Picture a beautiful, quiet neighborhood in North Carolina. Valerie Alston-Holt, an African American woman and passionate community leader lives in a small home with her straight A, talented son Xavier. She is an ecology professor at the local university and he has recently been accepted with a scholarship to a prestigious San Francisco conservatory program. In the lot behind them the Whitman family has recently built a magnificent home and to do so destroyed much of the local greenery. The Whitmans are a white family with two lovely daughters, the eldest named Juniper. As an incensed Valerie watches her ancient Oak tree begin to die, her son and Juniper are secretly falling love. It took 75% of this book to set up the characters and lead up to something actually happening. It is narrated by too many voices along with an alternating “we” as if the neighborhood was telling the story. The author tried to highlight an overabundance of subjects at once; racism, love, law, history, nature, suicide, molestation - to name a few. The “we” part, although unique, was ultimately confusing - by the time something happened in this novel I was completely bored, confused and could not wait for it to be over.
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