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Halsey Street

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3.53  ·  Rating details ·  4,356 ratings  ·  516 reviews
A modern-day story of family, loss, and renewal, Halsey Street captures the deeply human need to belong—not only to a place but to one another.

Penelope Grand has scrapped her failed career as an artist in Pittsburgh and moved back to Brooklyn to keep an eye on her ailing father. She’s accepted that her future won’t be what she’d dreamed, but now, as gentrification has comp
...more
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published January 1st 2018 by Little A
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3.53  · 
Rating details
 ·  4,356 ratings  ·  516 reviews


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Diane S ☔
Mar 07, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018-read
3.5 The oftentimes complicated relationship between mother and daughter is fully explored in this wonderful novel, that takes us from Brooklyn, New York to the Dominican Republic. This is not a quick read, the pace is rather slow in fact, but it covers the gentrification of a neighborhood, the disintegration of a marriage, and of a daughter who may wait too long to reconcile with her mother.
What made this a special read for me is that I could picture all this happening, it is so vividly written
...more
Cynthia
May 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
In the end, I wanted to shake both Penelope and Mirella hard, and then pull them into a hug. Both beautifully flawed, complex, and dynamic characters. I'm still gathering my thoughts on this one, but I can't wait for everyone to read this come January.
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Full review 12/23: Looking back, it is fitting that I binge-read Halsey Street the same weekend that I binge-watched She's Gotta Have It, the Spike Lee-directed television series based on his film from the 1980s. Both feature black Millennial
...more
BookOfCinz
I wanted to love this book. I wanted to let everyone know how amazing this book was. I wanted to sing praises about this book but it just fell flat. I felt the book was slow, the character development was limited and I generally just lost interest 30% in.

Hasley Street is told from the perspective of Penelope, a failed artist who is currently living in Bed-stuy and seeing all the gentrification taking place. She is trying to find her footing in a world that seems to be changing all around her, a
...more
Christina Kline
Jun 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In this lovely novel, Naima Coster captures, with depth and nuance, the yearnings, ambivalence, and insecurities of a woman on the brink of adulthood. In the process of healing old wounds, Penelope Grand must mend complex fractures in relationships with her estranged mother in the Dominican Republic and her father in Brooklyn. An exceptional debut that limns the perils and hard-won pleasures of connection.
Vivian
Jan 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
From my editor's letter:

If you are bilingual like I am, you know that your brain can work on two parallel paths simultaneously. Both paths tell the same story but in a different way. It’s no coincidence that I was thinking about this experience while devouring Naima Coster’s debut novel, Halsey Street. The main character, Penelope Grand, flits between parallel worlds—her mother’s in the Dominican Republic and her father’s of jazz and record shops and bars where everyone knows your name in Bed-St
...more
Lata
Apr 13, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well-written story of a complicated mother-daughter relationship, and the changes wrought by gentrification on the main character's neighbourhood.
It's not easy reading a book where it's hard at times to empathize with the main character's words and actions. However, Naima Coster had me reading and constantly wanting to know more about the central relationship of Penelope and her mother Mirella, and what might have contributed to the animosity Penelope felt. Oddly, though Penelope kept telling us
...more
Dominique
Apr 21, 2018 rated it it was ok
It was great reading about Brooklyn and the setting is so familiar that I somehow felt connected to the characters. Connected enough that they all left me feeling annoyed and depressed. The protagonist Penelope is incredibly lonely, and so that's my starting point to understanding her behavior and choices. There's an avoidable mistake in here that I still can't wrap my mind around what purpose it serves for the characters involved because it honestly doesn't push the story forward, but is just a ...more
Rebel Women Lit
Naima Coster’s Halsey Street is an ode to all art forms. The author’s voice is fresh and powerful, and their literary craft is truly exquisite, one that is descriptive without being verbose. Coster’s skills allows the carefully conjured images to shine, whether in the dimming light of a New York sunset or the midday sun of a Caribbean isle.

Set against the backdrop of a changing Brooklyn, this contemporary novel is a no-holds barred critique of gentrification, as well as a passionate, nuanced ana
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Janani
4.5

First published at The Shrinkette.

