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Valerie Alston-Holt is a single mother who is raising her talented biracial son in tight-knitted Oak Knoll, a North Carolina neighborhood. Xavier is headed to college on scholarship and Valerie is facing the prospect of becoming an empty nester. While Valerie is planning on how to spend her future, things take the turn for the worse, when a new affluent family moves next door.
The Whitmans is like every other family except, their teenage daughter has a few secrets. Brad Whitman is a local celebrity around town and he made a small fortune after selling his invention. He and his wife, Julia escaped their meager upbringing. Together they try to build a new life filled with privilege and wealth.
The Whitmans and Alston-Holt have very little in common with each other. However, when Valerie's beloved oak tree starts dying and the two teenagers secretly starting dating; the two families find themselves at odds. Will the neighbors be able to look past each other's transgressions and live peacefully?
I wasn't sure what to expect when I started this book but, I will say that the ending certainly did stay with me. I kept thinking about what would I do if I was in the characters' shoes. The novel discussed many important topics such as racism, class, money, and power. I felt like this novel was very much relevant and really makes readers think.
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