Saturday, September 2, 2023

The Light on Halsey Street by Vanessa Miller: Book Review

 *Book received for consideration. All thoughts are my own.

Two girls’ lives are irrevocably intertwined the summer of 1985 in the streets of Brooklyn, New York, and neither will ever be the same in this coming-of-age story that spans decades.

In the summer of 1985, Lisa Whitaker is a church kid headed to college on a scholarship while her best friend, Dana, is floundering in the wake of her mother’s latest eviction. Though Lisa tries to help, their paths diverge. Fifteen years later, Lisa has a beautiful family and is stepping into her dream job as the director for a social services organization. Everything is going right—until her future is snatched away by identity theft. Her life begins to unravel, and Lisa wants nothing more than to see the woman responsible pay for her crimes.

When she was a teenager, Dana Jones always felt alone in this world. Her mother was addicted to drugs, her boyfriend was entering a life of crime, and it seemed Dana, too, was heading down the wrong path. The only bright light was her friendship with Lisa. Now, in the new millennium, Dana finally gives herself permission to dream—to believe she is stepping into better days. But when the betrayal of their friendship comes to light, it will take a lifetime to forgive the destruction that youthful summer in Bed-Stuy set in motion.

In this latest story from beloved author Vanessa Miller, two girls from the Bed-Stuy neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York, find that their paths have been woven together by the love of community and a friendship that is tested by time, betrayal, and unforgiveness.

Vanessa Miller is a bestselling author, with several books appearing on ESSENCE Magazine's Bestseller List. She has also been a Black Expressions Book Club alternate pick and #1 on BCNN/BCBC Bestseller List. Most of Vanessa's published novels depict characters who are lost and in need of redemption. The books have received countless favorable reviews: "Heartwarming, drama-packed and tender in just the right places" (Romantic Times book review) and "Recommended for readers of redemption stories" (Library Journal). Visit her online at; Twitter: @Vanessamiller01; Instagram: @authorvanessamiller; Facebook: @Vanessamiller01.

I'm not quite sure what I expected from this book... but I know I can certainly say that it was quite different than what I got! Right away it quickly took on a quite serious tone--- more so than what I was expecting with talk of drugs and such. I think based on the cover, I expected it to be a slightly lighter growing up story than it was, though that certainly wasn't a bad thing at all...just different than anticipated. 

This story covers the span of decades, alternating between POVs of these two friends and occasionally flashing back to something that had happened in the past. I must admit that there were a few times where I had to take a moment to figure out who was who and where were we in the story, as POV seemed to change abruptly on occasion. That definitely could have been more of a me thing though. Still, despite that, I found this story to be very well done. I found myself drawn into these characters lives even when I wasn't agreeing with the decisions that they were making, and more than a few times found myself tearing up too. It was a beautiful story of friendship, growing up and forgiveness with beautiful messages of faith weaved in. 


Post a Comment

"Pleasant words are as a honeycomb: sweet to the soul and health to the bones." Proverbs 16:24