Review: The Stars and the Blackness Between Them

Title: The Stars and the Blackness Between Them
Author: Junauda Petrus
Release date: September 17th, 2020
Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️


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.


This was such a beautiful, beautiful book.

I somehow managed to miss this release last year and this has immediately become the underhyped book I’m going to shout at everyone to read. It follows Audre as she is kicked out of her home in Trinidad for being gay, and she is sent to live with her dad in the states. There, she meets Mabel, who not long after is diagnosed with a rare terminal illness.

I was a mess. This book was a poetic masterpiece that pulls at your heartstrings and will have you in tears.

The storytelling and writing was unique, and we’re told a lot of the events through retelling the past and in moments after the events have happened. It worked really well for this book. The passing of time is also indicated through poems for each of the zodiac signs, which was really fitting for this story.

I fell in love with Audre and Mabel. Their relationship was so beautiful. This story was so beautiful. I honestly don’t have the words to properly give this book. It’s a moving story about queer Black identity, love, and culture, and I urge everyone to read it.


2 thoughts on “Review: The Stars and the Blackness Between Them”

  1. I absolutely loved this book! I finished it up like two weeks ago and I have been trying to find the words to review it and try to even describe how much it touched me! So powerful so poetic and so beautiful to see them just love and support each other. I cried legit like 3 times while reading, like full stop sobs haha


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