Member Reviews

Within the massive NYC, this story is about a group of friends in Nothar Park that have immigrated from the Dominican Republic. From the beautiful mountains to the blue oceans that they once knew in the DR, they were now feeling the constant agony from loud noises, crowded streets and crime in NYC. But this book shows that within the insanity of big city living, there's a sense of personal wholeness and peace being with those you love.

The main character, Luz, wakes up to a pounding demolition close by. Then when she gets to work, she finds out that for whatever reason, she has lost her job as a lawyer in a large firm. Luz lived with her adored Mami and Papi who supported her way through Harvard and Columbia Law School. She was also close to a mentor, Raenna, who said, "I know you're meant for bigger things." It's the line they always use during exit interviews. The big question was: what were her plans? Her Mami was anxious for her to take a new job that was offered. "The people who love you the most are the ones who will do their best to control you." Yet, would her wealthy new boyfriend, Hudson, offer something more exciting?

Reading this story was like taking a wild ride in a cab around NYC traveling at high speeds and at times screeching on the brakes. Sometimes I would have to reread sections and slow down to understand what was happening. It addressed relationships, prejudice, crime and health issues. There was a good sense from this book what it would be like to be an immigrant from the DR with the ongoing fears many have had from ICE storming into a home. At one point, Luz asked her dad, "Do you ever regret the way your life turned out?" I suspect this made many readers pause.

My thanks to Cleyvis Natera, Ballantine Books and NetGalley for allowing me to read this advanced copy with an expected release date of May 17, 2022.

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If you enjoyed Into the Heights, you may also like this one. This one was another read about family and about following your dreams. Add in a twist of romance and you create quite the combo. Thank you for the opportunity to read this one!

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I did not finish this book, I got tired of the vulgar language. The story line is okay. Why should the word F__K always be a response? I can have a conversation and never use that word. Of all the English language is there not enough words to use instead of that?

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Neruda on the Park by Cleyvis Natera drew me in quickly. This is a story about a family living in the U.S. for many years after immigrating from the Dominican Republic. Although she is a successful attorney, Luz is still living with her parents in the apartment she grew up in surrounded by a tight knit community of Dominican neighbors. Her father, Vladimir dreams of retiring from his job with the police department and returning to the Dominican Republic, while her mother, Eusebia, decides to lead a fight against gentrification in their neighborhood. In the midst of this, Luz struggles through a career crisis. Luz must decide if she wants a future that makes her happy or pleases her parents, especially her mother. Her mentor/boss is coaching her toward a strategic career move and her new, amazing boyfriend is pushing for a different choice altogether.

That is all I can say without giving away too much, and there certainly is a lot going on in this story. I certainly enjoyed reading this book.

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I requested to read and review this book for free from Ballantinr Books an Imprint of Random House. This book had drama, romance and mystery. The characters each how their own feeling to changes the neighborhood. How some think has needed to happen a while ago, some think great idea ans where others thinglk change is bad. Each person has the right to their opinion l. But the question remains what you do or how you brace it makes part of your future. Are people easily influenced or deep down that part of ourselves was always there. How far is it far? Does changes equal safety and equality? This book is for a mature reader and can be read anywhere!

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I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher.

Where is home? Is it a place, feeling, structure, community? Is it all of these? What would you give to live in the place you feel is your home? This is a story of a Dominican immigrants who live in NYC. A place where other Dominican immigrants have settled. A place where the culture is alive and thriving, even if the residents struggle against racism, poor living conditions and few opportunities to move on from the community even if they want to.

Luz is a high powered associate at a law firm when the rug is pulled out from under her. She graduated from Harvard and then Columbia Law. She now faces a different future than the one she envisioned. What’s more, she may not want any part of that dream as she moves forward. That’s problematic as she and her father are building a home in the DR which they believe is where Eusebia, Vladimir’s wife and Luz’s mother, wishes to return to. Luz’s job has provided the money necessary to build that home.

Eusebia has no such dream. When the unoccupied tenement across from theirs is demolished for bougie condos Eusebia decides she must prevent the project from moving forward. Her community is everything to her. Her behavior changes wildly. Her choices are off the chart. She recruits members of the community to help her carry out questionable, dangerous and frankly illegal actions. The “tongues” notice, but say nothing. Vladimir is too busy with work and the new home to pay much attention. Luz has no time for her mother as she has embarked on a relationship with Hudson, whose family is developing the new residences. He comes from money, power and privilege.

Eusebia’s story of her life in the DR is compelling, but it is not exactly what has brought her to carry out her plan to destroy Neruda On The Park. Luz’s story has too many stereotypes. Vladimir’s story is told mostly by Eusebia so we learn only what she wants us to know. None of these characters is likable or sympathetic.

