This Side of Home

This Side of Home

Book - 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.
Publisher: New York : Bloomsbury, 2015
ISBN: 9781599906683
Characteristics: 326 pages ; 21 cm


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RandomLibrarian Jul 08, 2020

This book tackles a topic that I've not seen in YA fiction before: gentrification and how it affects the people of color who were living in the area already. I find this is really relevant to San Antonio, as many areas (Broadway/near the Pearl/the East side near downtown/Southtown/etc) are being impacted by gentrification. There was also discussion about interracial relationships and how to be an ally to people of color. Highly recommended to everyone to read when considering "revitalizing" areas that historically have been populated by lower-income people of color.

Tigard_LisaE Nov 02, 2019

Twins Maya and Nikki live in a rapidly gentrifying black neighborhood in Portland. Activist Maya is saddened to see her culture erased and misrepresented, and she's disappointing to see Nikki's priorities change as well. When their best friend is forced to move out of the house across the street and a white family move in, Maya doesn't want anything to do with them. However, when an attraction grows between she and Tony, she deals with conflicting feelings about falling for a white guy, and worries what others will think of her. In the meantime, her new school principal has undermined her authority as class president in an effort to promote white-washed "diversity" at Richmond high. As he strips away at their school traditions, Maya teams up with a crew of like-minded teens to subversively set their own more woke agenda. Watson's spare, straight-forward writing style often reads like poetry, with words that strike directly to the heart, and it sometimes reads like simple, moment to moment accounting that can be a bit dull and didactic. There's interesting information here about black history in Portland, but it's presented by a character whose sole purpose is expositional. Overall, this was an enjoyable read and a realistic slice of the complexity of life.

Mar 29, 2018

This was a very enjoyable read. It does talk about important and complex topics but its all very relatable especially for people of color. I finished it within a day. I thought the characters were believable and interesting. I also enjoyed the history and all the portland related topics. I think this would be very impactful for teens and young adults!

Dec 11, 2017

I'm glad this exists. So important to have these conversations with our youth and ourselves ongoing.

Feb 12, 2016

This is a great book about love, school, race, and gentrification that takes place in North East portland. Unlike so many other YA books, there was more to the plot than a love story, which was a relief. I have only two minor complaints about it. One, that she talks about her best friend Essence for the whole book but then forgets about her for a while, which seemed odd. The other is just a little geography thing— at one point they head north on marine drive, which just isn't possible. Besides that, it was a wonderful book.

Nov 27, 2015

North Portland gets to be a character in this tale of building and fighting for your community. Maya is aware of the gentrification that is destroying her neighborhood, even as her twin sister is excited by the opportunity. Poetic prose, likeable characters, and a very tame romance between Maya and her new white neighbor make this a book that's not only enjoyable but accessible.


Good read - JH


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