Review – Other Side of the Tracks by: Charity Alyse

This lilting and riveting young adult debut novel about three teens entangled by secret love, open hatred, and the invisible societal constraints wrapped around people both Black and white is perfect for readers of All American Boys and The Hate U Give.

There is an unspoken agreement between the racially divided towns of Bayside and Hamilton: no one steps over the train tracks that divide them. Or else.

Not until Zach Whitman anyway, a white boy who moves in from Philly and who dreams of music. When he follows his dream across the tracks to meet his idol, the famous jazz musician who owns The Sunlight Record Shop in Hamilton, he’s flung into Capri Collins’s path.

Capri has big plans: she wants to follow her late mother’s famous footsteps, dancing her way onto Broadway, and leaving this town for good, just like her older brother, Justin, is planning to do when he goes off to college next year. As sparks fly, Zach and Capri realize that they can help each other turn hope into a reality, even if it means crossing the tracks to do it.

But one tragic night changes everything. When Justin’s friend, the star of Hamilton’s football team, is murdered by a white Bayside police officer, the long-standing feud between Bayside and Hamilton becomes an all-out war. And Capri, Justin, and Zach are right in the middle of it.

“Just like Mama said, even dim stars could be wished upon.”
– Pg. 164

I feel like I learned so many lessons while reading this book. Not only did it feel like an old “Civil War” era at times where dark-skin Americans and light-skin Americans were separated, but the book felt gritty. I mean that in the best, eye-opening way. These struggles are still what children go through in communities every day.

I absolutely adored Zach throughout this book. I feel like even though he knows he came from a “rougher” part of Philly, he embraced it and took joy in it developing who he was as a person. I also love that he stands up for everything and everyone he believes in regardless of the consequences.

With Capri and Justin our siblings, I felt things for both their story arcs for different reasons. With Capri, I loved watching her grow and become more confident. Watching her and Zach together and trying to defy all odds was awe-inspiring. With Justin, his character arc sort of went the other direction, however I understood each decision he was making whether I agreed with it or not.

The only reason I knocked the book a star, was because I felt the beginning took me a little bit to get into the story. There is a lot of learning who these three characters are and where they come from. However, once all three of our MC’s stories collide… I could not put it down.

Charity absolutely crafted a story that will stay with you long after you’ve finished the pages. So many parts of this book are heartbreaking even while you root for the best to happen. It also shocks (and slightly scares me) that this type of story (situations) still happen in real life. I only hope that like in her book, we as humans grow and learn to accept everyone.

– 4 out of 5 splatters –

Published by Jena Freeth

30. Boy mom. Book lover. Fitness junkie. Shopaholic.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: