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A Good Neighborhood

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  5,810 ratings  ·  1,574 reviews
In Oak Knoll, a verdant, tight-knit North Carolina neighborhood, professor of forestry and ecology Valerie Alston-Holt is raising her bright and talented biracial son. Xavier is headed to college in the fall, and after years of single parenting, Valerie is facing the prospect of an empty nest. All is well until the Whitmans move in next door - an apparently traditional ...more
Hardcover, 311 pages
Published March 10th 2020 by St. Martin's Press
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Michael Brennan Yes, the protagonist is a teenager, but I'm not sure teens will appreciate the decisions of the adults to act so badly; however, if I read this in my…moreYes, the protagonist is a teenager, but I'm not sure teens will appreciate the decisions of the adults to act so badly; however, if I read this in my younger years, I'd feel more empowered than I did to question things and start understanding things that seemed to allude me a while longer. (less)

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Average rating 3.94  · 
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 ·  5,810 ratings  ·  1,574 reviews

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David Putnam
Oct 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Love this book. Solid five stars. Won it on the Goodreads Giveaway contest. I predict it will instantly be a New York Times bestseller. I dont say this too often but its the kind of book that I tell friends to, drop what theyre doing, go out and buy it.
Im a firm believer in the Fictive Dream, its what I need most in a book. To be dropped into a character driven story and live it with the character. If done correctly time stands still. When I come out of the fictive dream it seems like twenty
Nilufer Ozmekik
Dec 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
In the love literature Gods, what an incredible, tasteful gem I just read! This is epic! This is masterpiece! This is surprising! I loved everything about it and Im sure its gonna be most anticipated and highly recommended fictions of 2020!

Please stop singing Mr. Rogers epic song: It is a beautiful day in the neighborhood, would you be my, could you be my? Won't you be my neighbor? because this book is nothing about good neighboring. It is about tangled, complex situations and their eventual
Angela M
Feb 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
In the beginning were warned that a tragedy has occurred and I was hooked already wondering. As the story progresses, its intense to say the very least and I became so emotionally involved with these characters and was heartbroken already before the ending, trying to imagine which one would be impacted by the tragedy . Suffice it to say, they all were .

The third person we narrator, seemingly removed but yet all knowing about the neighborhood, the characters, gives the feeling that they are part
Jan 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
My reviews can also be seen at: https://deesradreadsandreviews.wordpr...

A compelling and timely read!

This story involves two families whose lives will intertwine in ways they would never have imagined.

We begin our story here, in the minutes before the small event that will change everything.

The Whitman's have just built an upscale new house in the neighborhood of Oak Knoll.

Seventeen-year-old, Juniper Whitman seems to have it all. But appearances can be deceiving. Juniper's mother, Julia met
Mar 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
What has more meaning to humankind than words? Without a call to action, change rarely occurs.

A tragedy strikes a Good Neighborhood. This is where good families and good people live. But under the veneer of perfection, exists deep-seated racism, gender bias, class separation, and a sexual predator. Families are ripped apart based on choices made stemming from greed, desperation, doing the right thing, and love.

Fowler explores themes of racial and class divisions through the characters of
Susanne  Strong
5 Breathless, Stunning Stars.

Actions. Circumstances. Ramifications. My Oh My! What a tangled Web You Weave!

When you think of a suburban community, you think barbecues and book clubs. Thats exactly how life was in the quiet suburb of Oak Knoll. Life was positively idyllic, but of course, good neighbors sure are hard to find!

Valerie Alston-Holt loves raising her teenaged son Xavier in the quiet neighborhood of Oak Knoll and both consider themselves lucky, until the drilling and demolition starts
Dorie  - Cats&Books :)

My feelings are all over the place on this one. I think it is extremely well written, the use of the third person omnipotent point of view is always an interesting view. I think its hard to use it successfully which this book did. The premise, though not a new one, is good and relatable. A story of a neighborhood where everyone knew each other, in an older suburb where the residents are now having to make way for the Brad Whitmans of the world.

Valerie Alston-Holt is a widowed
Emily May
Mar 17, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: contemporary, botm, 2020
2 1/2 stars.
Reading this was a bit like reading two separate books, in which the first two thirds was Liane Moriarty at her slowest, and the final third was a constant stream of heart-pounding, horrible drama that made me so unbelievably angry (not, I should say, in a bad way).

