Posts in Category: mass incarceration

The Stars and the Blackness Between Them

by Junauda Petrus

The stars and the blackness between them

This YA novel is about a young Black girl becoming terminally ill and coming of age. I picked it up a few weeks after listening to M. NourbeSe Philip in an episode of the Commonplace poetry podcast and heard her voice and poetry. Hearing her speak about Trinidad, my interest was piqued. Subsequently, I checked in on bookramble on YouTube and saw her bomb Bad Bunny tag, wherein she briefly discussed this book and mentioned that Trinidad played a part in it.

I was immediately enchanted by Audre, the main character, because I assumed that Audre was a shout out to Audre Lorde, and the novel later confirmed this suspicion of mine! Audre loves listening to rock by people of color and most other genres too, with a special affinity for Whitney Houston.

Moreover, the tenderness, healing, touching prose, fleshed out characters, magical realism, name dropping (namedropping Haruki Murakami, for example, and also referencing Biggie and James Baldwin in the same sentence), and immersion in a safe world for people of color and of strong women alongside sweet men made me feel warmth and security with myself.

I admire that this novel took a lovely anti-colonial stance, not shying away from denouncing mass incarceration and the endless discussion of white heteropatriarchs in places of education.

I would recommend this book to sensitive people of color of all ages. It is not too long, and worthwhile to read, if only for an excuse to bop to samba jazz, reggae, Aretha, Fishbone and many other creators this book introduced me to as I read it, and as I have continued to do since finishing it.

Mya, 15


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