Clouds over California (Hardcover)
From the author of the highly acclaimed How High the Moon comes a moving and heartfelt novel about how a girl's family and friendships are turned upside down—just as the world is changing in 1970s Los Angeles.
Stevie’s life is fluctuating rapidly. She's starting over in a brand new middle school. Quiet and observant, it's hard for her to make friends. Plus, her mind is too occupied. The tension in her home is building as her parents' arguments are becoming more frequent. To top it all off, Stevie's older cousin Naomi is coming to live with the family in an attempt to keep her from a "bad" crowd—The Black Panthers.
Stevie agrees to keep Naomi's secrets. She's the cool big cousin, after all, and Stevie can't help but notice the happy, positive effect the Black Panthers are having on Naomi's confidence and identity—just like how Mom is making decisions for herself, even when Dad disapproves.
Stevie feels herself beginning to change as well. But one thing remains the same: she loves both of her parents, and she loves them together. Can her family stay in one piece despite the world shifting around them?
About the Author
Karyn Parsons is best known for her role as Will Smith's cousin Hilary Banks on NBC's The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. After leaving acting behind, Karyn has gone on to found and produce Sweet Blackberry, an award-winning series of children's animated films, to share stories about unsung Black heroes in history, featuring narration from stars such as Alfre Woodard, Queen Latifah, and Chris Rock. The videos have been screened on HBO and Netflix, and enjoyed by schools and libraries across the country. She is the author of Flying Free: How Bessie Coleman's Dreams Took Flight, How High the Moon, and Saving the Day. Karyn lives with her family in Providence, Rhode Island.
“Stevie's path to empowerment is both touching and inspiring. This captivating read is an honest reminder of where we've been and what we've overcome; it is an absolute gem!”—Lisa Moore Ramée, author of A Good Kind of Trouble
“Set against the dreamy backdrop of 1970s Santa Monica, Clouds over California is a touching story about the difficulties of accepting change and the importance of being true to yourself. I absolutely loved spending time in Stevie’s world.”—Brandy Colbert, award-winning author of The Only Black Girls in Town
“My heart! Clouds over California is one of those stories that nourishes the spirit and fills the soul. Deeply moving and refreshing, Stevie’s story surprised me in every good and meaningful way. I tore through it in one sitting and then wanted to sit with it, like a new but already dear friend.”—Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich, author of Operation Sisterhood
“Clouds over California is a taste of history with the thrills of mystery and brims with family secrets. Karyn Parsons created a sweet, heartfelt story filled with curiosity and hope.”—Alicia D. Williams, author of Genesis Begins Again
"A relationship-driven novel that is strongest in its portrayal of one girl’s journey."—Kirkus Reviews
"It’s a compelling, complicated story that touches on huge topics—racist microaggressions, police profiling, feminism, divorce—but keeps it all focused through Stevie’s wonderfully compassionate and curious lens. A fascinating and intimate snapshot of familial and personal transformation and the power in finding your voice."—Booklist
"Told through a spirited first-person perspective, this earnest novel by Parsons (How High the Moon) seamlessly connects key historical moments during the Black Power movement, social politics, and evergreen tween conflicts surrounding agency and independence."—Publishers Weekly
"[The protagonist] narrates her own story with a healthy mix of believable naivete and enviable emotional maturity as she turns twelve and starts junior high with an outlook readers have reason to be optimistic about, despite so much to remain enraged by in this pointed period piece."—The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
"Parsons’s keenly empathetic portrayal of Stevie and her tribulations is complemented by an equally compelling attention to detail in establishing the era.... Themes of empowerment, friendship, bullying, interracial marriage (Stevie’s father is white; her mother is Black), trust, divorce, and social justice are interwoven in perfect balance to create a satisfying ending in this honest coming-of-age story."