Genre: Literary Fiction
Length: 352 pages
Audiobook Length: 12 hours and 15 minutes
First Published: 2021
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In Piedmont, North Carolina, Jade and Lacey May are mothers who just want the best in life for their children. After an altercation ends in a shooting, Jade’s son Gee grows up without a father. Meanwhile, when Lacey May’s husband goes to prison, she must do whatever it takes to provide for her three daughters. When a county initiative to bring kids from the west side of town into a predominantly white school on the east side, Jade and Lacey May find themselves at odds leading to choices that will last decades for their children, Gee and Nicole.
What’s Mine and Yours is extremely literary, playing with structure in unfortunate ways. The disjointed narrative jumps all over the place, from Jade and Lacey May’s backstory to Gee and Nicole in high school and finally Nicole as an adult. You get a chapter told from almost every character’s perspective, even the inconsequential side characters. The disjointed storytelling meant the narrative was always meandering and so the story didn’t keep my attention for long.
A sweeping novel of legacy, identity, the American family, and the ways that race affects even our most intimate relationships.
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.
About Naima Coster
Naima Coster is the author of Halsey Street and What’s Mine and Yours. She currently lives in Brooklyn. Visit the author’s website →