This Place Is Still Beautiful

XiXi Tian

Young Adult

Racism, Social Justice, Contemporary

June 7th, 2022

Two sisters. A shocking racist incident. The summer that will change both of their lives forever.

Despite having had near-identical upbringings, sisters Annalie and Margaret agree on only one thing: that they have nothing in common. Nineteen-year-old Margaret is driven, ambitious, and keenly aware of social justice issues. She couldn't wait to leave their oppressive small-town home and take flight in New York. Meanwhile sweet, popular, seventeen-year-old Annalie couldn't think of anything worse - she loves their town, and feels safe coasting along in its confines.

That is, until she arrives home one day to find a gut-punching racial slur painted on their garage door.

Outraged, Margaret flies home, expecting to find her family up in arms. Instead, she's amazed to hear they want to forget about it. Their mom is worried about what it might stir up, and Annalie just wants to have a 'normal' summer - which Margaret is determined to ruin, apparently.

Back under each other's skins, things between Margaret and Annalie get steadily worse - and not even the distraction of first love (for Annalie), or lost love (for Margaret) can bring them together.

Until finally, a crushing secret threatens to tear them apart forever.

A beautiful and powerful story about race, family, and the secrets we keep.

This Place Is Still Beautiful