Dangerous Neighbors by Beth Kephart

Beth Kephart‘s Dangerous Neighbors, which hits stores on August 24, is set in 1876 in Philadelphia on the verge of the 100th anniversary of the birth of the United States as two sisters, twins, struggle with changes in their relationship and find the ability to fly on their own.

Katherine and Anna may be twins, but they are very different with Anna considered the beauty and adventurous one and Katherine as the dependable protector.  As adolescence hits and Anna falls in love with the baker’s son, Bennett, the relationship between the girls changes, forcing Katherine to make tough choices and keep secrets.  Anna is like the Schuylkill River near Philadelphia in that she winds her way through a society on the cusp of change and modernity.  She takes the plunge even though her love for the Bennett would be frowned upon by her family given his status in the city compared to that of her father, a banker.

“Nothing in this world is safe.  Clouds form.  Trees split.  Horses rear.  Ice breaks.  Fire rages.  Maybe the bird in that girl’s cage is better off, but then again, Katherine thinks, the cage could crack, the prison could itself perish, along with its prisoner.”  (Page 32 of ARC)

Dangerous Neighbors is told from Katherine’s point of view, which limits what the reader sees and hears from Anna’s perspective, but in this way, readers know the story is Katherine’s and not Anna’s.  Katherine must protect her wayward sister, or at least that’s the pressure she feels from her parents, particularly her father.  Their mother barely plays a role in their lives as she focuses all of her energy on the Centennial celebration and women’s rights.

While references are made to dangerous neighbors by her father and others in the book, readers will find that the true dangers lie in the decisions one makes about his or her own life and how those decisions can sometimes lead to unexpected tragedy.  Dangerous Neighbors is a young adult novel dealing with very adult themes of family, growing up, and moving past grief. Kephart’s attention to historical and descriptive detail will transport readers back in time, while tugging them along emotionally and with some suspense as Katherine unravels her tragic story.  Another delightful novel from Kephart, though readers may wish to see more of the mysterious William, who rescues Katherine from herself.

***I received my signed ARC of Dangerous Neighbors by Beth Kephart from Book Expo America.***


  1. Nancye Davis says

    I think this book sounds very interesting! I would enjoy reading it!

    nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net

  2. Nancye Davis says

    This book sounds very interesting and intriguing! This is a book I definitely want to read!

    nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net

  3. I’ve been hearing a lot about this author lately and I really must add her to my list. This story sounds very good and I wonder if she’ll also write another book but with the other sister’s viewpoint.

  4. Oh, I would have loved to have seen more of William! Funny how we still got such a strong sense of him, though, despite the fact that he had so very little facetime in the novel. Really enjoyed this one, too, and could see shades of my relationship with my own sister in the story.

  5. Sounds neat & lucky you for getting a signed ARC! 🙂

  6. this sounds really good, great review 🙂 I like when a book can transport me to a different time and place while reading.

  7. Lucky you getting to read this one. It sounds great. I have a few of her books to read – I just need to find some time!

  8. I have this one for a blog tour this month and I’m so looking forward to it as I’m a huge Kephart fan…sounds like a winner!

  9. Sounds good..and I love the cover. I’ve never read anything by this author before but sounds like several have and enjoyed her work.

  10. Okay, I’m definitely going to have to borrow this one!

  11. Hmm, I hadn’t yet heard of this book, so I am glad to have read your review. It does sound like it would be an interesting read for me, so I will be looking for it. Thanks for the great review!

    • I’m glad that I highlighted a good book that interests you. If you pick it up and read it, I hope you let me know if you review it.

  12. I am really looking forward to reading this book, so I’m glad to see you loved it!

  13. Beth is an amazing YA writer, but I was particularly tickled with the historical aspect of the book, which I was not expecting. I also loved the more subtle texture of the book. I guess I understood why Kephart didn’t give us more of William, but he was like a little beacon of light in the novel, wasn’t he? In my review (coming on the 27th) I called him a little blessing.

  14. Another gorgeous review from you, Serena. Thank you. And thank you for your William-related nudge, too. I will admit to having written William’s entire story and then pulling it back, to keep the focus more closely tuned toward the sisters, to not distract readers with broader themes. I will admit, too, to hoping for an opportunity to write the sequel to Dangerous Neighbors, which would be told from William’s point of view.

  15. You were so fortunate to get this ARC. She is such a talented writer. I look forward to reading this one when it comes to my library!