The author is Dominican. I was hoping for a story that really gave me insight into how this community formed in NYC. What brought people here to settle. What are their stories. There is certainly a lot of detail given to the cooking and serving of traditional foods, but only Eusebia’s story, told in pieces, told late in the book gave me that insight.

I gave the book a 4, but round it down for the stories not told, the stereotypes too easily used and the “wrap it up” ending.

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This is one of those beautifully written stories about the difficult and all too common realities that families and communities face with ongoing gentrification.

What becomes known as Neruda on the Park is the threat that lurks throughout the whole story. As gentrification closes in on Nothar Park, a predominantly Dominican part of NYC, Luz, her family, and community are faced with uncertain futures and varying opinions on how to move forward. Luz’s mother Eusebia decides she knows what’s best and enlists the community to take actions to fight against being displaced. She believes she’s doing the right thing, but her plan has consequences for everyone.

Meanwhile, Luz’s father Vladmir excitedly plans in secret to build a retirement home in the Dominican Republic for him and his wife to enjoy. Luz is also thinking of a life beyond Nothar Park after she is fired from her law firm and meets a wealthy white man.

Cleyvis did a great job packing so much life into this story. It’s shocking how deep this book is with only 336 pages. I left this book feeling like I knew the family and community so well. There’s so much I could say about the relationships in this story. Especially the changes and parallels in the mother daughter relationship.

This is truly a story about family, community, and how far some will go to protect those they love.

Thank you to NetGalley and Ballantine for the eARC

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A very emotional story of family dynamics. The discovery of how are parents and culture can cause us to act and react to changing life situations. The neighborhood characters were very real.
I found it implausible that people would fall into the crazy schemes to preserve their neighborhood.
Enjoyed the book. Thank you NetGalley!

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I received this book as an ARC and this is my review. This story highlights the life and strife of a family and their neighbors who moved to New York from the Dominican Republic. The characters are flawed and their lives are filled with drama as their beloved neighborhood is besieged by gentrification and its ultimate goal is determined. I recommend this book to readers who enjoy the gritty and gutsy taste of daily life turned upside down.

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Neruda on the Park is a story of Puerto Rican families that have come to America and settled into their own small community. Where they have lived, loved and have their own sense of pride of country past and the future.
When rich white Americans come in and want to tear down everything the older generation holds near and dear to their heart.
And one woman takes it upon herself to stop it.
The storyline dragged for me, but added all together this book is a good book.
#NeudaonthePark
#NetGalley

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This story about Dominican immigrants in New York City alarmed by the gentrification of their neighborhood is captivating as it draws you deep into the emotional turmoil within the Guerrero family - mother, father and grown daighter - as they face major life changes.

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Neruda On the Park by Cleyvis Natera


Neruda on the Park follows the members of a Dominican family who have lived in New York City for more than 20 years. Demolition begins in a near by tenement and the Guerreros and others, are not too happy about a new luxuary condo right next door. This means their close-knit community is about to change. Though daughter Lux, starts to date the handsome head of the construction company and is all for luxuary. This is a really good story about family, gentrification and what really makes a home. Thank you Netgalley for the advanced readers copy in exchange for my review.

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This is a complex, character driven, culturally forward debut novel. Eusebia and Vladimir immigrated to the U.S. from the Dominican Republis when their daughter, Luz was in the third grade, 20 years ago. Vladimir is now eagerly having a home built back in the DR for their retirement, while Eusebia has unvoiced reservations about leaving. When a tenement building is torn down across the street from their apartment in Nothar Park, NY, Eusebia joins forces with her friends and neighbors to fight against gentrification of their neighborhood. She strongly feels the need to preserve and protect their families and their community at almost all costs. At the same time, Luz, who is now a successful lawyer, is questioning her past and future career choices and a romantic relationship that has blossomed with a developer of the new condo project across the street that will displace many residents in her neighborhood.

The novel slowly wends its way through the mother/daughter conflict between Eusebia and Luz. Late in the story though, the action begins to pick up speed like a runaway train. The author does a good job of taking the reader on an emotional journey with the characters. You can viscerally feel their anxieties and desperation; their feelings of hopelessness and sadness. I was personally not enamored with some of the outcomes of the story or the direction of the problem resolutions, but I think that this would be a good discussion book for Book Clubs.

My sincere thanks to NetGalley and Random House Publishing Group - Ballantine for giving me the opportunity to read a digital ARC of this book in return for an honest review. I will post my review on Goodreads, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble closer to the publication date.

