Summer of the Cicadas
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More About This Title Summer of the Cicadas


After attempting the unthinkable the summer before, a fragile Viola Moon escapes south to a small black college, determined to leave her summer stay at a mental health center behind. But once Vi is uncomfortably situated on A&M's campus, a family mystery begins to erupt in unlikely ways, and the mental stability she imagined begins to dissipate. Vi becomes convinced the only way to fully regain her sanity is to pursue a relationship with Perry, the only son of a black southern elite family, who is just as precariously positioned in his own ancestral angst. Vi's struggle to find her place at A&M and alongside Perry leads to an obsessive search for the father she can neither clearly remember nor completely forget.


Cole Lavalais has been awarded writer residencies at the Vermont Studio Center and The Noepe Center for the Literary Arts. She is a fellow of the Kimbilio Center for Black Fiction, VONA, and the Callaloo Writing workshops.

She holds an M.F.A. from Chicago State University and a Ph. D. from University of Illinois at Chicago. She has taught writing for over ten years and currently teaches a community-based writing workshop on the south side of Chicago where Cole also hosts Colored People's Time, a bimonthly literary salon featuring fiction writers of color.


"Summer of the Cicadas introduces us to Viola Moon as she enters a collegiate world that's both alluring and strange. Cole Lavalais is a shaper of voices, delivering a wonderful debut rendered with compassion, sharpness, and light."--Ravi Howard, Driving the King

"An evocative story about the pursuit of home and healing."