With warmth and empathy, this multigenerational novel traces the lives of two families in a divided Southern community.
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A community in the Piedmont of North Carolina rises in outrage as a county initiative draws students from the largely Black east side of town into predominantly white high schools on the west. For two students, Gee and Noelle, the integration sets off a chain of events that will tie their two families together in unexpected ways over the span of the next twenty years.
On one side of the integration debate is Jade, Gee's steely, ambitious mother. In the aftermath of a harrowing loss, she is determined to give her son the tools he'll need to survive in America as a sensitive, anxious, young Black man. On the other side is Noelle's headstrong mother, Lacey May, a white woman who refuses to see her half-Latina daughters as anything but white. She strives to protect them as she couldn't protect herself from the influence of their charming but unreliable father, Robbie.
When Gee and Noelle join the school play meant to bridge the divide between new and old students, their paths collide, and their two seemingly disconnected families begin to form deeply knotted, messy ties that will shape the trajectory of their adult lives. And their mothers—each determined to see her child inherit a better life—will make choices that will haunt them for decades to come.
As love is built and lost, and the past never too far behind, What's Mine and Yours is an expansive, vibrant tapestry that moves between the years, from the foothills of North Carolina, to Atlanta, Los Angeles, and Paris. It explores the unique organism that is every family: what breaks them apart and how they come back together.
Why I love it
Jenna Bush Hager
Co-host, TODAY with Hoda & Jenna
What’s Mine and Yours by Naima Coster is a sweeping, fresh new novel. It is the story of two American families, specifically two mothers, each fighting for a better future for their kids. As a mother myself, I related to moms Lacey May and Jade’s fierce love for their children, even when they made mistakes. Nobody understands us like our families, even when imperfect.
Set in Piedmont, North Carolina, Lacey May and Jade find themselves on opposite ends of a debate when their community begins to bring students from the largely Black east side of town into high schools on the predominantly white west side. Lacey May’s daughter, Noelle, and Jade’s son, Gee, cross paths while participating in the school play meant to bring the students together. As their lives become irreparably tied together, their mothers make choices that will haunt each of them into their adult lives. What starts in their small North Carolina town expands into other places for decades to come showing how families rise and fall together.
The story is epic in scope. It is about understanding the demons and the hardships that come before us and how they affect our lives. It will spark conversations around race, identity, and what it means to belong in our families, schools, and communities while racial differences, misunderstandings, and personal tragedies create chasms between us.