Book Reviews

Review: The Stars and the Blackness Between Them by Junauda Petrus

The Stars and the Blackness Between Them is one of those books I don’t even know where to begin with. It’s a review I feel supremely unqualified to write. One that I don’t even know what to say days after finishing it. Just like the stars are immense, the darkness deep, it’s hard to put words to The Stars and the Blackness Between Them.


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.


I received this arc as part of the Arc Adoption Program from MissPrint!

The Stars and the Blackness Between Them is an ode to love. To friendship that defies the odds. To finding strength to deal with injustice. Lyrical and told in multiple perspectives, The Stars and the Blackness Between Them defies expectations and labels. Being shamed for our love, sent away for finding ourselves int he arms of another, to having faith and love in our heart at the same time. There’s sadness over leaving the ones we love, grief in being sent away from our home, and pain looking at the end.

The Stars and the Blackness Between Them is a gorgeously written story about writing our truths, poetry found in the cracks in our loves, and finding people who will love and cherish us. It is both a love story and also one that deals with our feelings when staring into the darkness of the night sky. I barely have notes for this book, because the experience of reading it just sweeps you away. The words cherish the emotions behind them.

Queer people of color walk through these pages. And it’s a story about their struggles, their fear of living openly, the challenges they face for loving. It’s a story about finding the strength to live authentically, if we can, and deciding what is important to us in life.

Find The Stars and the Blackness Between Them on Goodreads, Amazon, Indiebound & The Book Depository.


What is your favorite queer love story?

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