and seeps into your bones until you feel yourself inside of it. Or at least, that’s how I felt.

It’s so well written, the words and sentence
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Meagan ✊🏼 Blacklivesmatter ✊🏼Blacktranslivesmatter
😍😍😍 That cover! That Title! The universe knew I needed more black lesbian fiction in my life 😍. Can't wait!
temi ★
Apr 10, 2019 marked it as to-read
so apparently i was found passed out in my room after reading the summary of this book. wow
charlotte, (½ of readsrainbow)
that ending??? hello???

Read my review on Reads Rainbow

Rep: Black lesbian mcs (one Trinidadian), Black Muslim sc, Black cast & other wlw side characters

CWs: homophobia & child abuse (ch.3)
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BookOfCinz
The Blackness between the stars is the melanin in your skin

What a beautiful, multi-layered, tender, moving debut novel by Junauda Petrus.
The Starts and the Blackness Between Them is told from the perspective of two sixteen year old girls who are both navigating their ever changing worlds and trying to carve our a space for themselves and who they want to be.

We meet Audre who lives in Trinidad and Tobago with her very strict and religious mother and her stepfather. Audre’s grandmother Quee
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Lucie
Feb 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
TW: Terminal Illness & Homophobia

This was on track to be 5 stars but the very end confused and disappointed the hell out of me?? I loved the overall story and the emotions I felt while reading. I thought the writing was done beautifully, especially the descriptions of the feeling of love, acceptance, and physical bodies. Admittedly I at first did have a hard time with the Trinidadian Creole Audre's perspective is written in, but listening to the audiobook remedied that and the audiobook is excep
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Liv Morris
Aug 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2019, lgbtq
This is, hands down, one of the most interesting, original YA books I’ve ever read. I’m incredibly glad I got the chance to read it, and I’m a bit at a loss as to how to describe it. There are a lot of different threads here, all of them working together to illustrate interconnectedness, the link between people, between the past and the present, between the body and the spirit. It’s a spiritual book, rooted in both New Age and historical Black sensibilities. This spirituality is so deeply felt t ...more
kav (xreadingsolacex)
Nov 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
"...as Black folks we are limitless. That, maybe, our blackness holds ancient cosmic memory. What if our wisdom comes from our dreams, not just churches and Bibles?"


The Stars and the Blackness Between Them by Junauda Petrus is one of the most beautiful novels I have ever read. This moving contemporary follows Mabel and Audre, two sapphic Black MCs who fall in love with each other over the course of this novel. Audre is kicked out of her house and forced to move from Trinidad to Ameri
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Caidyn (BW Reviews; he/him/his)
DNF at pg. 122

CW: terminal cancer, homophobia, and transphobia

I hate that this is my first review of the year.

I only read to page 122 and this book, for me, was middling at best for what I had read so far. This book isn't written for me. I'm a very white male, not a black or Trini female who's queer. But the publisher sent me this book and I wanted to try it.

My main thing is that this book features one MC who's diagnosed with terminal cancer. None of the reviews I read/skimmed mentioned this fac
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liberty
Sep 26, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: lgbtq
Overall, this was good. There were a few pacing issues, and it is hard to get into at first, but I love all the queerness and seeing two new looks into two different cultures. Both Audre and Mabel have really great father characters that I love so much. The ending made me VERY confused, still not sure how I feel about it. (EDIT: I have thought about for a couple months, and I kind of hate it:/) I am excited to see what else this author has in store!

Thanks to Book of the Month YA for bringing thi
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Heidi
I feel only astonishment and awe after finishing this book. With its quiet beauty, this book settled underneath my skin and reminded me of the power of love and the limitlessness of human potential. I do not understand why this book has less than 300 reviews, because it is gorgeous and more people need to read it.

Young Audre's life is uprooted when her mother discovers her with the pastor's granddaughter. She is sent from her home country, Trinidad, to live with her father in Minneapolis. She m
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Rec-It Rachel
Mar 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
COVER REVEAL ON MONDAY NOT AN APRIL FOOLS JOKE
Anniek
This was such a unique reading experience. And such a beautifully written book.

This is one of those books that wasn't written for me as a white reader, and that I couldn't be happier exists. I really loved this book, and I think it will mean a lot to own voices readers.

