Monday, August 14, 2017

Review: THE HOUSE AT 758 by Kathryn Berla

Rating: 3.5/5

This book features a coming-of-age story about Krista, whose mother recently died. She hasn't yet gotten over the death and is still burdened with grief every day. Krista deals with her grief by periodically visiting a house, the house at 758, which has a significant meaning to her. We spend half of the story trying to piece together the mystery surrounding that house and its inhabitants, although I guessed rather early on what her reasons were for continually going there. In the latter half of the story, we learn about Krista's grandfather, who has come to stay with her for a short time, and his years spent in camps during the Holocaust. We hear stories from his life, so although this is a contemporary book, there are bits and pieces of powerful 1940s historical fiction.

Krista's grandpa's story is more than just a war narrative, though: it's a passionate story focused on the time we have left on this earth and making the most of that time. That is ultimately what the whole book is about, and the grandpa's stories tie very well into that.

The main emphasis of this story is the importance of family. Although there is a mild romance in this contemporary novel, it is like the third or forth sub-plot, which I found to be refreshing. The romance was the only part that I found to be slightly unrealistic. It moved a little too fast, probably so it could fit into the short book, but I did appreciate that it remained a clean romance.

The House at 758 is a simple story, calm and relaxing, but powerful. It's about how one small moment in someone's life can make a lifelong impact in someone else's life. These important messages are delivered through Berla's lyrical prose that was easy to enjoy. Although a shorter read, this book doesn't lack in characterization or depth, for the most part.

I really like Krista as a protagonist, and I'm going to miss reading from her perspective now that the book is over. I related a lot to her, and it was comforting to read about her and her life.

"Hate doesn’t hurt the hated person . . . it only hurts the person who hates.”

Thank you to NetGalley for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. 

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