YA Paranormal Contemporary
Taking inspiration from the author’s own Afghan-Uzbek heritage, this contemporary YA debut is a breathtaking journey into the grief that lingers through generations of immigrant families, and what it means to confront the ghosts of your past.
Struggling to deal with the pain of her parents’ impending divorce, fifteen-year-old Sara is facing a world of unknowns and uncertainties. Unfortunately, the one person she could always lean on when things got hard, her beloved Bibi Jan, has become a mere echo of the grandmother she once was. And so Sara retreats into the family business, hoping a summer working on her mom’s latest home renovation project will provide a distraction from her fracturing world.
But the house holds more than plaster and stone. It holds secrets that have her clinging desperately to the memories of her old life. Secrets that only her Bibi Jan could have untangled. Secrets Sara is powerless to ignore as the dark truths of her family’s history rise in ghostly apparitions — and with it, the realization that as much as she wants to hold onto her old life, nothing will ever be the same.
Told in lush, sweeping prose, this story of secrets, summer, and family sacrifice will chill you to the bone as the house that wraps Sara in warmth of her past becomes the one thing she cannot escape…
-Excerpt taken from Goodreads.
Check Goodreads to see the book’s ratings.
(3 / 5) Sara’s parents are going through a divorce. Her most reliable confidant (her grandma) is slowly retreating into dementia and is not the source of strength Sara desperately needs. While distracting herself in her mom’s renovation business, she finds secrets and a past that she is intent on uncovering.
Immediately, the writing caught my attention. It’s lush and beautiful, almost poetic at times. The family was very large with an Afghan-Uzbek heritage. I loved the bits of information that was given about the past and what they went through to immigrate. I wish there was more info!
“Yes, secrets can hurt, but sometimes, secrets are the very things that hold us together. In my life, I’ve learned that, perhaps, secrets are the only things that keep us from falling apart.”
Sara finds what leads to many secrets in the old house and this is where the story lost me. Sadly, the writing just didn’t carry the story. It became warped and weird to the point I had a hard time following it. Memories and flashes of the past were dropped in multiple times and instead of flowing well, it felt choppy. What started so strong left me wondering multiple times what in the world was going on? While unique, it was not something I enjoyed.
The writing truly was beautiful, the writer has such potential. This story was just not enough to accompany the writing. It was strange, to say the least, it didn’t make sense. I couldn’t grasp what the author was trying to say until the end. Once the end hit, I understood but she’d lost me so long ago that I was not committed. Sara as the main character was spoiled, dramatic and a smart-mouth. While others showed her such kindness, she acted out against them and I got tired of her antics. I was hoping for some character development by the end but it didn’t happen.
It has a beautiful cover and beautiful writing and I wish that was enough for me but it wasn’t. I’d give it two stars if it wasn’t for the writing but the writing at least deserves the extra star.
General content summary: little language, dementia (multiple), current parental divorce, ghosts/spirits (multiple), parental death (some details, grief, being hit by a car), possible spousal physical abuse (vague), previous adoption, previous child death from sickness.
Thank you to Fierce Reads for the gifted copy!
The book releases November 29, 2022.
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