Book Review: The Stars And The Blackness Between Them

Title: The Stars And The Blackness Between Them

Author: Junauda Petrus

Publisher: Dutton Books

Publication Date: September 17 2019

Genre: Young Adult Romance,


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.


Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Junauda Petrus writes in a very lyrical manner. A lot of the descriptions were quite long and flowery and the paragraphs tended to be a bit long winded, while I enjoyed I understand why that could be a miss for other readers.

While there are quite a few differences between the Jamaican and Trinidadian dialects, I felt so at home while reading the parts of the story that were written in creole. I think that’s why I enjoyed Audre’s chapters so much, as she had a tendency to have inner monologues. I also loved the fact that Audre didn’t change the way she spoke when she began living in The US.

The characters in this really came to life on the pages. Every character was likable and every relationship was real. You could really see that Audre and Mabel cared about each other. The emotional connections weren’t only between Audre and Mabel, but Mabel had a wonderful group of friends outside of Audre and those friends took Audre in, and I really love how those friendships played out.

I really enjoyed the family dynamics in this story. While the relationship between Audre and her mother definitely wasn’t the best, I appreciated the fact that Junauda Petrus took the time to not only show incidents that happened but to address these incidents and how they impacted Audre later on in the book. Mabel’s family was so amazing to read about. Her family wasn’t just something shoved into the background as the story developed. Mabel’s family played a huge part in this story. They were all very different characters that added their own thing to the story.

I loved the friend’s to lovers element. I loved how it was delivered. I also loved the fact that Mabel appreciated and accepted Audre’s methods and her way of caring.

I do wish Mabel got more time on the page as a lot her chapters were dedicated to her dreams that told the story of Audre’s grandmother ‘Queenie’. However, I did enjoy reading about Queenie’s life. I did not like the ending however, I know that it was foreshadowed earlier in the book but it still felt off for me, it kind of felt like an easy way out ending.

That’s All I Got, Romy.

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