This Side of Home by Renee Watson

This Side of Home

by Renée Watson
Genres: Young Adult
Published on February 3rd 2015
Pages: 336
Format: Hardcover Source: Library

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, Renee Watson explores the experience of young African-American women navigating the traditions and expectations of their culture.

What is gained when a neighborhood is gentrified?

  • Property values go up for the homeowners who live there
  • New businesses available to everyone

What is lost?

  • Renters can’t pay higher prices
  • Breakup of long time communities

These are just some of the issues discussed in This Side of Home.

What happens when a school has an influx of Latino and white students and the new principal wants to celebrate the “diversity” which is code for “We’re not the black school we used to be”?

Why will the media only come to the school to cover crime and not positive events?

Should you patronize new businesses that replaced black-owned businesses that couldn’t get business loans?

Should you be friends with the people who bought the house that your best friend used to live in?

If an African-American girl doesn’t want to date a white boy is that racial pride, racism, a matter of personal taste, or all of the above?