Perfectly nice neighbors

Kia Abdullah, 1982-

Book - 2023

"Salma Khatun is hopeful about Blenheim, the suburban development into which she, her husband, and their son have just moved. The Bangladeshi family needs a fresh start, and Blenheim feels like just the place. Soon after they move in, Salma spots her white neighbor, Tom Hutton, ripping out the anti-racist banner her son put in the front garden. Avoiding confrontation, Salma takes the banner inside and puts it in her window. But the next morning, she wakes up to find her window smeared with ...paint. When she does speak to Tom, battle lines are drawn between the two families. As racial and social tensions escalate and the stakes rise, it's clear that a reckoning is coming... And someone is going to get hurt" --

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FICTION/Abdullah Kia
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Location Call Number   Status
1st Floor New Shelf FICTION/Abdullah Kia (NEW SHELF) Due Oct 21, 2023
New York : G.P. Putnam's Sons 2023.
Physical Description
340 pages ; 21 cm
Main Author
Kia Abdullah, 1982- (author)
Review by Booklist Review

Salma Khatun and her family needed a change, and relocating to London's safe, quiet suburbs seems like a good plan. The subdivision is full of cookie-cutter homes, but the neighbors seem friendly--until next-door neighbor Tom Hutton knocks a Black Lives Matter banner out of the Khatun's garden. Salma sees it happen, but she hangs the banner in their window. The next morning, the window is covered in paint, obscuring the banner, and she's sure that Tom is the culprit. Tom insists that he's enforcing the subdivision's rules against signage, but Salma notices that Tom isn't concerned with their white neighbors who have small banners or signs outside their homes. This confrontation kicks off a series of increasingly disturbing events, and as Tom's behavior becomes more threatening, the Khatuns fear for their safety--and their lives. Abdullah (Next of Kin, 2021) ratchets up the suspense throughout. Each new act of violence or harassment is more twisted than the last, culminating in a final-act twist that will leave readers gasping. Fans of domestic-suspense novels by Alyssa Cole and Louise Candlish will be enthralled.

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission. Review by Kirkus Book Review

When the Bangladeshi Khatun family moves to a new London suburb, an incident with their white next-door neighbors escalates into tragedy and catastrophe. Welcome to Blenheim: There are homes with perfect lawns, "neat streets and perfectly nice neighbors." Despite financial difficulties in the wake of the pandemic, Salma and Bilal Khatun have moved there out of concern for their 18-year-old son, Zain, who's gotten into trouble at school. At a May Day barbecue they're invited to in their first week, there are undertones of discomfort in the words of their mostly white neighbors, but, exhaustingly, that's nothing unexpected--but then Salma sees her next-door neighbor Tom Hutton deliberately knock over the Black Lives Matter banner they've displayed in their yard. She brings it inside and hangs it in the window--only to find the next morning that the pane has been painted over. When she confronts Tom and his pregnant wife, Willa, about the vandalism, things quickly get out of hand, and Zain films the confrontation. Of course, the recording ends up on Twitter, leading to Tom's being fired and Salma's dog being stolen. Even a burgeoning friendship between Zain and Jamie Hutton can't mend the rift, and soon, a second confrontation between the two families gets physical. Trapped in a spiral of pain and resentment, and spurred on by social media and the political climate, soon one of them will be on trial for attempted murder, and all their lives will be forever altered. While thrillers can certainly offer social commentary, there is little "thrill" to be had in this novel. Instead, it's a gritty, uncomfortable story about the ravages of racism. One cannot remain passive in the face of this novel, and the ending lets no one off the hook. Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.