There goes the neighborhood

Jade Adia

Book - 2023

"In order to stop the destructive forces of gentrification, three best friends use social media to create a fake gang and get justice for their South L.A. community"--

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Young Adult Area YOUNG ADULT FICTION/Adia Jade Checked In
Young adult fiction
Social problem fiction
Los Angeles ; New York : Hyperion 2023.
First edition
Physical Description
414 pages ; 24 cm
Ages 12-18.
Grades 7-9.
Main Author
Jade Adia (author)
Review by Booklist Review

For Rhea and her friends Zeke and Malachi, South Los Angeles has always been home. Their neighborhood isn't perfect, but it's filled with the community and togetherness that has become an important part of the three teenagers' identities. When gentrification starts to drive out the people who live and work there, including Zeke, the three friends band together to come up with a solution. They know one thing that will bring gentrification to a grinding halt: gang activity. Rhea, Zeke, and Malachi work together to create a fake gang to drive out developers, but they get more than they bargained for when one of the developers ends up dead. Even though the plot of Adia's debut novel is high interest enough to keep any teen reader engaged, her writing really shines when it comes to her multifaceted characterization of the Black and Latine teen experience. Each of the characters in her novel is unique in a way that unravels the cookie-cutter stereotypes that usually plague novels centered in South L.A.

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission. Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

Fifteen-year-old best friends Rhea and Malachi, who are Black, and Zeke, who is Salvadorian, have spent their entire lives in their racially diverse Los Angeles neighborhood. But when gentrification prompts Zeke's callous landlord to dramatically increase his building's rent, the three teens attempt to come up with a solution that will help him, as well as the rest of their community. Meanwhile, Rhea struggles to overcome feelings of jealousy and frustration when magnetic newcomers Lou and Marley, described as having brown skin, infiltrate her friend group. Unbeknownst to their new peers, Rhea, Malachi, and Zeke decide to use gentrifiers' prejudice to their own advantage by creating a fake gang called SOSI, hoping its sudden appearance will garner enough negative attention to persuade developers to stop "colonizing the neighborhood." But after SOSI begins cultivating real fear among local denizens, it sparks deadly consequences. In this riveting portrait of community care, debut author Adia paints the pain, danger, and consequences of gentrification with visceral clarity, highlighting changes such as displacement and fractured families via Rhea's biting and witty voice and her unwavering loyalty to her hometown. Ages 12--up. Agent: Jim McCarthy, Dystel, Goderich & Bourret. (Mar.)

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved Review by School Library Journal Review

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.--Tracey S. Hodges

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. Review by Kirkus Book Review

Three friends concoct an elaborate ruse to spare their beloved neighborhood from the crushing effects of gentrification in Adia's politically charged debut. Change is creeping across Rhea, Malachi, and Zeke's South Los Angeles community. Mom-and-pop shops are closing their doors, rising rents and evictions are pushing people out of their homes, and a growing influx of overpriced, mostly White-owned businesses are altering the landscape. When Zeke's apartment building becomes the latest battleground, thanks to a planned 60% rent increase, the tightknit group of 15-year-olds decides to act by playing into White fears of Black and Latine folks like them. The plan: whip up rumors of a fake gang named SOSI taking over the block to scare away any would-be gentrifiers. Soon enough, the trio's efforts to promote the gang through social media pay off. Then the death of Zeke's landlord is pinned on SOSI, and the fabricated scheme has serious unintended consequences. Meanwhile, a couple of new kids--Marley and Lou--move into the bougie side of the neighborhood, ingratiating themselves into the friends' lives and threatening to alter their tightknit relationships. Equally strong in its magnetic messiness and potent candor, the novel plunges into discussions of youth activism, capitalism-fueled displacement, and racism's myriad forms with fierce vision and conviction. A robust cast of characters diverse across various dimensions gives voice to contemporary perspectives on community-oriented social justice and performative wokeness. Though it loses steam near the end, this one's a much-needed read. Plain terrific. (Fiction. 13-18) Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.