Cover Image: House of Glass Hearts

House of Glass Hearts

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Member Reviews

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the eARC of this book in return for a fair review!

House of Glass Hearts follows Maera, a Pakistani-American teenager, and her mother, and the events after the sudden appearance of the greenhouse from Maera's grandfather's house. I rated this book five stars and really enjoyed reading the book, and some of the scenes towards the end were absolutely heart-wrenching. I've posted the full review, with spoilers, on my blog :)

The book is split between what's happening in America with Maera, and the events of her grandfather's diary entries during the Second World War. I really liked how this was done and the way both perspectives were woven together at the end was incredible. Everything that happened in the ending fit really well into the story, especially since the book is told in the way it is, which makes the jumps between the events in World War Two and what's happening in the greenhouse more dramatic. 

The differences between chapters and their timelines were also a really cool way to show how divided The Past and the present, and how characters' experiences change the present. The differences in time between the real world and inside the greenhouse was also awesome, and I feel like I'm just saying how much I liked different parts of the book. However, I did give this book five stars so I don't have anything negative to say.

I was rooting for the characters and wanted them to succeed and get happy endings, and the book flew by.

Overall, I would really recommend this book, especially if you're looking for South Asian book recommendations, and I can't wait to see what Leila Siddiqui writes in the future!
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A unique take on Afghan fiction, moving between WW2 and the present makes for an enchanting read that will appeal to all ages.
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I've been reading a lot of Afghan and Afghan American fiction lately, so I was looking forward to Leila Siddiqui's House of Glass Hearts, which moves between Afghanistan during WWII and the present day U.S. The more recent timeline involves Maera and her Ammi, who are attempting to bury a traumatic and menacing past. The WWII timeline involves the youth of Meara's Anaana and horrors—both fantastic and real-world—that he faced.

This title has received a good bit of praise on GoodReads, but didn't work for me. The praise has focused on what the novel can teach about Afghan history and legend, the strength of the central character Meara, the two-timeline structure the author uses, and the power of the fantasy elements. Given how well the novel has worked for others, I'm giving it a three-star review.

I'd been anticipating a novel with a touch of magical realism, but not a full-on fantasy/horror novel, and kept wanting to know more about the book's characters without that extra layer added. It also read to me like a young adult title. There's nothing wrong with YA books, but that wasn't what I was looking for.

If you enjoy fantasy/horror, you will probably love this book and appreciate what it can teach you about Afghan history and legend.

I received a free electronic review copy of this title from the publisher via NetGalley; the opinions are my own.
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<i><blockquote>The country I thought I knew was a grownup's plaything, a toy that they passed back and forth until it crumbled into pieces in their rough palms.</blockquote></i> 

I really wanted to like this more, the description and the plot sounds like something right up my alley. Following the death of her grandfather, a greenhouse randomly appears in Maera's backyard. Maera is convinced that her brother, who went missing many years ago, is inside the mysterious greenhouse. Doesn't that sound like just the perfect blend of mystery and magical realism? And it is, it's got the backbone right there and it would be working, had the book been aimed at pre-teens instead of "young adults".  

The writing, the dialogue, and the character dynamics all feel like that of a children's book, to be honest. The characters are all 17 (I think? or older?) yet they act much younger and the dialogue lacks the nuance of more grown up conversations. The lines they're saying seem extremely disjointed, they don't really flow from one another and they kill any kind of plot development for no reason. It's like a character says (and I'm paraphrasing an example, this isn't a line or sequence in the book): "we have to go into the greenhouse" and that's followed by "you have to tell your mother about college" followed by "let's sleep" followed by "I remember when he went missing" and it all feels extremely unnatural and robotic. 

There were elements I liked her, I liked the concept and I liked the backstory and the historic context of the India/Pakistan partition but I really felt that the author (or the publishers) did the story a disservice by not focusing on making it a children's story because as "adult" or even "young adult" fiction, it's severely lacking.
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Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for an ARC of this book. 

This was the story of Maera and her family mixed in with a healthy dose of magic and fantasy. I loved the premise of the book but it took me a while to really get into the book and get used to the rhythm of the story. 
The story was good and held my interest, it was especially good for this being the authors debut novel. I loved that colonial era India was discussed in the book. 

