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This Side of Home
Cover of This Side of Home
This Side of Home
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From New York Times bestselling, Newbery Honor and Coretta Scott King Author Award-winning author Renée Watson comes a captivating and poignant coming-of-age urban novel about sisters, friends, and what it means to embrace change.
Maya Younger and her identical twin sister, Nikki, have always agreed on the important things. Friends. Boys. School. They even plan to attend the same historically African American college.
But nothing can always remain the same.
As their Portland neighborhood goes from rough-and-tumble to up-and-coming, Maya feels her connection to Nikki and their community slipping away. Nikki spends more time at trendy coffee shops than backyard barbecues, and their new high school principal is more committed to erasing the neighborhood's "ghetto" reputation than honoring its history. Home doesn't feel like home anymore. As Maya struggles to hold on to her black heritage, she begins to wonder with whom—or where—she belongs. Does growing up have to mean growing apart?
From New York Times bestselling, Newbery Honor and Coretta Scott King Author Award-winning author Renée Watson comes a captivating and poignant coming-of-age urban novel about sisters, friends, and what it means to embrace change.
Maya Younger and her identical twin sister, Nikki, have always agreed on the important things. Friends. Boys. School. They even plan to attend the same historically African American college.
But nothing can always remain the same.
As their Portland neighborhood goes from rough-and-tumble to up-and-coming, Maya feels her connection to Nikki and their community slipping away. Nikki spends more time at trendy coffee shops than backyard barbecues, and their new high school principal is more committed to erasing the neighborhood's "ghetto" reputation than honoring its history. Home doesn't feel like home anymore. As Maya struggles to hold on to her black heritage, she begins to wonder with whom—or where—she belongs. Does growing up have to mean growing apart?
Available formats-
  • OverDrive Read
Languages:-
Copies-
  • Available:
    1
  • Library copies:
    1
Levels-
  • ATOS:
    4.4
  • Lexile:
  • Interest Level:
    UG
  • Text Difficulty:
    3

Recommended for you

About the Author-
  • Renée Watson is the New York Times bestselling, Newbery Honor Book, and Coretta Scott King Award-winning author of Piecing Me Together, This Side of Home, What Momma Left Me, and Betty Before X, co-written with Ilyasah Shabazz, as well as two acclaimed picture books: A Place Where Hurricanes Happen and Harlem's Little Blackbird, which was nominated for an NAACP Image Award. She is the founder of I, Too, Arts Collective, a nonprofit committed to nurturing underrepresented voices in the creative arts, and currently lives in New York City.
    www.reneewatson.net; @reneewauthor
Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    December 15, 2014
    As twins Maya and Nikki finish their junior year of high school, they have things planned out: summer, senior year, then attending Spelman College along with their best friend and neighbor Essence. But things are changing. The twins’ historically black Portland neighborhood is gentrifying; Essence moves out, and a white family with a friendly daughter and an attractive son move in; and the new principal seems to think improvement means making the school less black. Watson (What Momma Left Me) 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. Alas, the welter of issues and events means readers never get close enough to narrator Maya to really know her. Nikki is even less distinct, and the twins often seem like a set of paired opposites (one girl likes the new stores in their neighborhood, the other is suspicious of them, etc.), as opposed to fully realized characters. What results is a story that reads more as well-intentioned than entirely satisfying. Ages 13–up.

  • Kirkus

    December 1, 2014
    The summer before Maya and Nikki's senior year of high school brings new challenges as their previously all-black neighborhood becomes attractive to other ethnic groups. The twins, while still close, have been changing in recent years and now find they have very different views about the changes. Nikki is delighted with improvements in their surroundings, but Maya is concerned they come at too steep a price. When their best friend's family is displaced, the rift deepens: Maya wants to maintain their connection to Essence, while Nikki has become close to newcomer Kate. Nikki may even be abandoning their long-held plan to attend Spelman College together. Their new principal appears willing to sacrifice many of the traditions the African-American students hold dear. And though Maya and Devin are a long-established couple, Maya finds herself drawn to Kate's brother, Tony, despite her misgivings about interracial dating. Eventually, the students find a way to reach across the divides and honor the community's past while embracing its changing present. Maya's straightforward narration offers an intriguing look at how families and young people cope with community and personal change. Maya and her friends are well-drawn, successful characters surrounded by a realistic adult supporting cast. Readers may be surprised 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. (Fiction. 12-16)

    COPYRIGHT(2014) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • School Library Journal

    December 1, 2014

    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

    Copyright 2014 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Kirkus Reviews 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.
  • School Library Journal Watson delivers a well-rounded, delicate, and important story without sacrificing any heart. An engrossing and timely coming-of-age story.
  • Library Media Connection 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.
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  • Publisher
    Bloomsbury Publishing
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This Side of Home
This Side of Home
Renée Watson
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