A Good Neighborhood
In Oak Knoll, a verdant, tight-knit North Carolina neighborhood, professor of forestry and ecology Valerie Alston-Holt is raising her bright and talented biracial son, Xavier, who’s headed to college in the fall. All is well until the Whitmans―a family with new money and a secretly troubled teenage daughter―raze the house and trees next door to build themselves a showplace.
“This moving story, expertly narrated by Adenrele Ojo, is told from the points of view of several main characters, and intermittently by omnipotent unnamed neighbors, after a new family moves into a “good” North Carolina neighborhood. Conflicts arise over the health of an ailing oak tree and a budding romance between two star-crossed teens. Although the story contains alleged and real crimes, and there are perpetrators and victims, it’s the lines between miscommunication and outright lies, latent and blatant racism, bad decisions and criminal acts, and hope and futility that drive the plot. The message for all of us good people: we all can and MUST do better. A Good Neighborhood will appeal to older teens and adults interested in contemporary issues with a twist of a Shakespearian tragedy.”Becky, Rediscovered Books
“Actions have consequences and we don’t always like the result but getting there is quite the trip. Powerfully moving story that is well told by a great narrator.”Mollie, HearthFire Books and Treats
“The Good Neighborhood proves that nothing should be black and white, but unfortunately, too much of the world still can be. Part of me feels like calling book a modern, suburban version of Romeo & Juliet over-simplifies and even cheapens this story, but that's my immediate reaction to it. This is a tragedy, let's get that clear, at least. Class, race, pride, love, family dynamics, and more are at play in A Good Neighborhood, and it only gets more and more intense as one reads. While I do think this started off a bit slowly, every moment, however useless it might seem at first, fits into place in the end. This is a masterful book that asks many of the questions being asked about race and class issues in the United States today, but in a new and surprising way. Furthermore, despite my comparison to Romeo & Juliet, while there are similarities between Shakespeare's story and Fowler's, there are plenty of surprises. Almost nothing went the way I thought it would, which is usually something I love about the books I deem best.You will want to scream and cry and shout at these characters. This is a painful read, mostly because it could very well happen tomorrow. Don't let it: Listen. To. This. Book. The Good Neighborhood will stay with you.”Jackie, Anderson's Bookshop
“Great option for those looking to examine the blend between liberal thoughts in theory and thoughts in reality. What do you believe in theory and what do you find when it's actually who your son or daughter is dating. When it's something in your life -- do you care about the environment in theory or when it's a tree in your backyard. Good, easy read with some lovely characters.”Gretchen, Little Joe's Coffee and Books
“Therese Anne Fowler’s new novel will have you examining the actions and motivations of everyone you know. Her exquisite storytelling and character development deliver an unforgettable and unpredictable story that touches on many contemporary issues, including race, wealth, control, and status. Be sure to leave yourself some time for this one — once you hit the tipping point, you won’t put it down until you finish.”Kari Erpenbach, University Of Minnesota Bookstores
With little in common except a property line, these two families quickly find themselves at odds: first, over an historic oak tree in Valerie's yard, and soon after, the blossoming romance between their two teenagers. A Good Neighborhood asks big questions about life in America today―what does it mean to be a good neighbor? How do we live alongside each other when we don't see eye to eye?―as it explores the effects of class, race, and heartrending love in a story that’s as provocative as it is powerful.
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