|Stars and the blackness between them|
Author: Petrus, Junauda
Told in two voices, sixteen-year-olds Audre and Mabel, both young women of color from different backgrounds, fall in love and figure out how to care for each other as one of them faces a fatal illness.
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Coretta Scott King Author Honor, 2020
School Library Journal (00/09/19)
Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 08/01/2019 *Starred Review* Trinidadian native Audre uses the labels placed upon her as a shield, fearing those around her will discover the real reason her mother sent her to live with her distant father in Minneapolis: she was caught wrapped in the arms of another girl. Struggling with her own questions surrounding her sexuality and depleting health, Mabel holds no faith that she’s going to have anything in common with Audre, the daughter of a family friend who’s just arrived from Trinidad and has a bit of a church-girl reputation. But they find themselves drawn to each other in inexorable ways. Told through unflinching prose and poetry laced with astrological themes, Petrus' work breaks the mold of traditional writing and uses unconventional dialogue and voice to bring life to the story of two authentic, unapologetic Black girls as they face the hardest truths head on and discover everlasting love that reaches even the most distant corners of the cosmos. Through the intersplicing of poetry, Petrus provides compelling depth to both Audre and Mabel while conveying the powerful message that those we love on earth remain with us through a connection that can only be described as celestial. Striking an agile balance between humor and heartbreak, Petrus delivers an immersive queer romance set in in a world much like our own but touched with the slightest tint of magic realism. - Copyright 2019 Booklist.
School Library Journal - 09/01/2019 Gr 8 Up—Sixteen-year-olds Audre and Mabel are from different parts of the world, but over the course of a single bittersweet year they meet and fall in love. Audre has been sent from her home in Trinidad to Minneapolis after her very religious mother finds out she has been having a romantic relationship with another young woman. Meanwhile, Mabel, who has had a boyfriend but has never really been in love, finds herself diagnosed with terminal cancer. At a time when both young women are in desperate need of connection, they find it in each other. Both characters have unique and recognizable voices. Audre's "Trini" accent and culture, in particular, come across loud and clear on the page. Intercalary poetry also enhances the story and will appeal to fans of verse novels. The love story is juxtaposed against the tragic story of a fictional wrongfully incarcerated man, whose death row memoir resonates with Mabel's experience of knowing her death is likely near. This becomes a part of Mabel's last wish through an organization like "Make a Wish Foundation." The wrongful incarceration theme makes this title particularly relevant given the current conversations centered around the wrongful convictions of the "Central Park 5." VERDICT Told in alternating viewpoints and deeply romantic, this title will appeal to fans of Nicola Yoon's The Sun Is Also a Star or Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera's What If It's Us.—Kristin Lee Anderson, Jackson County Library Services, OR - Copyright 2019 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.