Cole Lavalais Summer of the Cicadas is an intersectional look at black college life

"With each issue, Lavalais slightly amplifies the need for more awareness and action around these issues at HBCUs — whether it be high risks of suicide, disproportionate rates of sexual assault or narrow-minded views about gender and sexuality. That Lavalais centers this story on a black college — without what Toni Morrison refers to as the "white gaze" — is one of the novel's greatest strengths." - Erin E. Evans,  .MIC

A Chicago Woman Heads South To Find herself in Summer of the Cicadas

"In Summer of the Cicadas, Lavalais lays bare the primordial need for all of us to fully recognize our legacies. Thanks to evocative prose, colorful characters and a young woman’s earnest desire, readers will feel compelled to discover whether Vi’s yearning, writ large by the “question mark” scar on her chest, will meet fulfillment." - Tacuma Roeback, Chicago Review of Books

Summer of the Cicadas and My Return to Black women's words

"...Summer of the Cicadas is very black, the kind of black that reminds one of black aunties, black mothers, black women that you’ve passed on the street or shared an office with, black women that you’ve known and loved–and maybe even lost, because these types of people are reflected so beautifully in the work." - Troy L. Wiggins, Book Riot

"The novel highlights the multitudes of blackness, and is a stunning debut. I can’t wait to see what Lavalais writes next." — Diamond Sharp, Rookie

Books by black authors to look forward to in 2016

"Cole Lavalais pens a tale of love, redemption and self-discovery on the campus of a historically black college." — Hope Wabuke, The Root

17 Books by black women you need in your life this spring

"Summer of the Cicadas, Cole Lavalais’ debut novel, is an evocative story about the pursuit of home and healing." — Deesha Philyaw, Hello Beautiful

Summer of the Cicadas introduces us to Viola Moon as she enters a collegiate world that’s both alluring and strange.  Vi carries each new moment inward to a searching, traveling mind where unmapped feelings seek space among her memories of home. Cole Lavalais is a shaper of voices, delivering a wonderful debut rendered with compassion, sharpness, and light.  — Ravi Howard, author of Driving the King

Summer of the Cicadas is a gorgeous, tough meditation on Black inheritance. Viola Moon is both running from and searching for home, finding legacy to be wound and salve, sustenance and burden, misdirection and intuition. Cole Lavalais brings Viola’s journey to us with her gift for language that is at once sharp and soothing, asking from the very first page that we not look away from what hurts, and that we not stop asking what might heal it.   — Danielle Evans, author of Before You Suffocate Your Own Fool Self

Summer of the Cicadas is the gothic tale of Viola Moon, an emotionally fragile young woman struggling to free herself from the textured and twisted hauntings of memory, family, and history. In telling Vi’s story, author Cole Lavalais offers keen insight into experiences that are by turns hilarious and heartbreaking. Indeed, Lavalais pushes her narrative into a raw, psychic space that is rarely depicted on the page, a singular achievement in contemporary American letters. — Jeffery Renard Allen, author of the novel's Song of the Shank and Rails Under My Back