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In one West Philadelphia neighborhood, families come together in celebration of unity and togetherness. Their block parties provide a union that serves as a backdrop for discovering the truth about themselves and the people they think they know.

Best friends Neet and Shay have depended on each other for most of their lives. However, their friendship will be tested when Neet becomes pregnant by one of the corner boys and Shay arranges an abortion that goes terribly wrong.

To Shay's horror, Neet is left unable to bear children and embraces her mother's esoteric yet sometimes impractical religious beliefs as punishment for her sins.

Meanwhile, Shay is left to struggle with her own growing maturity, the grief of losing a cherished friendship, and the disintegration of her parents' marriage. The two girls eventually choose their own separate paths.Leaving Cecil Street invokes those things that are most important -- family, friendship, and love.

Published: HarperCollins on Oct 13, 2009
ISBN: 9780061875779
List price: $7.99
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I instantly fell in love with Cecil Street and its occupants. Cecil Street is full of life, fun times, and houses with closets full of skeletons. In 1969 West Philadelphia, Cecil Street is not insulated from the changes that are happening in the world surrounding it. Relationships and friendships alike are being challenged throughout Cecil Street. On Cecil Street, tensions are growing and skeletons are leaving the closets and heading to the street. Joe and Louise are that couple that is trying to re-establish their romantic footing because they have been together so long. Joe is charismatic and fun where Louise is mainly grouchy and bitter. Joe and Louise's daughter Shay is their balance. Shay and her best friend and life long neighbor, Bonita "Neet", are inseparable. Due to the consequences of choices that one friend makes, the innocence of Neet and Shay's friendship is ground down to a fine powder. Meanwhile, Joe has found an unhealthy distraction. The wildcard of Cecil Street is Neet's mother Alberta. Alberta has shunned the entire street since joining a radical religious sect. No one on Cecil Street, including her daughter, knows anything of Alberta's background. The answers that lead to Alberta's mysterious ways and life are hiding in Joe and Louise's basement.Cecil Street is made up of all kinds of people and places. The Barber Shop has an extra room where men can bring their girlfriends for an additional fee. BB's house doubles as a place where women can rid themselves of an unplanned pregnancy. The Beauty Shop is one real live social networking stop. McKinney-Whetstone has developed characters in layers and present life situations to the reader in such a delicate way. I would say this is a refined, well paced, and well put together story. McKinney-Whetstone went to the heart of women. She dealt with our multi-faceted insecurities in Louise and Alberta. For the younger readers she showed the dynamics of a true friendship with Shay and Neet. Neet has to deal with the anguish of emotional and sexual abuse. Alberta's life could be another story in and of itself. Alberta shows how women sometime wear a mask or throw ourselves into a movement or jobs instead of dealing with the problems of past and present. The complexity of the characters is phenomenal and yet McKinney-Whetstone makes you love and care about them. Storytelling like this is rare. The ending is shockingly beautiful and redeeming.read more
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Reviews

I instantly fell in love with Cecil Street and its occupants. Cecil Street is full of life, fun times, and houses with closets full of skeletons. In 1969 West Philadelphia, Cecil Street is not insulated from the changes that are happening in the world surrounding it. Relationships and friendships alike are being challenged throughout Cecil Street. On Cecil Street, tensions are growing and skeletons are leaving the closets and heading to the street. Joe and Louise are that couple that is trying to re-establish their romantic footing because they have been together so long. Joe is charismatic and fun where Louise is mainly grouchy and bitter. Joe and Louise's daughter Shay is their balance. Shay and her best friend and life long neighbor, Bonita "Neet", are inseparable. Due to the consequences of choices that one friend makes, the innocence of Neet and Shay's friendship is ground down to a fine powder. Meanwhile, Joe has found an unhealthy distraction. The wildcard of Cecil Street is Neet's mother Alberta. Alberta has shunned the entire street since joining a radical religious sect. No one on Cecil Street, including her daughter, knows anything of Alberta's background. The answers that lead to Alberta's mysterious ways and life are hiding in Joe and Louise's basement.Cecil Street is made up of all kinds of people and places. The Barber Shop has an extra room where men can bring their girlfriends for an additional fee. BB's house doubles as a place where women can rid themselves of an unplanned pregnancy. The Beauty Shop is one real live social networking stop. McKinney-Whetstone has developed characters in layers and present life situations to the reader in such a delicate way. I would say this is a refined, well paced, and well put together story. McKinney-Whetstone went to the heart of women. She dealt with our multi-faceted insecurities in Louise and Alberta. For the younger readers she showed the dynamics of a true friendship with Shay and Neet. Neet has to deal with the anguish of emotional and sexual abuse. Alberta's life could be another story in and of itself. Alberta shows how women sometime wear a mask or throw ourselves into a movement or jobs instead of dealing with the problems of past and present. The complexity of the characters is phenomenal and yet McKinney-Whetstone makes you love and care about them. Storytelling like this is rare. The ending is shockingly beautiful and redeeming.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
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