This was the only book that sounded interesting for March Book of the Month, which is why I picked it. It takes on several delicate subjects - race, racism, class and womanhood - all in a middle/upper middle class North
Elyse  Walters
Sep 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
UPDATE.....( below)

5 Phenomenal Affecting Stars!!!!
Emotions and thoughts spin around and around in my head!!!
They will for a LONG TIME!
Huge Kudos to the author!!! She is insanely talented!!!
Unbelievable how engaging - thought provoking - urgent - and - heartbreaking- this story is!!!

Full Review still to come!


Most of us hide what troubles and confuses us, displaying instead the facets we hope others will approve of, the parts we hope
Jan 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
So what makes A Good Neighborhood? Oak Knoll was originally made up of post WWII ranch houses. But lately, those older houses were being torn down and McMansions built in their place. Its a phenomenon being seen more and more often in closer in, older neighborhoods. Valerie Alston-Holt lives in one of the older houses. Shes a widow, raising her teenage son. A professor of forestry and ecology, she is more than disturbed by the new house going in next to her, especially as the construction ...more
Brenda -Traveling Sister
Mar 18, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: edelweiss
Ok, my friends, I am warning you now Unpopular opinion ahead and over-sensitive thinker at work here. I am an outlier in this one I am sure. This one made me so angry and sucked the energy right out of me, so I am keeping it short and moving on.

This one scares the living daylights out of me and there are some pretty scary things going on right now. Here is why the characters are so awful in this story and I fear if this could happen and this neighborhood could be for real, our humanity is at
This book hurt my heart to read it. You see a train wreck coming and you can do nothing to stop it. On top of that, you have this all knowing, mysterious "we" narrators, who know things about everybody that they couldn't possibly know. At times, I wanted to shut them up because I felt that this way of narrating kept a barrier between me and the characters but, on the other hand, I welcomed that barrier because I didn't want to care about the characters anyway. 

White Brad, and his family, move
Sep 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I won this ARC in a GoodReads Giveaway - big thanks to the publisher, author and GoodReads fo this opportunity! I obsessively read this book all night until I was finished - and devastated by the heartbreaking ending. This heartbreaking story is timely and and all too plausible and the only thing that kept me going was a great story and poignant, heartbreaking protagonists that kept me invested till the bitter end.

I loved Therese Anne Fowler's historical novel Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald so
Oh. My. Gosh. - NO!

A GOOD NEIGHBORHOOD begins with "An upscale new house in a simple old neighborhood." Oak Knoll is a desirable area to live in North Carolina. A mixed race color-blind progressive area....or so we're told.

The storyline has an interesting narration with just a bit of commentary by the neighbors along the way that does not detract, but added to the telling....from my perspective.

It's a Sunday afternoon in May. The new self-made privileged millionaire, wife and two daughters


"Trees are life. Not just my life, but life, period."

As this story begins, set in a neighborhood populated by modest homes built when the boys who fought in World War II returned home to a housing boon in the rapidly growing suburban developments. A neighborhood in North Carolina, these many years later, by now established. That is, until a new family, the Whitmans, build a new, far more upscale, sprawling house next door to Valerie Alston-Holt. Valerie is a black female
Diane S ☔
Dec 18, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: lor-2019
2.5 A readers we all have certain subjects that we try to avoid, as ell as different likes or dislikes in the way a book is written. That was the case, for me, here. I don't like when a book has a narrator, an unknown entity that comments from the void, different opinions and explanations. It keeps me from fully engaging with the story itself.

The story itself was a good one, somewhat predictable, not in scope, but I pretty much knew where it was going before its arrival. Until the end, that I
Dec 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
This story is narrated by the neighbors of the two households involved in this story. These two households backyards meet and one family is a well to do white family in an extravagant new build and the other is a black woman and her biracial son in an older modest ranch. Each home contains a teenager that eventually have a relationship with each other.
We are told this on the very first page Later this summer when the funeral takes place, the media will speculate boldly on who's to blame."
Aug 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
To write about the black experience as a white woman is a brave thing to do and being a white woman, myself, I dont know if Fowler nailed it or not. In addition to racial profiling, class, white privilege, power, sexual abuse, and Christian conservatism this book tackles an ecological issue. All of these are timely topics and a lot to pack into one novel. Initially, the pacing is a bit slow but necessary to fully develop the characters whom I felt like I knew rather well. I liked the narration ...more
Mar 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
3.5 rounded up to 4 Stars

I had heard a lot of bugaboo about this book and its provocative themes, so of course I had to check it out. My advice to those considering reading this is if you want to be uplifted at all, it's absolutely not happening with this book.