Thanks so much to Netgalley and Little A Books for providing me this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Plot: Penelope Grand is a young black failing artist who moves back home from Pittsburg to take care of her ailing father, Ralph. Her old neighborhood has been gentrified and taken over by affluent white people, and her mother Mirella left them to return to the Dominican Republic. So when Penny moves into the attic of the wealthy Harpers, she hopes for
...more
Kate ☀️ Olson
This book is so hard for me to review, because it was NOT an easy book for me to listen to. I was simultaneously appreciating the importance of the storylines about gentrification in Brooklyn and the intricacies of parent-adult child relationships while wanting to scream at the main character about all of her life choices. Honestly, I almost DNF'd a few times because Penelope's struggles were depressing me because they all seemed so self-induced.

However, and this is a big one, I recently heard
...more
Valerie
Dec 02, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Halsey Street wasn't a book I loved from the beginning, but rather, a story that caught my attention about 1/3 of the way through. It's about so many things which may have been the source of my initial feelings about it. However, what finally pulled me in is Naima Coster's masterful decision to mix past and present perspectives as the story progressed. (view spoiler) ...more
Gabrielle
Dec 15, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.75 stars. Halsey Street had all of the elements that I love in a good novel: a woman of color navigating the world, complicated family dynamics (especially mother/daughter relationships), and multiple character perspectives, but still something was missing. Each of the main characters were deeply flawed which is not a bad thing, but they each remained selfish and unchanged throughout the story. The structure of the book was a bit disorienting to me - I believe I would have connected more to th ...more
Joel Nygard
I tried, and then I tried some more to slog thru this book's main characters' unhappiness and selfishness because I was sure there would be growth and reconciliation ..eventually. 68% through I gave up, and I never give up on a book. I love reading immensely. I couldn't relate to the characters. I couldn't understand how they were supposed to be strong, good women when they were so petty, immature and selfish and antisocial, yet so stupidly dependent on someone else to tell them they are worthy ...more
Gabriella
Jan 03, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2018-reads
Naima Coster’s debut novel centers around a family in Bed-Stuy and the Dominican Republic, whose members know loss as well as their backyards, and have learned to hold nothing sacred because of it. The POV characters, Penelope Grand and her estranged mother Mirella, are especially skeptical—of marriage, of hometown nostalgia, and even of maternity.

I enjoyed reading Halsey Street right after Another Brooklyn, since they're both reflections of changing life in the borough (this time, Bed-Stuy ins
...more
Faith Bee
Nov 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As I closed the last pages to Halsey Street i find myself in tears, looking around at my own stark room
filled with boxes I'm not sure I'll unpack as I don't know my next move. Halsey Street is a reminder that however close to thirty I am, I don't have to be done. I can be a work of art, I can be imperfect,
the art will come, even after we’ve given up on it.

That line stuck out to me:
“She didn’t know how long he would remain patient with her, or how long she had before he realized her bad moods wer
...more
Yasmin Silva
Dec 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow... 12 hours..couldnt put it down.

A book has never done this to me.. I'm from Williamsburg.. Born in Park Slope and moved here when i was 3.. This book had a heartbeat. The cover and title drew me in.. In tears.. Superb.
Evette
Dec 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“Halsey Street” is the first book I’ve read about Black families since “The Turner House,” and it was worth it.
Mell
I'd rate this 2.5 stars. The book isn't terrible, but the combined effects of the writing's very slow pace and the awfulness of the characters' actions to one another made the story feel like a chore. This was Kindle First read.

