Book Review: Arboria Park by Kate Tyler Wall

Kate Tyler Wall's novel Arboria Park  is not a genre I'd normally pick to read. My favorite novels are, and always have be...

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Kate Tyler Wall's novel Arboria Park is not a genre I'd normally pick to read. My favorite novels are, and always have been, thrillers and suspense, and maybe some fantasy/science fiction thrown in. Instead, Arboria Park is a novel that's set from 1960 to (almost) present day. The novel focuses on Stacy Halloran, who has lived in a 1950s housing development (Arboria Park, of course) her entire life. It's in this neighborhood that Stacy learns an array of life lessons, and comes into her own as a girl and a woman.

I've definitely tried to get outside of my comfort zone this year with the books I'm reading and I'm really glad I have. While other genres may not grip me the way my beloved thrillers do, I'm still really enjoying reading things that I wouldn't normally choose.

I was really surprised with the story line of the novel - from interracial relationships, to same-sex relationships, the punk scene, and more, this definitely isn't what I expected from a novel starting in the 60s and forward. I was pleased with the characters - they portrayed girl power and fighting for what they believe in. The novel took place over some 50-odd years, but it did so in a way that was not overwhelming, but also provided all the information you needed.

I also really enjoyed the two chapters from the viewpoints of Autumn and Ruby (Stacy's nieces). Those chapters were a nice way to see from the perspectives of following generations, and a reminder that we're all teenagers at some point, and while the world is ever-changing, there are some things that don't really change. We have so many of the same issues as teenagers that our parents and our parents' parents had.

The characters were likeable. Yes, there were issues and some drama, but normal realistic drama - not any of that soapy stuff. In fact, most of the issues had happy endings or happy lessons - it basically said "Yes, bad stuff can happen, but it's not the end of the world. Keep going and you'll find your way."

I was really pleased with this book. It felt like something I would've read in ninth grade lit - full of lessons and things to analyze.

If you're looking for a fast read (less than 300 pages) that makes you feel warm and fuzzy in the end, Arboria Park is for you. This novel sums up what it means to be part of a community, to feel a sense of belonging, and reminds you that home really is where the heart is.

I received this novel free from Booksparks in exchange for an honest review, however, all opinions, as always, are 100% my own.

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