This is a story about an upwardly mobile family that moved into the exclusive Oak Knoll neighborhood in North Carolina. Brad Whitman was now part of the nouveau riche, having created a thriving business. He was easily recognizable because
Jan 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
Excerpt: An upscale new house in a simple old neighborhood. A girl on a chaise beside a swimming pool, who wants to be left alone. We begin our story here, in the minutes before the small event that will change everything......

For the record, we never wanted to take sides.

So begins this cautionary tale, as told by our omniscient narrator(s), which I assumed was one or more of the other Oak Knoll neighbor(s).

The story finds Valerie Alston-Holt at odds with her new neighbors, Brad and Julia
Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader
Dec 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I really love this author. Im two for two with her books. A Good Neighborhood is a thoughtful and timely representation of neighbors with different beliefs. Full review will come closer to pub date in February 2020.

I received a gifted copy from the publisher.
Katie B
This was my first time reading a book by the author, and I have to say, I'm impressed. It's the type of story in which you keep thinking about the characters long after you are done reading. Would make an excellent book club selection!

Valerie Alston-Holt is a professor of forestry and ecology so obviously nature is pretty darn important to her. She's been a single mother for years, raising her biracial teenage son and Xavier is quite the talented young man. The Whitmans have just moved to the
Babydimps (Suzy)
Jan 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
4 stars! ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Wow. Just wow.

This book certainly covers a multitude of subjects! Racism, stereotypes, white privilege, sexual abuse and even ecology.

A Good Neighborhood is not a fast paced read. When a well-to-do white family with two daughters (one is a 17 year old) moves in next door to a single, black mother raising her teenage biracial son, things start off well enough. That is, until the teenagers fall in love. What originally starts out as a disagreement over a tree between the two
Feb 15, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction, arc
In a seemingly close-knit neighborhood in North Carolina, a widowed ecology professor, Valerie, is raising her biracial son, Xavier, in the house she bought years ago with her husbandbefore his sudden death devastated their family and left Xavier without his father. Valerie has considered moving somewhere less southern, somewhere where the color of her and her sons skin doesnt make them an anomaly. But she cant leave a house that holds so many memories, especially when Xavier is doing so well ...more
Aug 26, 2019 rated it liked it
Here I am once again to be a killjoy amongst all of the 4 and 5 star reviews ....

I want to start off by saying that I love a book that isn't afraid to tackle tough, hot button issues straight on, and this book attempts to do so, and for that attempt, I give Fowler props; however, the issues for me started right off the bat. It took way too long to get to the "heart" of the premise. I was at Chapter 19 (and they weren't small chapters) and NOTHING substantive had taken place yet! There was just
Jan 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
An enthusiastic 4 stars.

Im reluctant to say much about the plot of A Good Neighborhood because knowing too much would ruin the effect. In very bare terms, its the story of two families who become new neighbours, and what that does to them and the neighbourhood. There is tension between the adults and a budding romance between their older teens. A complicating and crucial factor is that one family is African American and the other family is white.

There was lots I loved about A Good Neighborhood.
Lindsay - Traveling Sister
2.5 stars. A neighbourhood filled with secrets, lies and scandal. Not at all what I was expecting....

I was excited to read this as I had seen nothing but raving reviews. I was ready for a powerful, emotional, unforgettable story. Perhaps that high expectation is what ruined this for me? Not sure. I just couldnt seem to get fully immersed in this storyline. From start to finish, I kept thinking what am I missing? Although the writing was good, the plot felt long and drawn out. The characters and
Book of the Month
Why I love it
by Jordan Moblo

As someone who happens to read a lot, the sign of a good book for me is whether I can recall the details of where I was when I read it. I distinctly remember sitting in my office devouring Miracle Creek cover to cover; the hotel room I holed myself up in while burning through Little Fires Everywhere; and the coffee shop where I was captivated by Ask Again, Yes. And in the case of A Good Neighborhood (which, by the way, is a must-read if you enjoyed any of the
A Good Neighborhood is a realistic fiction that's as real as it gets. On the surface, it's about the forbidden love between two teens--one white and one biracial--but more deeply, it's about the extent of racism in America's broken criminal justice system. This book broke my heart.

Complementary reading: White Fragility: Why Its So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism

NOTE: I received this as an Advance Reader Copy from Goodreads in September 2019.
Mar 25, 2020 rated it liked it
[2.5] This book started out strong even though I found the 3rd person "we" narration overbearing. I was interested in the characters and was thinking it would be a solid 4 star book.

But then it all went wrong - as if Fowler decided on her sensationalistic ending but forgot to lay the groundwork. The last quarter of the book felt slapped on purely for effect and didn't feel authentic or "earned." Very disappointing.
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