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A Good Neighborhood

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4.06  ·  Rating details ·  788 ratings  ·  447 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, 279 pages
Expected publication: March 10th 2020 by St. Martin's Press
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Average rating 4.06  · 
Rating details
 ·  788 ratings  ·  447 reviews


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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. That’s 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
...more
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 don’t say this too often but it’s the kind of book that I tell friends to, drop what they’re doing, go out and buy it.
I’m a firm believer in the Fictive Dream, it’s 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
...more
Elyse  Walters
Sep 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
UPDATE.....( below)

5 Phenomenal Affecting Stars!!!!
Sooooo ENGROSSING!!!!
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!

NEW UPDATE:
NO SERIOUS SPOILERS...

“Most of us hide what troubles and confuses us, displaying instead the facets we hope others will approve of, the parts we hope
...more
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 it’s 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 African American
...more
Liz
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. It’s a phenomenon being seen more and more often in closer in, older neighborhoods. Valerie Alston-Holt lives in one of the older houses. She’s 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
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 I’m sure it’s gonna be most anticipated and highly recommended fictions of 2020!

Please stop singing Mr. Roger’s 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
...more
etherealfire
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
...more
Tammy
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 don’t 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
Karen
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."
...more
Cheri
"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 professor of
...more
Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader
Dec 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I really love this author. I’m 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.
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
...more
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
...more
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 neighbors
...more
Esil
Jan 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
An enthusiastic 4 stars.

I’m reluctant to say much about the plot of A Good Neighborhood because knowing too much would ruin the effect. In very bare terms, it’s 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
...more
Caroline
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 It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism

NOTE: I received this as an Advance Reader Copy from Goodreads in September 2019.
Denise Reed
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
...more
☮Karen
Apr 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
I am familiar with Fowler's historical fiction, but this is her first contemporary novel for me. I won an advance copy from goodreads -- a year in advance. Expected publication is Feb. 2020. Can't wait to see the cover page added. Amazon shows one, so why not GR?

For Valerie and her son Xavier, it seemed like a good neighborhood for them, a widowed black woman and her bi-racial teenager. Until, that is, Brad & Julia Whitmore and their 2 daughters moved in behind them, clear cutting the lot
...more
Donna
A Good Neighborhood is a simple book to read. It’s short, it has an interesting and relevant plot, the characters are believable. A simple book to read - and a complex storyline to absorb.

When I first started reading, I was bemused by the narrator, who is apparently one of the neighbors, although exactly which one is a mystery. This tactic is captivating and kept me wondering throughout the story, but in no way overshadows the tale itself, which could have come right out of any current
...more
Tammy
Jan 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: release-2020
5 A Good Neighborhood is an incredible story with intense and tough issues about racism, class and values, and star-crossed love where tragedy strikes after two teens Xavier & Juniper, he’s biracial she’s white, become romantically involved.
It begins when a small incident escalates between their families that ends up changing everyone’s lives forever. All Xavier’s mother wanted was to protect a historic oak tree in her yard, but unfortunately.. manipulation and deception were in the game
...more
Camille Maio
Jul 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Engrossing read that is so timely today. Fiction writing at its best - one that entertains and informs with equal skill. This is going to be a hit.
Kelly  Seifert
Oct 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: giveaways
Great story. I especially like the little narratives in the beginning of the chapters.
Sharon Huether
Jun 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
When a new neighbor moved into a grand home in a modest neighborhood, Valeria Alston-Holt, their nearest neighbor and the Whitman's share an old Oak tree between their yards
Valerie saw her beloved oak tree loosing leaves and looking tired. She wanted to sue the Whitman's
and their builder for disturbing her tree with the building of their home.

As a result nothing was what it once was before the Whitman's moved in.
A very sad ending. I will not forget this story.

The author made all the words
...more
Cortney LaScola - The Bookworm, Myrtle Beach
A Good Neighborhood was an easy read and a decent book, but I didn't love it. I feel like it was such a slow build, and then all of a sudden everything happened and the ending was rushed... it also seemed kind of farfetched and forced to make people buzz about the big twist. Solid 3 stars
Ashley
Apr 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I devoured this book. I have been sharing it with family and friends, and I cannot wait for it to be published so others can enjoy it as much as I did.
Therese Fowler
Mar 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
I thought I'd share the following interview from the July 16th, 2019 issue of Shelf Awareness, in which I talk about many things including why I decided not to write another biographical-historical novel for my follow-up to A Well-Behaved Woman and Z. There are no real spoilers here. Thanks for reading.

***********************************


Therese Anne Fowler: The Sum of All Our Parts


Therese Anne Fowler is the New York Times bestselling author of Z and A Well-Behaved Woman. Z has been adapted for
...more
Dianah
Mar 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
When the Whitman family moves into the quiet Oak Knoll neighborhood, they have finally achieved ultimate success: home, family, and happiness. But their arrival has caused the unraveling of a chain of events, and there is no stopping what is on its way. Narrated by a Greek chorus of neighbors, who see all and know all, they are nonetheless drawn into the vortex that the Whitmans create, and the scene is set for an explosion. Fowler writes a timely story about race, wealth inequality, young love, ...more
Michelle
Apr 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I could not put this book down. From the opening sentence to the tragic ending, Therese Anne Fowler has created a story that is current and believable. Don't miss this one - it's stunning conclusion will stay with you long as you finish the last page. #AGoodNeighborhood; #GoodReads
Nancy
Dec 18, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
Foreshadowing began with the opening sentences, narrated in a voice that brought to mind Rod Serling introducing a Twilight Zone episode, setting up the story.

A girl sitting beside a swimming pool behind her newly built home. The neighbor boy welcoming her to the neighborhood. A typical day in a typical good neighborhood, upscale and friendly, a place where women gather for book clubs and teenagers can safely run in the local park.

But underneath the 'tenuous peace' simmers the possibility of
...more
Cam
Aug 19, 2019 rated it liked it
Thank you netgalley and author for this book to review. I have to start by saying I didn’t know what to expect when I started reading this book. I had seen it several times on goodreads and I was interested. This book took me so long because I had a feeling I knew where this was going.... and didn’t care for where this was going. After reading things like this I will have a not so good attitude afterwards, because these type of topics (excuse the bluntness).... piss me off! Knowing the history ...more
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