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This Side of Home Hardcover – February 3, 2015

4.5 out of 5 stars 105 ratings

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 9 Up—Maya is heading into her senior year at Richmond High, but it's nothing like she'd thought it would be. Her Portland neighborhood is changing—along with her twin sister Nikki, her relationship with her boyfriend Tevin, and Maya's plans with Nikki and their BFF Essence to attend the same historically black college. Rent goes up, forcing Essence and her family to move further away from the twins. Tony and his family move in. Maya and Nikki deal with their changing "up-and-coming neighborhood" in different ways as they're forced to blend their ethnic and cultural identities and traditions with a changing community. Watson offers readers a personal account of what gentrification does to a neighborhood and those who live in it before the Whole Foods moves in. Maya has a fantastic voice—honest, passionate, and multidimensional. On top of all the "normal" teenage issues dealing with friends, romance, and the future, Maya has to deal with the changes her neighborhood is going through. She's compelled to act to make sure the original people, stores, and history don't disappear so quickly. Gentrification can be extremely difficult to discuss, but Watson delivers a well-rounded, delicate, and important story without sacrificing any heart. An engrossing and timely coming-of-age story.—Emily Moore, Camden County Library System, NJ

Review

“Writing with the artfulness and insights of African American teen-lit pioneers Rita Williams-Garcia, Angela Johnson, and Jacqueline Woodson, Watson shows Maya exploring concerns rarely made this accessible . . . essential for all collections.” ―starred review, Booklist

“Watson paints a thoughtful, powerful picture of the complications of contemporary African- American experience, especially when it rubs up against the hipster middle class. . . . Without ever losing focus on the story of a group of likable teens working through changes during their senior year, Watson effectively manages character and situation to create a genuinely interrogative, genuinely multi-voiced perspective that reflects efforts to negotiate personal identity and desires amid unresolved problems of systemic racial injustice.” ―starred review, BCCB

“An intriguing look at how families and young people cope with community and personal change. Readers may be surpised to find this multicultural story set in Portland, Oregon, but that just adds to its distinctive appeal. Here's hoping Watson's teen debut will be followed by many more.” ―Kirkus Reviews

“Watson delivers a well-rounded, delicate, and important story without sacrificing any heart. An engrossing and timely coming-of-age story.” ―School Library Journal

“Watson hits key topics of class, race, and changing neighborhoods while telling a story about growing up, growing apart, and how love can come out of the blue, as well as across racial lines.” ―Publishers Weekly

“Watson's first book for young adults will impact the life of anyone who reads it. . . . at a time when there is a call for more diverse books, Watson brings to today's teens a story that needs to be read.” ―VOYA

“A wonderful book that deals with racial stereotypes and is thoughtful, well-written, and timely.” ―Library Media Connection

“In This Side of Home, Renée Watson's loving, descriptive powers are in full force. She's sharing a vibrant world so well, friends who make us care, crackling true voices and legacies, interweave of troubles, knowing a place, wanting it never to change except in good ways, holding on to friends, doorways, porches, rooms and rhythms, don't go, don't go, the tiny rich glories making it home. 'Sometimes you have to rewrite your own history,' she says, then she lets her people do it, reshaping . . . 'A cleansing is taking place' and it's the world we live in and she gives it back to us so we understand the mystery a little better even if we can't solve it, even if nothing is ever quite fair. There's more there, and she finds it.” ―Naomi Shihab Nye, author of HABIBI


Product details

  • Grade Level : 7 - 9
  • Item Weight : 12.8 ounces
  • Hardcover : 336 pages
  • ISBN-10 : 1599906686
  • ISBN-13 : 978-1599906683
  • Product Dimensions : 5.38 x 1.12 x 7.94 inches
  • Publisher : Bloomsbury USA Childrens (February 3, 2015)
  • Reading level : 13 and up
  • Language: : English
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.5 out of 5 stars 105 ratings
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