All in all, it was an okay enough read that I'd recommend to beginner readers as the pace of this book relatively slow. 

Rating : 3 ⭐
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I want to thank NetGalley and Yali Books Publishing for my advance copy of House of Glass Hearts. It’s publishing month for Leila Siddiqui’s debut novel rich in Pakistani history and lore. An atmospheric, souls-stirring tale filled with family secrets, war, love, and loss. 

5/5 House of Glass Hearts is a fantastic debut novel and a fantastic read. The way the author blended magic, lore, and history was truly beautiful. I am personally not very familiar with Pakistani history, so this was a lovely educational experience since I went down a rabbit hole learning about the Partition of India into what we know now as present-day India and Pakistan. I also went down a rabbit hole reading about some of the lore to better understand and appreciate the story. I loved this story; it was eerie, mysterious, and magical while simultaneously heart-wrenching and filled with heartache and loss due to war and the devastation it leaves for the generations to come. I love non-linear timelines and having to piece the story together little by little like a puzzle. The story jumps back and forth from present-day America to 1940’s Colonial India via journal entries left behind by Maera’s grandfather, Haroon. And the author did a fantastic job at seamlessly transporting the reader back and forth. Siddiqui also did a beautiful job with the plot, gripping me deeper into the story, and she wrote in such a way that I felt deeply the pain Haroon experienced as he saw his country be torn apart by war and religious intolerance. The writing was truly heartfelt and the author’s notes on the story were beautiful and insightful. Honestly, this was such a powerful and poignant novel. I loved this book, and I recommend everyone to pick it up when it it releases on September 29th.
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First thank you so much to Netgalley for providing me with a digital arc.

Trigger warning for this contains violence, trauma, war and death.

The House of Glass Hearts talks about the tale of Maera, who one day lost her brotber during their visit to Pakistan. Years has passed and a mysterious greenhouse appeared after the death of her grandfather. The greenhouse is the same one where her brother disappeared to. Maera thinks that her brother disappearance is caused by the greenhouse and she willing to do anything to get him back. This is a haunting story filled with both scenarios from the past and present alike. 

The combination of historical fiction and fantasy on this one is outstanding. It cultured filled as well because it tells the life of people during the war and how they cope up with it. The history of Pakistan and India is terrifying when I read about it but it also serves as an eye opener when you realized how they are treated before for the things they didn't even do. 

The plot was something I did not expect as well. It had me shocked to my core. Reading this was unpredictable and had you hooked the moment the start reliving the past life of their grandfather. The romance on this one is just mindblowing and I don't to say anymore of it because I don't to spoil anything.

I am not a fan of the main protagonist though I felt that Maera is probably the densest one in the whole book but I think if I am in her situation I would be the same especially if I want to save someone I love. 

Overall I gave this a 4/5 just the fact that things escalated real fast to the point that I had a hard time coping up with it on the first chapters.
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The first few pages of this novel suck you in. The author describes the scene so perfectly and ends it so abruptly, that the reader cannot stop themselves from reading on.

The only real I have regarding this novel are that once the initial stage is set and we are introduced to Maera, the writing gets a little clumsy. I felt that the novel was being pushed to where it needed to go, and while it did a job, it was difficult to get through.

But! If you read it and feel the same way, please hold on. The rest of this story is woven so intricately. Every thought and feeling, every landscape is handed to the reader. The author weaves the details so well that you hardly know it’s happening. The focus is never off the actual plot for too long and yet no detail is lost. 

The characters are brought together, again somewhat too quickly and conveniently, but it pulls the plot along. There is a fair bit of teenage angst in the novel, which barely detracts from the storyline. Other than that, I felt that every single character that is introduced to the reader is introduced for a reason and is therefore multifaceted and interesting and brings something with them.

I am always a little wary of narratives that switch between characters. Especially characters that don’t interact, and especially when the narratives transcend decades. However, the author is a natural. It is never confusing, and both feed into the other perfectly. 

