What’s Mine and Yours

Grand Central. Mar. 2021. 352p. ISBN 9781538702345. $28. F
Set in an unnamed town in the Piedmont region of North Carolina, this work repeats some characteristics and themes of Coster’s successful debut novel, Halsey Street. Neither book has a strictly linear narrative, and both stories span several decades, with the narrative shared among several characters. Here, the stories are split between two families whose lives intersect dramatically when the county school system decides to integrate a predominantly white school. The repercussions of this action reverberate for both families as they encounter obstacles and are beset by tragedies. Each family is led by a strong woman struggling to protect her children, and even as the two women face off on opposite sides of the integration debate, their children—Gee, a sensitive young Black man, and Noelle, a headstrong young woman—are drawn together and thus draw together their families.
VERDICT Deploying multiple voices does diminish the depth of character development, but Coster’s cast of characters is unique, creating a tapestry that allows the various individuals to explore a past they may try to escape but can’t leave behind completely. Despite its sprawling time line and multiple perspectives, the novel remains an intimate portrait of families shaped by love, motherhood, race, and class.

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