The Light on Halsey Street

Thomas Nelson. Sept. 2023. 368p. ISBN 9780840709936. pap. $17.99. CF
Dana Jones is just trying to survive in 1985 Brooklyn, which is a tough task while having a cocaine-addicted mother and a boyfriend who’s a petty thief. Her best friend Lisa Whitaker lives just around the block but has a fairy-tale life and dreams of making a difference in her predominately African American Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood. One fateful night sets both young women on a path that seems unchangeable—one to prison, the other to college. Jumping ahead in time, Miller (Something Good) explores how one bad decision can change a life forever, but she also brings the main characters plenty of chances for redemption. Bedford-Stuyvesant, at once tight-knit and fractured, is practically a main character in this women’s fiction offering, and many will recognize similar ebbs and flows in their own cities.
VERDICT Friendship and the power of community are the shining stars of this novel, which doesn’t shy away from tough issues but also offers a hefty dose of hope and humor. Read-alikes include Lean on Me by Pat Simmons and No One Ever Asked by Katie Ganshert.
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