My debut novel is now available for preorder wherever books are sold!
In North America:
Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Bookshop / Your Local Indie
In Australia, New Zealand, and Oceania:
Penguin Random House Australia / Amazon AU / Booktopia AU / Readings / Abbeys / Kinokuniya
United Kingdom and other Commonwealth countries coming soon!
“Florida kitsch swirls together with magical realism in this glittering debut novel about a young Black and Indigenous woman who learns to change the color of her skin
Gabrielle has always had a complicated relationship with her mother Tallulah, one marked by
intimacy and resilience in the face of a volatile patriarch. Everything in their home has been
bleached a cold white—from the kitchen cabinets and the food within to the living room and the
piano at its center. Even Gabrielle, who inherited the ability to change the color of her skin from
her mother Tallulah, is told to pass into white if she doesn’t want to upset her father.
But this vital mother-daughter bond implodes when Tallulah is hospitalized for a mental health
crisis. Separated from her mother for the first time in her life, Gabrielle must learn to control the
temperamental shifts in her color on her own.
Meanwhile, Gabrielle is spending a year after high school focusing on her piano lessons, an
extracurricular her father is sure will make her a more appealing candidate for med school. Her
instructor, a queer, dark-skinned woman named Dominique, seems to encapsulate everything
Gabrielle is missing in her life—creativity, confidence, and perhaps most importantly, a
nurturing sense of love. Together, they plan to get Gabrielle away from her chaotic household by
applying to music schools far away.
Following a young woman looking for a world beyond her family’s carefully-coded existence,
Notes on Her Color is a lushly written and haunting tale that shows how love, in its best sense,
can be a liberating force from destructive origins.”
Advance Praise for Notes on Her Color:
“Gosh, what a wonder this book is. It’s about race, yes of course. But it’s about so much more as well. It’s a tale of mothers and daughters, of Florida hurricanes and the madness of music. It’s about code switching in ways that you’ve never considered, and about what it means to be of a place and of a people. Jennifer Neal has written a book drenched in hurt and magic, love and grief. Read it twice, because a book like this comes along rarely.” SAMI SHAH, author of The Islamic Republic of Australia
“Remember how the half-hidden rides at amusement parks seemed riskier than the out-in-the-open, sky-high roller coasters? Because you’d hear a scream get swallowed up behind the façade of a mountain range and not know what was going to come next. Reading Jennifer Neal’s impressive debut, Notes on Her Color, a magical journey about music and race and queerness and passing and mothers and daughters, reminds me of those mysterious, thrill rides. While the twists and turns hide around the bend, you are also keenly aware that you’re being navigated safely, regardless of the illusion of danger. Then when you get dumped into the daylight, hair all mussed from the swerves, the first thing you want to do is to turn to your fellow passengers and recap every moment. Read this book. Come find me and we can bond over our shared joy. Weep over what we thought we feared.” GENE KWAK, author of Go Home, Ricky!
“This is a coming of age story with a difference. With a generous helping of magical realism and the assured tenderness of a born storyteller, Jennifer Neal lays bare the brutality of how intergenerational trauma and racism conspire to teach us to hate ourselves.” RUBY HAMAD, author of White Tears, Brown Scars
An ode to the artistic and individual truth and an unflinching examination of soft-spoken suburban bigotry; it’s a crescendo of Florida hurricanes, first love, and the undeniability of becoming yourself. The remarkable protagonist of Notes on Her Colour practices Chopin’s second piano scherzo, a piece described by Schumann as ‘so overflowing with tenderness, boldness, love, and contempt.’ The same is all true of Jennifer Neal’s lyrical and urgent debut.” REBECCA RUKEYSER, author of The Seaplane on Final Approach
“Spellbinding and original, Notes on Her Colour marks the arrival of a significant new voice in contemporary literature. Through the story of Gabrielle, a young woman seeking to transcend the ‘orchestral catastrophe’ of her home life, Jennifer Neal has crafted a vivid and powerful meditation on mothers and daughters, houses haunted by the living, and the redemptive power of love and music.” TOM DRURY, author of The End of Vandalism
“This novel sparkles with rich, lyrical, sensuous prose. It portrays dysfunctional family relationships, cleverly revealing their complexity and contradictions as the story unfolds. It is moving and desperately sad at times, yet not without hope. An original novel that will stay with me long after reading.” JACQUELINE ROY, author of The Gosling Girl and The Fat Lady Sings