From New York Times bestselling, Newbery Honor and Coretta Scott King Author Award-winning author Ren e Watson comes a captivating and poignant coming-of-age urban novel about sisters, friends, and what it means to embrace change.Read more...
From New York Times bestselling, Newbery Honor and Coretta Scott King Author Award-winning author Ren e 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?
- ISBN-13: 9781599906683
- ISBN-10: 1599906686
- Publisher: Bloomsbury U.S.A. Children's Books
- Publish Date: February 2015
- Page Count: 336
- Reading Level: Ages 13-UP
- Dimensions: 8 x 5.5 x 1.1 inches
- Shipping Weight: 0.8 pounds
Three friends take on the changing world around them
African-American twins Maya and Nikki and their neighbor Essence have always had their lives completely planned. They’ll date the right boys, attend historically black all-female Spelman College and be best friends forever.
But as their senior year starts, their surety gets shaky. Nikki appreciates the freshness and variety that gentrification has brought to their neighborhood, but Maya resents the lack of local black-owned businesses. Essence and her perpetually drunk mother move across town, and a wealthy white family—including a cute boy and his racially ignorant sister—move in. As student council president, Maya finds herself constantly at odds with the new Richmond High principal, an outsider whose vision for the school doesn’t match that of many students. As the year progresses, the three friends find that relationships can evolve, goals can shift and the past can help inform the present as well as the future.
There’s never been a better time for author Renée Watson’s YA debut. Narrator Maya is perceptive, whether participating in an ongoing hallway-postering campaign or explaining why a celebration of “tolerance” shouldn’t replace Black History Month. A single racial slur appears in a particularly tense moment, but otherwise this is a gentle yet powerful reflection on choices, changes and contemporary African-American teenage identity.
RELATED CONTENT: Read a Q&A with Watson about This Side of Home.