Rep: all Black cast, f/f romance, LGBTQ+ side characters, Muslim side character

CWs: religious and internalized homophobia, physical abuse, terminal illness, incarceration
ONYX Pages
Jul 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
Wooooow!! 4.5

What a glorious, melanated, magical love story!

Bravo! Brrraps! Biggup!
Patty (IheartYA)
Jun 27, 2020 rated it it was ok
So sorry, but this book was not for me. I liked parts of it, such as how it tied into astrology, and I thought that was well done and creative.

The writing was beautiful at times but overall I very much struggled with the broken english and slang; sometimes I had no idea what was being said. If the story was told in 3rd person instead of 1st I probably would have liked it much, much more. The characters were plain and didn't feel like real people with emotions. The pacing was, well, not good. I
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Tomes And Textiles
Jan 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: pub-penguin, 2019
Find the full review on Tomes and Textiles.

“If I didn’t define myself for myself, I would be crunched your into other people’s fantasies for me and eaten alive.” Audre Lord
💜
What if I told you nothing else about a book except: read it. Would you pick it up? Would you at least put it on your radar for me? Read the synopsis in my first comment?
💜
What if I then told you the writing had the poetic lyricism of Elizabeth Acevedo and Jandy Nelson? The writing is baptized by queens Toni Morrison and Audre
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Zoë Micah-Montoya
THIS WAS THE MOST BEAUTIFUL BOOK I HAVE EVER READ IN MY ENTIRE LIFE

I am actually emotional right now. Okay. #RepresentationMatters. I have never read a book I fully related to in my life. Okay. The way Audre and Mabel talk about life, love, astrology, spirituality, Blackness, afrofuturism, weirdness, each other, god, the ancestors, music, Whitney Houston. so many things. I've never read a book about weird Black girls. Never read a book about weird, queer Black girls. This is the book I needed as
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Arielle Walker
This book really, really is so beautiful, heartwrenching and cathartic in turn.
Giving this four stars instead of five feels like kicking a puppy. It's truly gorgeous in so many ways, it just... missed something for me in the way the plot unfolded. On the page, at least - I've since heard that the audiobook is the best/only way to fully experience the story, based as it is in oratory traditions, and I'm very keen to listen to it instead now.
Christy
Jun 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
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
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Nev
Oct 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019, lgbtqiap
After Audre’s mother catches her with another girl she is sent from Trinidad to live with her father in the United States. There her path crosses with Mabel, a girl who becomes Audre’s closest friend and perhaps something more. But both their lives change when Mabel receives some surprising test results after feeling sick all summer. I really enjoyed this book, but it ended up being really different from what I assumed it would be. I guess I didn’t read the synopsis closely because I wasn’t awar ...more
Linda
4.5 stars
I highly recommend the audio book, partially narrated by the author.
There are strong themes of astrology, spirituality, and religion which I personally didn't connect to but didn't bother me.
S!
Jun 28, 2020 added it
i don't know how to talk about this book!!!! reading this kind of tenderness and love between girls, black girls specifically, is so touching and healing and even hopeful. i was expecting it, duh, but the book is about so much more than that!! it's about intimacy between two girls and also about intimacy with the entire world, with land, with your body, with your country, with your history, your family, your community! the story goes to places i didn't expect and it does so gracefully in my opin ...more
Christopher Jacob
Jan 04, 2020 rated it it was ok
I’ll be honest, I probably should have lowered my expectations going into this. I probably should have more tolerance about it, but if it’s one thing I promised myself for 2020, it's that I’m not accepting half measures of representation. Not for my queerness, not for my blackness and definitely not for my Caribbean heritage.

I want to start with the good. First off, I love how poetic the writing is; It truly does give the feeling of floating on water. There’s such a silky-smooth cadence to Petr
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Jherane Patmore
I can't imagine why anyone would give this book anything less than a 4.5 stars, and that's when they're being mean.

This book is complex, deep, coherent and extremely respectful of the sophistication of a YA audience to handle things such as dealing with death, illness, homophobia, exploring different kinds of blackness, and tender queerness (+ elderly queer rep!).

This is one of the books where I wish there were other supplementary texts available for it because I need to read more of Afua's wr
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