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This Side of Home by Renee Watson

This Side of Home

by Renee Watson

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Really enjoyed Maya's (who is strong and intelligent from the beginning) point of view and watching her outlook expand as her neighbourhood gentrifies for better and for worse. A lot of food for thought here.
  chronic | Mar 23, 2017 |
City gentrification as told by Maya, an African American high schooler, when her old hood becomes upscale. Written with credibility by a black woman. I want Lindsey to read it. ( )
  LivelyLady | Oct 28, 2016 |
This book takes on so many issues - school inequities, gentrifications of neighborhoods, the difficulties of trying to grow up in a dysfunctional family, the pressures of other people's expectations, friendship vs. love, inter-racial relationships and even a principal who is not above skirting the rules to further his agenda for the school. There was so much here that it wasn't possible to do justice to everything. So, in the end, none gets explored in any depth.

For example, we hear a couple of times how black residents of the neighborhood (and nationally) can't get loans to start businesses, but white outsiders are able to and come set up in the historically black neighborhood. There's a passing mention that now there are stores and restaurants available where there weren't any before, and the neighborhood is safer. One twin focuses on the new options available to her while the other boycotts the new stores because they're owned by whites she sees as encroaching on opportunities that should have been there for local residents. So there are two completely opposite reactions with no real nuance. Yes, teens tend to see things in black and white, so it's an appropriate reaction for these girls, but it leaves the reader without a good sense of the complexities of the issue.

Don't get me wrong. It's a good book and worth reading. The characters are likable and the story is believable. But it takes on too many issues and doesn't do justice to any of them. ( )
  AngelaCinVA | Mar 27, 2015 |
When Nikki and Maya's neighborhood changes and becomes more up-scale, Nikki is excited while Maya tries to cling to the past. Their best friend moves away and a white couple move into the house. Overall, I thought this was an interesting read. I would have liked to read both twins point-of-view, but otherwise I thought it was well done. I think teenage girls will enjoy this book and relate well to the characters. ( )
  JanaRose1 | Feb 19, 2015 |
THIS SIDE OF HOME by Renée Watson is an inspiring YA novel following a young woman facing the timely issues of racial, ethnic, cultural, and community identify.

Her neighborhood is changing and Maya is concerned about the impact this evolution will have on her school and community. The Portland, Oregon setting is perfect for a discussion of changing neighbors and reflects the urban renewal pressures facing many American cities.

Watson brings the difficult topics of race and community alive through authentic, teen characters. The book is successful as both a coming-of-age story as well as an examination of larger, contemporary issues.

Watson’s debut YA novel deserves to be considered for the Coretta Scott King Book Award. However, this isn’t a “black” book or “white” book, it’s an powerful work about changing America. Librarians will welcome this emerging author with a strong multicultural voice.

For librarians participating in We Need Diverse Books campaign events at http://weneeddiversebooks.org/, I strongly recommend adding this work to your list.

To learn more about Renée Watson, go to http://www.reneewatson.net.

Published by Bloomsbury February 3, 2015. Publisher ARC used for review. ( )
  eduscapes | Feb 10, 2015 |
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Twins Nikki and Maya Younger always agreed on most things, but as they head into their senior year they react differently to the gentrification of their Portland, Oregon, neighborhood and the new--white--family that moves in after their best friend and her mother are evicted.… (more)

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