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It took Cleyvis Natera 15 years to write this book. And it was time well spent. So beautifully written with characters that seem to jump off the pages, this novel makes you wish you were part of that Dominican neighborhood.
The story of Luz and Eusebia is so very compelling.. A mother and daughter who so love one another but are often at odds. This alone transcends all races and religions. It's an age old story. And how does one stop change from coming to a NYC neighborhood? This is the crux of this book. All that happens to the many characters revolves around this dilemma.
I was enchanted with this story from the very beginning. And was completely satisfied with how it unfolded, even though I found some of it disturbing.
I highly recommend this book.

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Thank you for the advanced copy of this book! I will be posting my review on social media, to include Instagram, Amazon, Goodreads, and Instagram!

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I finished reading Neruda on the Park a week or so ago, and I have been thinking about it ever since. Luz Guerrero is the daughter of Domincan immigrant parents. They live in Northar Park, an immigrant community in NYC, which is undergoing significant changes due to gentrification. Throughout the book, we, the readers, get to "watch" a large new housing complex go up, threatening the existing housing of the long term residents of the Park. Luz, a double Ivy League grad, works in Big Law, with its grueling hours, unreasonable demands, and opulent displays of wealth.

Natera does a beautiful job of showing Luz with a foot in two worlds, trying to make sense of her place and her call in the world, as well as illustrating the double edge sword of redevelopment. The story and its structure are compelling and unique. The author has choses poignant and meaningful names for her characters. Some of the names alone tell a story. For example, there's Luz Guerrero, a light in the community and a warrior; and her mother Eusebia (from Greek meaning spiritual maturity or godliness) who gives and gives and gives to others. Natera has also cleverly structured the book like a building project: Demolition, Excavation, and Grounding. Not do you read about the demotion, construction and completion of the new building through the eyes of the residents of Nothar Park, as the reader you also get to witncess Luz's and Eusebia's character arcs follow this structure. The structure lends a poetic quality to the writing.

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Neruda on the Park by Cleyvis Natera is a book everyone is going to be talking about this year, I can already tell. 

This book follows Luz and her mother Eusebia as their mostly Dominican neighborhood in NYC is threatened by gentrification. When construction starts on a building of luxury condos across the way, everyone in their building is told to move out or pay up because their building is going to be taken over too. Eusebia, quiet and constantly serving others her while life, decides they need to fight back. Luz, content to go with the status quo, is not so sure.

The neighborhood take over was fascinating, but the inner turmoil the characters went through is what really sold it for me. Each character is fighting their own battles and the language flowing through out the book captured it beautifully. I will definitely be recommending this one!

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A beautiful exploration of what makes us who we are, and how our parents' choices affect our lives more than we could ever think.
A neighborhood of Dominican immigrants faces the destruction of life as they know it as developers move in. A group of ladies called "The Tongues" join forces with Eusebia to make it known that they will not be allowing change to come to their territory, and they go about it in quite interesting ways.
Luz, Eusebia's daughter, has recently lost her job as a successful attorney, and cannot decide what she wants to do with her life, much to Eusebia's chagrin. She happens to meet a man named Hudson whom she quickly falls for, despite the fact that he is a developer for the construction outfit demolishing a building in her neighborhood and causing her mother-and many other residents-so much grief.
What Eusebia doesn't know is that Luz and her father, Vladimir, have been secretly building a "dream home" for Eusebia (and Vladimir) back home in the Dominican Republic. Though Eusebia has always talked about "returning home", in truth she has decided she no longer wants to go back to the Dominican Republic. She loves her home and wants to stay exactly where she is.
Codependency, secrets, love, and loss are explored in a journey toward figuring out exactly where our REAL home lies, and what that means for different people. And what happens when the plans you had for your life totally fly out the window and force you to really look around at your life and where you are, to find out where you're meant to go.
This book was so beautifully written, you felt like you were right there with the characters, feeling and seeing what they felt and saw.

Thanks, NetGalley, for the eARC of this beautiful book.

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Neruda on the Park gave me insight to the Dominican Republic customs and what it' like for people from there to come to the U.S. for an opportunity to get an education and better jobs after completing an education. It tells us about a family who came to New York after her husband arrived first to secure a job in the police department. Sure is came with her daughter Luz who was her only living child after having lost her child at birth. Luz was a Harvard Law school graduate who landed a job in a prestigious law firm. Circumstances had it that her job didn't last. She lived in a section of New York called Jerusalem on the Park where Spanish people lived. A large corporation was set to demolish the apartments and rebuild them into condo's. Hudson who was a billionaire and in charge of the project fell in love with Luz. There is so much more to the story that I highly recommend this book.
I have received this book free from Arc and I am leaving this honest review of my own accord.

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A debut novel, the author paints a picture of immigrant life in New York City. The characters are described so clearly that the narrative is vivid. Add in the fact that the life trajectories of each person are so different, and the reader has a captivating plot that you will be reluctant to put down.

Ms. Natera, thank you for taking us along on a plot that twists and turns and leaves the reader holding on for more.

I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

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