Review of Break This House

Break This House Break This House
by Candace Iloh
High School    Dutton    224 pp.   g
2/22    978-0-525-55623-7    $17.99

Estranged from her mother and twin sister, ­sixteen-year-old Minah learns about her mom’s death through a Facebook invitation to a family reunion and memorial. Minah, now living with her father in Brooklyn, returns to her hometown of (fictional) Obsidian, Michigan, to attend the event. As she attempts to understand the immense loss of a parent, the visit becomes an opportunity for Minah to grieve and to connect back to a traumatic past to which she’d previously promised herself never to return. Her grandmother’s announcement that she plans to sell the family home begins a new reckoning of what home and family really mean. Minah’s first-person narration lends poignancy to this coming-of-age story, which, as she uncovers more about the past—including through the reading of her mother’s ­diaries—also becomes more clearly a chronicle of the grief of a family affected by the diseases of addiction and mental illness and the veil of secrecy that shrouds them.

From the July/August 2022 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

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