When Stars Rain Down

Thomas Nelson. Apr. 2021. 368p. ISBN 9780785240440. pap. $17.99. CF
Opal Pruitt is just about to turn 18 in the oppressively hot summer of 1936. She works hard at her job, takes care of her beloved Granny, and dreams about boys with her cousin Lucille. The young Black teenager’s journey to adulthood will be forged in fire, though, when the Ku Klux Klan attacks her neighborhood and she endures a vicious beating at the hands of an unknown white attacker. Although slavery is over, Parsons, GA, is still starkly divided along unequal racial lines, and Opal begins to fear that her community’s thirst for justice on her behalf could ignite a chain reaction with devastating consequences.
VERDICT Jackson-Brown (House Repairs) paints a vivid picture of family and community persevering in the pressure cooker of the Deep South. Readers will be drawn to Opal’s intelligent and authentic voice, as the books confronts issues of racism, injustice, and white privilege head-on. This is a powerful Own Voices contribution to the historical fiction genre, joining titles such as Alka Joshi’s The Henna Artist and Kim Michele Richardson’s The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek in their unflinching look at the past.
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