I would definitely recommend this book, and am considering rereading it already.
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This book was enjoyable. Even though it was slow paced, I enjoyed it. I loved seeing the representation in the book and also liked the magical parts. Maera is a little irritating character and I liked the other parallel story better but nonetheless a book I would reccomend.
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Rating: 3.5/5

House of glass hearts was as enjoyable read! It's a story that follows Maera our main character as she navigates the torrid waters of her family's loss and grief all while figuring out why a mysterious greenhouse has appeared in her backyard.

The story is told in a dual timeline and in all honesty Maera's point of view was not the best of the two 😬 I found her grandfather's timeline so much more enjoyable. Maera tended to be a little annoying at times.

I learned so much about colonial India reading this book , it's always wonderful seeing representation in literature. 

The slight use of magic was such a fun addition to the story. The only downfall would be the slow pace of this book, but nevertheless it was an enjoyable read!

The authors note at the end had me in all the feels !!
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I enjoyed reading this book experiencing the two time perspectives.

The story of Maera and her grandfathers are told seperately and I found myself enjoying the rich history of his life and Pakistani history moreso than Maera's story. The magical touches made it special.

I did find overall it was slow paced and only really picked up towards the end.

Disclosure: Thank you to NetGalley for the opportunity to read this in exchange for an honest review.
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So basically haunted greenhouse with demons sprinkled in 👀 I've gotta say this was a fun ride! 

The book has two pov's one is our mc maera and the other is from the past before she was even born. I definitely loved the second one more because I found maera to be really infuriating and annoying :) I also loved how much history this book has. Those parts were just heart wrenching.

The book was actually a little spooky, there were a couple of thrilling moments that had me sit up a little. And the descriptions really did make it eerie. 

The writing was a bit choppy but this is the arc so I don't know if it got fixed in the final print. The romance here I felt was unnecessary (in maera's pov) and one of them was so insta-lovey. I would've preferred it had they all just been good friends going on an adventure. 

The history aspect was incredible and taught me so much. The way desi myth was incorporated was very interesting too.

All in all I really do think its a worthy read, it was well done for a debut and it was a fun journey filled with a lot of unexpected turns! I do recommend this simply for the history and the language tho (I've recognised so many of their words it made me happy)

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Thank you to the publisher for accepting me of an arc of this. House of Glass Hearts has such an interesting premise that hooked me from the first time I read the blurb. When I first start this book, my heart was instantly wrecked into two, and I was overwhelmed with how raw the writing and storyline is. I also really loved the fantastical and thriller elements that was written into this, and it was such a unique concept.
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2 stars

House of Glass Hearts is a dual storyline following Maera, a Pakistani-American in the wake of her grandfather’s death, and also her grandfather growing up a child during World War Two and the Partition of India. 

Only one of these storylines were interesting - that of Haroon. It was interesting to see the boy that would become hated in his old age. I think it explored the scars that British colonialism left extremely well and opened my eyes to a lot of things I had not known before. Meanwhile, Maera’s storyline took time away from the emotional impact of Haroon’s as her juvenile narration would interject scenes that did not contribute much and were extremely shallow in contrast the Haroon’s. I understand that she is still a teenager and young but she acted like such a pestering child. 

Moreover, none of the characters had personality traits at all. They were extremely two dimensional and never had anything that defined them. It made it difficult for the ending, which we had waited so long for, to have any impact on the reader because they would not have been able to form an attachment to these characters. It didn’t help that it was also wrapped up within sentences, so there was very little to work with despite the enormous potential this story held.
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This is the story of Maera, a Pakistani American, and her family after the disappearance of her brother, Asad, and then the death of her grandfather when a mysterious greenhouse appears in her backyard. 

This book follows two storylines. The one of Mara in the present and the one of her grandfather, her own, from when he was young. It started out a bit slow and then towards the end it picked up a lot but I had to push through. 

