Publication: February 3, 2015
By: Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Amazon | Goodreads
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.
In her inspired YA debut, Renée Watson explores the experience of young African-American women navigating the traditions and expectations of their culture.
* I received this ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review*
This is a book everyone should read.
Beautifully written and thought-provoking, This Side of Home takes a refreshingly honest look at how cultural changes affects not only the relationship between twin sisters Maya and Nikki, but everyone around them, regardless of the color of their skin.
What I Liked:
~ The sisterly bond between Maya and Nikki, how they challenged and supported each other.
~ Their longtime friendship with Essence as well as the ones they formed with the new kids.
~ Maya and Nikki's parents, because they are FANTASTIC.
~ The conversation between Maya and Nikki that takes place on pages 234-235 (in the ARC version) was eye-opening and made me want to wrap both girls up in a hug.
~ Gentrification plays a key role in the changes that take place and while it tends to be a hot topic, Renée Watson depicts both sides of the discussion without demonizing either one.
I know how I felt always being portrayed as the victim. I'm sure being seen as the perpetrator feels just as awful.
"Am I a hypocrite?" I ask.
"You're a black girl who fell in love with a white boy."
"And a black girl who cares about race and class issues."
[She] leans back in the chair. "You can be both."
Mom tells me, "Some people will like you and some won't. What's more important is: Do you like yourself?"