House of Yesterday

Farrar. Nov. 2022. 320p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780374388706.
Gr 9 Up–Fifteen-year-old American-born Sara Rahmat lives on Long Island, where her Afghan-Uzbek family has lived since fleeing Afghanistan. However, the summer before her sophomore year is different as Bibi jan, her maternal grandmother, was diagnosed with dementia; Madar and Padar, her mother and father, are separated; and she is on the outs with her best friend and neighbor, Sam. When Madar ropes Sara into taking photos for the family house-flipping business, the Sumner house is not what she expected. Instead of creating a much-needed distraction, it brings a family mystery to light. In the house, Sara sees what appears to be a younger version of beloved Bibi and a mysterious little girl. As Sara tries to figure out what secrets the Sumner house holds, she starts to unravel, causing her family great worry. Inspired by her own Afghan-Uzbek heritage, Zargarpur has beautifully written a mysterious and haunting story about family. Sara’s ability to see ghosts and some of the events that take place provide a bit of magical realism to the story. However, those who don’t enjoy fantasy won’t be turned off by this book. Aspects of Afghan-Uzbek culture are wonderfully presented throughout the book, and the message of family is marvelously delivered. This well-written story will have readers turning the page to uncover the secrets of the Sumner house along with Sara.
VERDICT An excellent choice for libraries, particularly those looking for intriguing books for discussions.

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