Book Review: A Good Neighborhood

I was given the advice to not read any reviews or much of anything about this book before reading. I’m so glad I listened to that advice! I went in blind, not really having a clue what this book was about. This is advice that I will be repeating as I felt that it added to my overall enjoyment of A Good Neighborhood by Therese Anne Fowler.

No one likes a spoiler. Sure, you want to know a little about a book before picking it up, but sometimes knowing too much information can ruin the whole experience. This is one of those books. If I told you too much, you would never pick it up and that would be such a shame. With that being said, here is the synopsis for A Good Neighborhood given by the publisher:

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 family with new money, ambition, and a secretly troubled teenaged daughter.

Thanks to his thriving local business, Brad Whitman is something of a celebrity around town, and he’s made a small fortune on his customer service and charm, while his wife, Julia, escaped her trailer park upbringing for the security of marriage and homemaking. Their new house is more than she ever imagined for herself, and who wouldn’t want to live in Oak Knoll? With little in common except a property line, these two very different families quickly find themselves at odds: first, over an historic oak tree in Valerie’s yard, and soon after, the blossoming romance between their two teenagers.

Told from multiple points of view, A Good Neighborhood asks big questions about life in America today―What does it mean to be a good neighbor? How do we live alongside each other when we don’t see eye to eye?―as it explores the effects of class, race, and heartrending star-crossed love in a story that’s as provocative as it is powerful.

This book was written with the anticipation and anxiety of a thriller. The first half of this book was a slow climb, leaving you to worry that what was coming next probably wasn’t going to be good. This is also what compels you to keep turning the pages. Once I got into the second half of the book, I couldn’t put it down. There are storylines that will make you very uncomfortable, others that will make you angry. I’m not exaggerating when I tell you that there is one storyline that will make you SO uncomfortable you will want to put the book down and stop reading. Don’t. Keep reading. This book gave me so much to think about and I think will do the same for anyone who reads it.

Thank you so much NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for this advanced copy in return for my honest review.


A Good Neighborhood by Therese Anne Fowler
Published by: St. Martin’s Press, March 10, 2020
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Where I read: In the car waiting for my son at the golf course
Stephenie’s Goodreads Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

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