Does growing up have to mean growing apart?
Identical twins Maya and Nikki have always agreed on the important things—their friends, the right boys, their plans for college and the future. But before senior year begins, too many things are changing. Their neighborhood is starting to get nice—and not really in a way Maya enjoys. With houses turning into trendy coffee shops and restaurants, and neighbors, including their best friend, Essence, being pushed out, Maya’s neighborhood is becoming unrecognizable. And when a new—white—family buys the house Essence’s mom rented, Nikki suddenly has a new best friend and Maya has a new admirer, someone she’s not sure she should like. And then there’s their principal, intent on prioritizing the comfort of white students at the expense of the school’s largely Black identity. What’s worse, no one seems to be as alarmed by these changes as Maya is—not even Nikki. As Maya struggles to hold on, she begins to wonder where—and with whom—she belongs.
From Newbery Honor and Coretta Scott King Award-winning author Renée Watson comes a poignant novel about love for home and for ourselves, embracing change, and what it means to grow up.
About the Author
Renée Watson is a New York Times bestselling author. Her novel, Piecing Me Together, received a Newbery Honor and Coretta Scott King Award. Her books include Some Places More Than Others, This Side of Home, What Momma Left Me, Betty Before X, cowritten with Ilyasah Shabazz, and Watch Us Rise, cowritten with Ellen Hagan, 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. Renée lives in New York City.
“Writing with the artfulness and insights of African American teen-lit pioneers Rita Williams-Garcia, Angela Johnson, and Jacqueline Woodson, Watson shows Maya exploring concerns rarely made this accessible . . . essential for all collections.” —starred review, Booklist
“Watson paints a thoughtful, powerful picture of the complications of contemporary African- American experience, especially when it rubs up against the hipster middle class. . . . Without ever losing focus on the story of a group of likable teens working through changes during their senior year, Watson effectively manages character and situation to create a genuinely interrogative, genuinely multi-voiced perspective that reflects efforts to negotiate personal identity and desires amid unresolved problems of systemic racial injustice.” —starred review, BCCB
“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.” —Kirkus Reviews
“Watson delivers a well-rounded, delicate, and important story without sacrificing any heart. An engrossing and timely coming-of-age story.” —School Library Journal
“Watson 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.” —Publishers Weekly
“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.” —VOYA
“A wonderful book that deals with racial stereotypes and is thoughtful, well-written, and timely.” —Library Media Connection
“In This Side of Home, Renée Watson's loving, descriptive powers are in full force. She's sharing a vibrant world so well, friends who make us care, crackling true voices and legacies, interweave of troubles, knowing a place, wanting it never to change except in good ways, holding on to friends, doorways, porches, rooms and rhythms, don't go, don't go, the tiny rich glories making it home. 'Sometimes you have to rewrite your own history,' she says, then she lets her people do it, reshaping . . . 'A cleansing is taking place' and it's the world we live in and she gives it back to us so we understand the mystery a little better even if we can't solve it, even if nothing is ever quite fair. There's more there, and she finds it.” —Naomi Shihab Nye, author of HABIBI