Title: Arboria Park
Author: Katherine Tyler Wall
Publisher: She Writes Press
Release Date: May 2, 2017
Stacy Halloran is the youngest of four. When she is a young girl, her older sister, Mary, has to get married at 18. Her sister is pregnant, so her parents force her to marry her boyfriend, though she isn’t sure if she loves him. They move into an area close to their home in Arboria Park, but not as nice. Stacy loves wandering around the neighbourhood and looking at the architecture. When she meets Greg, a boy she really likes, all she does is talk about the houses in Arboria Park. Though her friend thinks it’s strange, it makes Greg fall in love with her. The story follows the perspectives of Stacy, as she grows from a child to an adult, as well as her nieces Autumn and Rosie in their journeys through life in Arboria Park.
I really enjoyed this story. It is setting driven, which is not as common as plot or character driven. The story revolves around the neighbourhood of Arboria Park. Though Stacy is the main focus of the story, it also shows how the neighbourhood grew through the eyes of her nieces Autumn and Rosie. Even though Autumn and Rosie are sisters, there are so many years between them that they’re almost from different generations.
An important part of the story is the way that music influenced the lives of all three women. Stacy and Autumn mark major points in their lives through the music they listened to or created. Music also helps Rosie find her place in the world, by looking at biracial women in rock music.
The character list started out small, with just Stacy’s immediate family: her parents, her sister Mary, and her brothers, Tom and Mark. It slowly branched off into each of the siblings’ families. It was a little complicated with so many characters at the end, but I liked the way that it demonstrated the way a family grows.
This story is a realistic look at how the Halloran family grew with the times, from welcoming people of multiple races into the family, as well as same-sex couples. They also have one family member who doesn’t agree with the way the family has accepted these “different” people because they are not white and heterosexual. I liked this modern look at how families, and neighbourhoods, have changed over time.