Reviews for Break this house

Kirkus
Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

A Black teen girl begins to closely examine the depression and addiction that afflicted her mother in an effort to avoid the same fate. Sixteen-year-old Yaminah Okar changes from a traumatized young girl into a self-possessed vegan over the years after she moves to Brooklyn with her father to make a fresh start. Cutting off ties with her mother’s family back home in Obsidian, Michigan, she has crafted a new life with solid friendships and a caring boyfriend. However, that safe existence is knocked off kilter when she learns about the death of her mother from a Facebook message. A series of panic attacks and memories of her traumatic relationship with her mother prompt a return to her hometown for a family reunion and memorial. The reason for Minah and her father’s original departure is hinted at but never fully fleshed out as family members have tried to protect Minah from knowing the full truth. Meanwhile, passages interspersed between chapters from Minah’s mother’s perspective recount her slide into drug use, allowing readers to see the insidious nature of addiction. Several other characters also use drugs as a means of self-medicating. The challenges of gentrification are also woven into the story and combined with a spotty narrative in which hidden family members later appear in a disjointed manner. Readers are left piecing together a complicated tapestry of ideas that could have been integrated more smoothly. A fragmented examination of the composite elements making up people, community, and memories. (Fiction. 14-18) Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.