Young Adult Novels That Address Gentrification: Background information when reading Like Home

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Like Home

by Louisa Onome

Like Home by Louisa Onome X
Like Home by Louisa Onome
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    Feb 2021, 416 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Althea Draper
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Young Adult Novels That Address Gentrification

This article relates to Like Home

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In Like Home by Louisa Onomé, Nelo fights the forces of gentrification and change in the neighborhood that she loves so dearly. Gentrification has become an increasingly popular topic in recent young adult novels, and there are now a variety of titles offering different points of view on the subject.

This Side of Home by Renée Watson cover This Side of Home by Renée Watson follows identical twins, Nikki and Maya, who have grown up sharing the same ideals, whether regarding boys, their family life or the historically Black college they are excited to get into. However, things begin to change when their neighborhood starts acquiring brand-spanking-new businesses and being considered an up-and-coming area. Nikki looks forward to seeing what this change will bring, but Maya feels like she's losing everything she loves about her home. Readers will enjoy this unique take on gentrification, and book clubs are bound to find it useful for having engaging discussions, what with the wide variety of viewpoints present.

The Education of Margot Sanchez by Lilliam Rivera cover The Education of Margot Sanchez by Lilliam Rivera follows titular character Margot after she borrows her father's credit card to buy herself a whole new wardrobe and ends up grounded for the foreseeable future when found out. Margot's "grounding" takes the form of working in her father's grocery store to pay him back for the money she used, but she is willing to do anything to get out of it, including lying and even stealing. But when Margot gets closer to anti-gentrification activist Moises, she learns some secrets that threaten to change life as she knows it. Perfect for those who are just starting to learn about gentrification, Rivera's novel takes the reader on a journey of discovery that allows them to begin to understand the topic at the same time as the main character does.

Pride by Ibi Zoboi cover A must-read for fans of classic literature is Ibi Zoboi's Pride — a retelling of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice set in 21st-century Brooklyn. Zuri Benitez is a proud Afro-Latina who is slowly but surely seeing her beloved neighborhood succumbing to gentrification. When the wealthy Darcy family moves into the house across the street from her, Zuri wants nothing to do with them, despite her older sister becoming enamored with the charismatic Ainsley. Faced with her hatred for a particularly coarse member of the family, Darius, Zuri finds herself being pulled in many different directions, all while the neighborhood around her continues to stray from the place she once loved. Readers are sure to find a new appreciation for this classic tale, which in Zoboi's version is interspersed with gorgeous poetry.

The Epic Fail of Arturo Zamora by Pablo Cartaya cover Poetry lovers will also adore Pablo Cartaya's The Epic Fail of Arturo Zamora, an impactful story of gentrification and first loves infused with the warmth of long summer nights. Arturo is used to spending his summers chilling in the park, cooling down with refreshing mango smoothies and occasionally working at his beloved Abuela's restaurant. However, this year things turn out a bit different — a new family moves into Arturo's building and poetry-loving Carmen catches his eye. Meanwhile, a property developer starts sniffing around the neighborhood, threatening to change what was once a familiar landscape to him. Together, Carmen and Arturo decide to fight this change head on, harnessing the power of poetry to aid them in their cause.

The City We Became by N.K. Jemisin cover Finally, N.K. Jemisin's The City We Became is sure to be a hit with those who prefer fantasy. In this new and exciting version of our own world, cities are living beings and need guardians to protect them. New York City is an anomaly, with five teenage guardians to its name that are the personifications of the separate boroughs. However, when ancient evil threatens to destroy their home, these teens must team up despite their differences to save it. With a diverse cast of characters, this is a fresh take on important topics such as gentrification, race and colonialism that will appeal to even the most discerning of fantasy lovers!

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Article by Althea Draper

This article relates to Like Home. It first ran in the March 3, 2021 issue of BookBrowse Recommends.

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