Picture of author.

Karina Yan Glaser

Author of The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street

10 Works 2,198 Members 65 Reviews 1 Favorited

About the Author

Image credit: reading at 2018 Gaithersburg Book Festival By Slowking4 - Own work, GFDL 1.2, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=69292193


Works by Karina Yan Glaser


Common Knowledge

20th century
California, USA
Places of residence
New York City, New York, USA



I enjoyed this series. I was disappointed in the sixth/last book (the only one I gave 4 vs. 5 stars) but I think that this last book is my favorite of the seven books, with some caveats. For me book seven is the best of the bunch but I wonder if every reader will feel the same way I never thought I’d cry all the way through a Vanderbeekers book. Unlike many readers though I enjoy cancer stories including pediatric cancer stories. I loved how the whole cancer journey was shown. I adore Steve the nurse in particular. With Laney and Edward and the other children and the families/loved ones sensitivity was shown. I hope that children/everyone are now getting full anesthesia for bone marrow aspiration tests. In the past I worked with pediatric oncology patients and years later worked with my dog doing animal assisted therapy in a variety of places but we never got the training that the dogs and their people got in this story. I wish that we had. The earlier book all have parts that I also loved.

Except for book six I like the later books better than the earlier books. In part it’s because younger Laney was written in an annoying way in the first book/early books and in the later books, especially this book, she is written in a realistic AND wonderful AND realistic way.

Even though the author does some recapping of what happened in the previous books it isn’t much and I do think that readers should read the previous six books in order before reading this one. This is necessary to understand the relationships between the characters.

I love the therapy dog angle here and wasn’t surprised to read in the Acknowledgements in the back of the book that the author does this work with her dog.

I loved all the pen & ink drawings at the start of each chapter and the pictorial map that is at the front and back of the book. The illustrations seemed more varied than in the previous six books and I liked that the drawings reflected what was going to happen in each chapter.

I want more Vanderbeekers. Before I started reading this book I thought that it made sense to have the series completed at seven books but I’ve changed my mind. I was disappointed at how abruptly this book seemed to end and how much it left to the imagination. There is a lot more room for a lot more books. I’d thought that maybe the twins would be near to graduating high school and leaving for college and if that had been the case then I would understand stopping because the relationship dynamics would drastically change the kids didn’t age as quickly between books one and seven as I thought they would. I suspect I know what will happen but the last line of the book kind of made me feel nervous but I think and hope unnecessarily.

I love this author and will happily read most if not all of her books. I hope this series comes out as a seven book set. It would make a great gift!

I actually borrowed the audiobook to read simultaneously with the hardcover but I didn’t not like the audio narration at all and read just the paper book.
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Lisa2013 | 1 other review | Nov 21, 2023 |
I've heard that this is the last book in The Vanderbeekers series?
While I've loved, loved, loved this family and this series, The Vanderbeekers Ever After gave me the blues, and not because it is the purported final chapter.
While the series has never shied away from hard topics, this one involving sickness in the Vanderbeeker family itself gutted me. Get the tissues ready!

If this is indeed the final chapter, I wish it would have given us something like a "10-years later" glimpse at the end, to see what the Vanderbeekers and their friends are up to in the future.… (more)
deslivres5 | 1 other review | Nov 1, 2023 |
This was a charming middle grade fiction book about a family in Harlem. Faced with the prospect of moving due to their curmudgeonly landlord being unwilling to renew their lease, the children ranging in age from 4 to 12 take matters into their own hands. Devising various plots to have their landlord change his mind, the book also celebrates family and community. I could almost smell the breads and pastries baking at their friends store.
I am looking forward to reading more of the Vanderbeekers adventures in the next few books.… (more)
secondhandrose | 30 other reviews | Oct 31, 2023 |
Duet for Home presents the story of homeless people and those who actually help them.

After June's father passed away, June has had to take care of everything because her mother descends into severe depression. Her mother becomes a mere object in the novel; she sits like a statue, failing to go to work and hardly speaking. June finds herself packing up what they have into three garbage bags and moving into Huey House. She discovers it's a place for homeless people. She's mortified and then ends up the butt of a joke that wasn't meant for her on the first night! It's not a great beginning. She quickly discovers this home provides a bridge to returning to independence. The social worker meets with everyone weekly and really cares for the people and provides special gifts for everyone. She gets training for people in skills, cooks for the people, gets their favorite foods, and finds safe places the families can actually move to and succeed. June meets the perpetrators of the jokesters and immediately becomes friends with both of them. June's sister, Maybelle, adapts very quickly. She makes friends and there is an animal that needs her love. In other words, Huey House is a family.

Maybelle: loves animals and wants Nana, a dog who lives in a shelter by their old home.
Tyrell: lives at Huey house for 1,275 days when June arrives. He loves pulling pranks with his best friend, Jeremiah. His mom cares only for herself and can't hold down a job.
Jeremiah: lives with his mom and is Tyrell's best friend; they plan on getting an apartment together when they "age out" at 18. He makes sure he and Tyrell get their homework done.
Lulu: lives with her mother and grandmother, helping out anytime she's needed. She's very good with kids.
Ms. Gonzalez: works at Huey House as the family services director. She listens and cares for the residents.
Marcus: works at Huey House as security, making everyone feel safe and seen. He protects people from the director, Ms. MacMillan, who has very strict rules, esp. regarding music.

The homeless become real people, not an amorphous group labeled, "homeless" who need to be hidden. June continues to attend her former school in China town, but she doesn't want anyone to know what is going on with her and her family. She and her sister get on the bus each morning at 5:30 a.m. for a two-hour bus ride to school. Then, it's a two-hour ride home. That's a lot of travel time. She takes complete responsibility for raising her sister, as their mother doesn't seem to realize they exist. She wakes her sister up at 5:00, gets them both ready and on the bus. Lulu greets them the first morning to make sure they are doing well. Eventually, they settle into this routine. Upon returning home, June finds dinner in the cafeteria enjoyable (although not particularly edible), becoming friends with Tyrell and Jeremiah. Marcus helps her hide her viola, as instruments are not allowed. Tyrell helps her find a place to practice, as June wants to join the orchestra at school. Little does June know, but Tyrell listens to classical music from someone who plays the violin nightly at 8:00. He sits in a window and listens. It's because of the people at Huey House that June finds a new viola teacher and finds her voice as a person and a musician.

These people support and care for each other until the city wants to intrude. People believe there are way too many "homeless" taking tax payer's money, so they need to get them into homes and jobs. These places to help them cost too much. Underneath the stresses of being homeless and trying to find a way out, looms this new threat. Rumors have it that in 90 days everyone must move on. They would lose the support system, especially Ms. Gonzalez. Rumor also has it that the relocations are terrible. There might not be water or there's a long walk to the subway, making getting a job harder. It's a step down, not a step up. How do you fight back when you are down? June and Tyrell find a strong friendship, people they can depend on when they can't depend on their biological families. You see resilience in this novel. You see people who truly care and actually help people to work themselves out of homelessness. It's an uplifting book about humanity.
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acargile | 6 other reviews | Jul 18, 2023 |



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