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In Uptown, when money, power, and real estate are at stake, family bonds and loyalties are strained to the breaking point.

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Uptown: A Novel

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In Uptown, when money, power, and real estate are at stake, family bonds and loyalties are strained to the breaking point.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
DeBerry and Grant (Exposures) continue both their ongoing love affair with Harlem and the story of the Dixon real estate empire in this smart and compelling tale of how selfishness and avarice can destroy a family’s work and reputation. Dwight Dixon takes the reins from his elderly father, “King” Dixon, moving the family real estate holdings to the big-time New York stage with the development of Dixon Plaza on Central Park North, a controversial development aimed at transforming Harlem. But problems abound: defective Chinese drywall, cheap fixtures and myriad changes to the project. Then Dwight’s cousin, Avery Lyons, returns to tend to the affairs of her dead mother and an uneasy and disturbing past is revealed that causes the empire to crumble. DeBerry and Grant capture timely and increasingly universal themes with this dramatic, epic and often tragic story of triumph and failure. New York and Harlem come alive and the occasional stereotypical characters and a few contrived situations are minor quibbles with a novel that is both relevant and entertaining (Mar.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780594465430
  • Publisher: Touchstone
  • Publication date: 3/2/2010
  • Pages: 331
  • Product dimensions: 5.30 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Virginia DeBerry was a successful plus-size model, former Vice President of BB/LW modeling agency and served as editor-in-chief of Maxima magazine before becoming a novelist. DeBerry is a graduate of the State University of New York at Buffalo. She currently resides in central New Jersey.

Donna Grant spent more than a decade as a model for catalogs and advertisements. Grant has been featured on the pages of Essence, McCalls, Family Circle, and Woman's Day, as well as appeared on Good Morning America, and Live with Regis and Kathy Lee. Grant served as the Managing Editor of Maxima before her writing career. A Brooklyn native, she is a graduate of New York University and still lives in the borough with her husband.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 11 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 11 Customer Reviews
  • Posted August 1, 2010


    Trying to sleep in the bed you made was one of the best books i have ever read so when i saw this book was written by the same authors i was so excited.I ended up very disappointed.The books starts off very slow with a very weak plot it picks up a little bit in the middle but for the most part a very boring read.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 8, 2010

    Overall a good book

    The book had a VERY slow start and this is something I am not use to when it comes to a DeBerry and Grant book. However, midway through the book picks up and is worth the read. This is a great book for book clubs.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 9, 2010

    A Different Story

    Avery Lyons left New York twenty years ago after a family inquisition placed her directly in the firing zone. With no one to protect her from the very people she assumed would have her back or at least one person; she walks away only to return when her mom is in a terrible accident. With no choice but to return to New York and face old hurts and family secret Avery tries her best to settle her mother's affairs. While in New York Avery re-connects with her childhood friend Alicia who helps her through the tough times ahead.
    Avery's cousin Dwight is one of the wealthiest black men in New York with a thriving real estate empire. He wasn't always in the position that he's in today; he was once the back that Avery needed many years ago. However Dwight forgets about family loyalties and remembers his friends and power. As times passes Dwight is stuck in that night many years ago in the same way that Avery is. The secret that binds them and the parents that manipulated their lives is in fact the very thing that frees them.
    Uptown is the story of old hurts, greed, power and family mixed up in the world of real estate. It's the story of a family finding out that being naked is much better than having on a layer of clothing. The characters in Uptown are strong and have a voice that resonates with the reader long after you close the book. As I was reading Uptown I wished the authors had let the characters tell their own story instead of it being narrated. Though I have this wish it didn't take from the story at all, I enjoyed Uptown it was a good adult read.
    Reader's Paradise

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 28, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Greater Expectations,

    Sometimes our expectations of family members exceed their character and the result is disappointment and frustration. Such is the case in "Uptown." Cousins Avery and Dwight are both interested in a piece of property but for very different reasons. Dwight wants to use the property to fulfill his father's dream of building a high-rise development. Avery is ready to sell her portion of the property until she learns unsettling information. The old adage "blood is thicker than water" is undone when finances are put in the equation revealing some disillusionment.

    DeBerry and Grant's "Uptown" attests to the necessity to forgive for personal growth, especially when errors and disappointments are not confronted when they occur. It tells what could be an emotionally complex story in a simple, straightforward way. The writing is sometimes lax. However, the storyline holds enough intrigue to keep readers' attention. I would recommend "Uptown" for its timeliness, content and plot development.

    Reviewed by: Gail

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 20, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    The prime cast makes for a terrific urban family drama

    Two decades ago, Avery Lyons left her family and New York after a nasty argument. However, with the death of her mom in a horrible accident, Avery comes home to close her mom's estate. Her friend Alicia tries to be there for her.

    Dwight Dixon has oenership as CEO of the family properties. He has moved them to Harlem where he built Dixon Plaza on Central Park North. However, his dream is beset by major construction problems, delays and costs. Avery's arrival reveals family secrets that their two families shared, which further devastate Dixon's empire.

    Although there are some stereotyping especially among several key support players, the prime cast makes for a terrific urban family drama as secrets explode into the open threatening everyone. Dwight is terrific as an ambitious, successful and astute businessman wanting to bring something to the Harlem community though his aspirations have run into problems. Avery is ironically much more complex as she carries family baggage with her. Fans will appreciate this strong look at Central Park North due to a deep story line that makes the case solutions to problems whether they are family, community or borough not easy when people fail to find common ground.

    Harriet Klausner

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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