The author accurately captures the sometimes tedium of everyday life and family obligations. And I enjoyed reading about the Dominican Republic, Brooklyn, and the controversies of gentrification. Some readers are gushing about the book's emotional subject of mother-daught
...more
Britta Böhler
Bloated writing and the story is filled with too many stereotypical female (and male) characters. Pity.
Travel.with.a.book
I give this amazing book 5 stars, I'm just not used of all the emotions dragging down my favourite characters.
The second that I heard Penelope Grand's story I knew it's going to be a great ride reading it.
Penelope Grand has scrapped her failed career as an artist in Pittsburgh and moved back to Brooklyn to keep an eye on her ailing father. She’s accepted that her future won’t be what she’d dreamed, but now, as gentrification has completely reshaped her old neighborhood, even her past is unrecogn
...more
Never Without a Book™
Mirella & Penelope relationship is complicated AF! This novel definitely gave me a few "Oh damn!" and " yikes! " moments. I also felt that some aspects of the story didn't mesh well with the story line. For example: gentrification, Penelope and her art and the shift from Pittsburgh, to Brooklyn and Dominican Republic (this didn't work for me). Love, family, loneliness and relationships, this is what I felt the book is about, that would have made this a solid 5star. As much as I was annoyed w ...more
Black Carrie
Aug 01, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Mad I wasted my time going to get this book I want to support black authors but its so hard when the shit doesn't make sense, or keep your attention,
Imi
3.5 stars. This wasn't a book I fell in love with straight away, but it grew on me and the ending was so beautiful that I had to knock it up a star (or a half, if we could). A frustrating read at times. This is due, firstly, to the pure stubbornness of many of the characters, which leads to predictable, inevitable scenarios that the reader can see coming from a mile off. It also, I felt, made the plot feel fairly repetitive. The other reason I found this book frustrating is that it seemed Coster ...more
Tuti
Sep 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
impressive debut about a young woman, penelope grand, who returns to her neighborhood - bed-stuy, brooklyn, after one year in art school and some shattered dreams, to be closer to her ailing father. the neighborhood is changing, gentrification is taking place, people have to leave, stores close - as has the record store of ralph grand, penelope's father, making place for white people and fancier stores who can afford the higher rents. both penelope and her father, as well as the harpers, a white ...more
Gizelle
Feb 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Naima Coster wrote a story that is sure to stick with you long after the last page. I was in my feelings for a full 48 hours after finishing, and I still get sad flashbacks sometimes.

Penelope packed up her life in Pittsburg where she had been living for 5 years as a bartender and struggling artist and moved back to a gentrifying Brooklyn to help take care of her ill, stubborn father, Ralph. But instead of living with him on Halsey Street, she moves into the attic of the Harpers, a gentrificating
...more
Kim
Jan 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Some books simply speak to you. That was the case for me with Halsey Street by Naima Coster.

Penelope's story of leaving Pittsburgh and returning home to Brooklyn to keep an eye on her father, whose health has deteriorated almost as much as their family home on Halsey Street. The Brooklyn Penelope returns to is undergoing gentrification. All the old businesses, including the record shop her father owned, have disappeared, as have many of the neighbours she knew, replaced now by hipsters and upwa
...more
Afoma Umesi
Dec 26, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Halsey Street is a strong debut novel that will cause you to ponder about family, motherhood and what community really means. Although it might ruffle feathers especially on the topic of gentrification, Halsey Street is compelling, necessary and thought provoking. Full review at

http://www.afomaumesi.com/2018/01/01/...
clm
Dec 04, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I don't like these people

The writing is excellent. The references to gentrification, art school, Dominicans in NYC, etc. are all well explored. However, except for a child and a bartender, this is a cast of the most (both quantity and quality) self-centered people I have ever encountered in a novel, and they don't make much progress toward redemption.
Jan
Jul 13, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Promising debut dealing with a young woman and her fraught relationship with her mother. Great settings in the Dominican Republic and a gentrifying Brooklyn, but I found the character of Penelope really problematic.
Melki
Feb 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is an involving, and well written story about a woman dealing with family pressures, gentrification, and a desire to find a plan for her life. A fine first novel from a promising young writer, currently priced at less than a dollar; free for Prime members.
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Literary Fiction ...: Discussion: Halsey Street 60 111 May 14, 2019 06:08PM  
Go On Girl! Book...: * What Did You Think of the Book? 1 6 Sep 07, 2018 01:28PM  
Go On Girl! Book...: About the Book 4 4 Sep 06, 2018 05:43PM  
Go On Girl! Book...: About Naimi Coster 1 2 Sep 06, 2018 03:20PM  
The Blerd Book Club: March 2018: Halsey Street by Naima Coster 1 12 Mar 21, 2018 07:31PM  

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My debut novel, Halsey Street, is a story of family, loss, and renewal, set in a rapidly gentrifying Brooklyn. Halsey Street has been recommended as a must-read by People, Essence, Bustle, Kirkus Reviews, Electric Lit, BitchMedia, The Root, and Gotham Magazine. I’ve been writing since I was a girl—filling composition notebooks and diaries with little locks with my words—and it’s been thrilling to ...more
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“Daughters get either their courage or their fear from their mothers.” 8 likes
“Penelope had met white women like her at RISD—women who were certain they were the center of everyone’s world. If someone wanted to steal a handbag, it would be her handbag. If someone wanted to pick a lock, it would be her lock. She was no better than the Manhattan friends Marcus complained about.” 3 likes
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