There you Are book cover, brown background, cover in progress

There You Are

By Mathea Morais

Release Date: 10/22/2019

ISBN: 9781948705585 | eBook ISBN: 9781948705592

A Love story pressed to vinyl

Growing up in the '80s and '90s in St. Louis, Octavian Munroe and Mina Rose found a future in music. Between the stacks at Rahsaan's Records, the two fell in love to the sounds of Prince and A Tribe Called Quest. But in the wake of grief and heartbreak, they drifted apart, ultimately leaving the city for fresh starts.

Decades later, Rahsaan's Records is closing for good. Seeking closure of their own, Octavian and Mina travel homeward, reckoning with the ghosts of the past they left behind and the uncertain future they must create.

Insightful and nostalgic, There You Are is a novel of love, loss, and the power of community, powered by a phenomenal soundtrack of hip hop, soul, and jazz.

Mathea Morais is a really gifted writer. It is a special joy for those of us who are fortunate enough to have read her coming-of-age, personal and intimate story of a time in St. Louis circling the death of Michael Brown.
— Harry Belafonte, activist, actor, singer, and author
Two St. Louis residents, united by music and a local record store, fall in love in Morais’ nostalgic debut novel.
Although it opens in 2014, most of this story unfolds during the 1980s and ’90s as it follows Octavian Munroe and Mina Rose during their childhood and teenage years. Octavian, the African American son of a professor and a poet, comes from a more stable household, although the death of his mother from cancer and his brother Francis’ issues with drug dependency cause complications. Mina, the daughter of an attorney who’s as eccentric as she is formidable, has a less stable home life, but she has the unquestionable advantage of being white in a city that’s rife with race-related issues. Octavian and Mina’s first meeting is in the fifth grade; later, they bond with friends at Rahsaan’s Records, where they later work, and they form a friendship that not even the tidal forces of their lives can tear apart.

Morais conjures a very specific milieu—urban St. Louis in the 1980s and ’90s—in a way that makes it feel lived-in, and she populates the setting with a panoply of rich characters who express themselves with varying degrees of forthrightness. Although readers of the main characters’ generation may relate to the novel more than others due to its many specific cultural references, Morais gives it universality as well as specificity—particularly in her depiction of Octavian and Mina’s believable, multidimensional relationship. They talk, argue, reconcile, and razz friends in language that’s heightened but never strained or unrealistic. Readers who have a low tolerance for nostalgia may want to look elsewhere, but for readers who enjoy a story of the robustness and fragility of love, Morais’ work is a must-read.

A novel that effectively intertwines ruminations on race, music, romance, and history.
— KIRKUS REVIEW (Starred Review)
Morais Mathea Author Photo.jpg

About Mathea Morais

Mathea Morais grew up in St. Louis and earned a degree in Literature from NYU. She began her career writing about hip hop culture and music for The Source and Trace Urban Magazine. Her work has gone on to appear in The New Engagement, Slush Pile Magazine, Arts & Ideas, and Anti-Heroin Chic. She is the Director of the Noepe Center for Literary Arts on Martha's Vineyard and has taught creative writing to children and young adults for over fifteen years. She lives with her husband, her three daughters, and a beloved dog.