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Deeba Zargarpur

Author of House of Yesterday

2 Works 32 Members 3 Reviews

Works by Deeba Zargarpur

House of Yesterday (2022) 29 copies, 3 reviews

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I went back and forth between thinking Sara had lost her marbles and believing she really was seeing family ghosts. In either instance, you had to feel for her because she was in emotional agony almost every moment. If the quandary surrounding her grandmother and why no one was willing to talk about family history wasn't bad enough, the toxic back and forth between her parents would be sufficient to drive any teen insane. What was saddest of all was how all this took over so much of her mind that she cut the only real caring person out of her life and darn near lost him. The circumstances might be different for many teens in dysfunctional families, but the emotional turmoil will feel familiar to them.… (more)
 
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sennebec | 2 other reviews | Jan 17, 2023 |
Sara Rahmat's life is slowly falling apart at fifteen years old. Her parents are going through a divorce, her Bibi Jan's memories are being taken by dementia and there is a huge rift between Sara and her best friend, Sam. Sara is hoping to get through the summer uneventfully and is forced to help with her mom's house flipping project. Upon entering the abandoned house on Sumner, Sara is overtaken with emotion. Then, Sara spots a young girl who bears a strong resemblance to her family, only to have the young girl disappear. As summer continues, Sara is drawn to the Sumner house and the family mystery that she feels destined to uncover there. However, in her obsession, Sara pushes away her family, her friends and even some parts of herself.

Told in a lyrical prose, House of Yesterday is a haunting, contemporary young adult story that covers so much more than coming of age. The overarching theme seems to be the question of 'who am I?' Sara asks this constantly as she tries to unravel the mystery of Sumner house. As Sara says:
" Who am I?
I am Sarah Rahmat and not.
I am American and not.
I am Afghan-Uzbek and not.
I am the product of a grand love story and not. I am and I am not. "

The writing so perfectly captures the lost, unknown, angry and in-between feeling of being a teenager through Sara's point of view. While Sara is trying to heal her own internal wounds, it seems like she is making a mess of everything in the outside world, but all she really wants to do is pay homage to the past and her families roots. I'm glad that both Sara's parents, large extended family and friends were supportive, understanding and had her back through everything that she was trying to deal with. I loved the mystery of Sumner House and how the memories of Sara's family played out as she brought the house objects from her grandmother's past. I also loved the heritage of Sara's Afghan- Uzbek family. Without it being the center point of the story, traditions, values, language and the immigrant experience was weaved throughout. I absolutely devoured this book and loved the mix of paranormal and very real issues of growing up.

This book was received for free in return for an honest review.
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Mishker | 2 other reviews | Nov 29, 2022 |
Family secrets, loads of guilt, the slow loss of a loved one, ghosts, and finding one's place in the world mix in the most wondrous ways to create a gripping read...the kind that will also require a tissue box nearby.

Sara is in a bad spot in life. Her grandmother is slowly drifting away mentally thanks to dementia, her parents are caught in a divorce, and the entire world seems to be slipping out from under her. To help clear her head and grab some air, she decides to help her mother renovate a house for flipping. But this house isn't what it seems. Secrets swirl like foggy mist as a haunting past knocks at every turn...and nobody seems to be able to or want to help.

This book is beautifully haunting. While rooting in Sara's realistic problems with her grandmother and parents, it lets the secrets slowly unfold. The author compares writing this to a fever dream, and the comparison is actually not bad. It carries so much uncertainty and lack of clarity that many moments and scenes are fogged, at best. Purposely so. Sara is dealing with an unknown, and nobody seems to remember anything about it. The clues she gets and the ghosts she deals with aren't exactly clear and crisp, either. Plus, there's her own emotions battling to stay afloat. The lack of clarity incorporates into the writing, enough to carry a dream-like haze...and it's just right.

The mix of harder issues and paranormal secrets flows very well. Sara has to deal with the mental loss of her grandmother, which touches upon the harsh reality of dementia. Then, the divorce weaves another message as Sara struggles to come to terms with the change, while learning to work through the self-inflicted guilt she feels at the situation. It's also nicely handled and will touch home with readers. While these very emotional aspects already create a good base for the read (and these do touch the heart), there's a spooky, paranormal flair, which slides in gently and in just the right way to haunt without overpowering the tale into a complete paranormal direction. There are some unclarities by the end of the read (a hole or two which isn't explained), but in general, it wraps up very well and leaves a lingering warmth of thought.

I was surprisingly drawn into this one (I wasn't sure it'd be my thing) and found it spooky and full of heart. I received a DRC and was happily surprised at the twists and turns this one took.
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tdrecker | 2 other reviews | Nov 4, 2022 |

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Works
2
Members
32
Popularity
#430,838
Rating
½ 4.3
Reviews
3
ISBNs
5