2020 in Oakland, California. A quiet neighborhood halfway up the hill. As the world is rocked by crisis upon crisis, a group of neighbors comes together in hope.
The second book in the Sheltered series, Grounded continues the story of Rachel and Carlos, living on the top floor of his late abuela's home as they try to stay safe during the Covid-19 pandemic. The house is full, with the Nguyễns occupying the main floor and the Montessas in the basement. Up and down the block, their neighbors are also avoiding the risk of getting the virus while they lead their changed lives and cope with the problems of the world that intrude into their quiet street.
2020 is a year full of crises: Health systems and social systems strained beyond their capacity by the pandemic. The death of George Floyd and other Black men killed by the police. Black Lives Matter demonstrations and White supremacist counter protests. Economic distress. Wildfires and smoke from climate change. Widespread lies and hateful rhetoric. Toxic politics and a disputed election. And these problems are not just headlines about distant places. The lives of regular people everywhere are affected, including in this neighborhood.
As households face their own fallout from global events, the people on this block learn that they can depend on each other. Neighbors support neighbors with warm hearts and helping hands. They raise each other up through the power of love and community, and in the course of helping others, they each find new strength and purpose.
The kindness and friendliness described in this story exists in neighborhoods everywhere, anywhere neighbors care to know each others' joys and problems, and are ready to reach out with a generous spirit.