There Goes the Neighborhood

Disney-Hyperion. Mar. 2023. 432p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781368084321.
Gr 9 Up–Fifteen-year-old Rhea is adjusting to falling for her best friend Malachi and worried about how this romance may impact her other best friend Zeke, as the three friends watch their South L.A. community face gentrification. When Zeke’s family begins receiving eviction notices, Rhea devises a bold plan to start a fake gang that will deter the gentrification. This plan starts out innocuous but soon exposes drug deals, murder, and extortion, which are blamed on the nonexistent gang. While the three friends collaborate with other students to advocate for their neighborhood, they also face the harsh consequences of their decisions as they see how far some individuals will go to protect their racist ideals. Full of wonderful BIPOC representation through Rhea and Malachi (Black) and Zeke (Latino), this debut novel will appeal to fans of Nic Stone, Angie Thomas, and Jas Hammonds. This work explores the cost of gentrification on communities of color through much pain and trauma and a little hope.
VERDICT A well-written debut that tackles issues of friendship, first love, gentrification, racism, and eviction through a compelling, fast-paced narrative full of suspense, tension, and questions of fairness. Recommended for teens alongside discussions of contemporary issues.

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