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Ratings and Book Reviews (4 13 star ratings
4 reviews

Overall rating

4.6 out of 5
5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star
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  • 3 person found this review helpful

    3 people found this review helpful

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    Fantastic read!

    This is a brilliantly written book that was a real page turner for me. Valerie Alston-Holt is a well-educated, professional, black widowed female raising her biracial son, Xavier, in Oak Knoll, NC. "Zay" is a top student and accomplished musician who is set to leave for college in a few months on a scholarship. Their neighborhood is an older one with huge trees and older homes. Recently, people have been buying up homes, clearing the trees and building mini-mansions. One mini-mansion was built behind the Alston-Holts after the land had been cleared of all the trees and, in the process, Valerie's very large, very old oak tree has started to show signs of dying. Brad and Julia Whitman move in to the new home with Julia's daughter from a previous relationship, Juniper and their younger daughter Lily. Zay notices 17-year-old Juniper right away and takes a liking to her and the feeling is mutual. Everything that happens in this book has most likely happened, or could happen, in any neighborhood in any city anywhere. This book is so good and is to right on mark about life in suburbia. Thank you NetGalley and St. Martin's Press for the ARC of this fabulous book in exchange for an honest review. I highly recommend this book to anyone who likes a really good all around book about life in general and neighbors.
  • 2 person found this review helpful

    2 people found this review helpful

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    Powerful and emotional!

    A Good Neighborhood brings home issues that affect us all: entitlement, gentrification, racism, rape, bullying and concern for the environment. Terese Anne Fowler accomplishes this seamlessly by telling a simple, devastating story. Buck Whitman, a self made HVAC salesman, builds his McMansion in Oak Knoll, a small town with a diverse group of residents. He moves in with his wife Julia, teenage stepdaughter Juniper and daughter Lily. Valerie Alston-Holt, a professor at the local college and widow with Xavier, her biracial, musically gifted high school senior son, is his neighbor. I’m stopping here with the plot to avoid spoilers. I am not going to say you won’t have an idea where this novel is heading. You will. But as you read, you’ll be trying to stop it, to turn it around. I am sure The Good Neighborhood will certainly be one of the best books of this year. It broke my heart. 5 stars. Thank you, thank you to NetGalley, St. Martin’s Press and Terese Anne Fowler for this ARC.
  • 0 person found this review helpful

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    A very tragic story

    "A Good Neighborhood" tells a very disturbing story. Valerie, a black professor and widow of a white man, lives with her teenaged biracial son Xavier in North Carolina. When Julia and Brad and daughters Juniper and Lily build a large home next door tension begin concerning Brad and their builder's lack of attention to the ecology. Seventeen year old Juniper and eighteen year old Xavier are attracted to each other and begin a relationship. Brad, who is actually Juniper's stepfather, is controlling and harbours inappropriate thoughts about Juniper. Juniper and Xavier's relationship, Brad's manipulative behavior, and underlying racism lead sadly to very tragic consequences. Personally I became more and more angry as I read this book. In parts of the USA today racism has reared its ugly head, and this story mirrors such experiences. A good read but a very disturbing one.
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    Highlights a massive social injustice

    It's never easy to review a book that had good intentions; a book that set out to cast a huge spotlight on a still largely ignored social injustice. Fowler attempted that with A Good Neighborhood, and while her writing was purposeful, it lacked so much of what was needed for such a heavy topic. The Whitman family has recently moved into their rebuilt home in the sprawling and coveted neighborhood of Oak Knoll, North Carolina, much to the annoyance and frustration of next-door neighbor, and professor of ecology, Valerie Alston-Holt, but to the extreme pleasure of her 18-year-old son, Xavier. Pleasure because the Whitman family includes 18-year-old Juniper, who Xavier immediately falls for. As their romance blooms innocently in the background, the forefront is filled with the legal clashing of Valerie and Brad Whitman, after Valerie opens a civil case against Brad for the destruction of some beloved greenery in her backyard. Disturbing secrets are leaked and relationships are tested in this narrative that strives to go beyond surface-level issues, and straight into those that are begging for more awareness. The author took the time to add a disclaimer at the start of the book, letting her readers know that she, a white woman, would be writing about black characters within, and assured us that she took the appropriate measures to ensure accuracy regarding their experiences. I appreciated her efforts, but I sadly found that she missed the mark with this novel. The writing was great, and her message, an extremely important one. Overall, I just felt like she lacked realistic emotion and subtleties during moments, and dialogue, where her black characters were suffering the most unspeakable injustices. It was a quick and addictive read nonetheless, I just wish more care was taken with the subject matter and those involved.

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