Google+ Reading Teen: THIS SIDE OF HOME by Renee Watson

Saturday, February 7, 2015

THIS SIDE OF HOME by Renee Watson

Review by Valerie

by Renee Watson
Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens (February 3, 2015)
Language: English
Goodreads | Amazon

Identical twins Nikki and Maya have been on the same page for everything-friends, school, boys and starting off their adult lives at a historically African-American college. But as their neighborhood goes from rough-and-tumble to up-and-coming, suddenly filled with pretty coffee shops and boutiques, Nikki is thrilled while Maya feels like their home is slipping away. Suddenly, the sisters who had always shared everything must confront their dissenting feelings on the importance of their ethnic and cultural identities and, in the process, learn to separate themselves from the long shadow of their identity as twins.
This story hit me hard from the very beginning because of how open and honest it was; Maya has lived in a rough part of Portland her whole life but now it is becoming swanky and upscale which is hard for her to deal with. It was interesting to see her point of view on how things were evolving because she is a fiercely strong character who takes pride in her roots; she’s stubborn and closed off to any kind of change, even if it was for the better, which makes the current situation hard to deal with. Honestly, this book was a bit of a conundrum for me, it was a quick read but yet really hard to get through; Maya’s view on the world hit me in the feels, it was honest but she also had a lot of flawed views. Following her on her journey was really insightful and I’m glad that I got the chance to read this book.

Maya has so much pride in her heritage and her history that she fights for people to see the good of her school and of her race but she yet she has a hard time finding beauty in the lives of the people who are joining her community. She struggles with not wanting to disregard the hardships and successes of her race which actually made the story compelling, I enjoyed her journey. The other characters, including Tony, a white boy who moves into the neighborhood, are all really great in their interactions with Maya and I loved seeing how they influenced her.

The ending was rushed, what I was expecting to take one hundred plus pages only took like thirty with even more things happening that needed EVEN MORE pages to fully resolve but that’s my only complaint.

It’s a choppy book which I didn’t mind but I could understand if someone didn’t really like that.

Overall, I really enjoyed it because it was a great diversity book that had some really great lessons.

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