Overall the storytelling was a bit flat but not at all bad. The characters and the plot are definitely aimed at a younger white a audience but it’s still pretty dark. This is a more than decent historical fiction book that weaves history, magic, action, and the importance of family into one. I would recommend this book and I’m looking forward to more from the author.
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This novel followed two storylines: one in the present, with Maera unable to understand the sudden appearance of a greenhouse in her backyard; the second in the past, following Maera's gradfather as he traversed pre-partition India before experiencing the horrors of the journey to Pakistan. Only one of these two points of view really appealed to me.

The other—Maera's—was a little too simplistic in its execution for me to enjoy it. For starters, a small section of the plot (Maera discovering and entering the greenhouse) was stretched across eight whole chapters; a significant portion of the action was condensed and rushed through near the very end. The pacing, therefore, was off. Most of the characters were two-dimensional, with only a few select personality traits to keep them going. It didn't help that Maera herself, the eyes through which the reader views the story, was too thoughtless in her actions for me to like her.

Maera's grandfather, though, gave me a whole different story that had me hooked from the get-go. He tells a story that us Pakistanis have heard from our own grandparents, a story that is familiar to many; some of our relatives experienced the partition firsthand while others heard of it from those around them. Chotu makes it personal: the reader gets to see such events unfold, and these scenes are lent authority by the author's note at the end, where Siddiqui mentions how she took parts of the plot from what her own grandmother told her. The pacing for this half of the novel is pretty well done, and the characters all given depth and motivation for their actions.

I look forward to reading future works by this author, especially if they tend towards historical fiction.
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I kinda of struggled to get through this book. Whilst the story was solid and I loved the characters it just felt a little slow. Maybe that’s because I’m not not used to this genre. I can’t speak on how accurate the representation was as I’m not part of the community.
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House of Glass Hearts follows two story-lines: The story of Haroon in 1947's India, and Maera's story in modern USA. Maera is Haroon's granddaughter, and after his death, a weird greenhouse suddenly appears in her backyard, and she's haunted by her brother Asad - who went missing when she was a child.

Just from the facts, this book could have been great. I know barely anything about the history of Pakistan OR India, which could've been truly interesting to learn about. 
Unfortunately, this book fell kind of flat.

We get two main POV's, Maera's when she's seventeen, and Haroon's from... I don't even know, maybe 12 to 17 or something like that? It was really unclear and it didn't particularly help that everyone read like 8-year-olds. We get a chapter from Maera's POV from like. Ten or something years ago, when Asad vanishes, and she still sounds exactly the same at seventeen as she did at seven. I honestly got startled whenever it was mentioned she was off for college soon because she just reads really immaturely. The same goes for Haroon to some point, even though his thoughts feel more mature just because of the setting of war he's in. In this regard, the book would have made much more sense to be Middle Grade instead of Young Adult.

The other main reason why I didn't particularly like this book was the very shallow plotline. Haroon's was very interesting, but mixed in with Maera's story, it just didn't have enough pagetime to really develop and give you a deeper feeling. Maera's story on the other hand just was eh. It didn't feel well thought out, and if we look at the last 4-5 chapters, that was just a "oh, we need scenario xy! It will cause additional drama!". But you can't throw in something that wasn't foreshadowed at all just to make stuff more interesting, and then have it resolved in a chapter flat. That's just bad storytelling.

Big thanks to NetGalley for providing this ARC!
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Maera, a Pakistani-American girl and her mother are still struggling to adjust to the mysterious disappearance of her brother. Soon she finds a magical greenhouse in her backyard after her grandfather passes, and tries to learn it's secrets and reunite her family. This was told in the perspective of Maera's grandfather from the past and her in the present. This was based on Indian history, Middle eastern culture.

I enjoyed this but at times this was really dark with the unspoken Indian/Pakistani history. What I loved the most is the magical elements of this book and how it seamlessly combines myth and real life. The ending and Maera's character felt flat for me, but nonetheless, it was a great read.
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This book was interesting, I enjoyed it.

This story takes us into the lives of Maera and her family, who experienced tragedy years before when Maera's brother, Asad, disappeared. Finally, a new tragedy, the death of Maera's grandfather, marks the beginning of a new adventure for this young girl.
We follow Maera's adventure, but also the story of her grandfather and his youth. The chapters where we follow the point of view of her grandfather are particularly interesting because they allow us to learn more about the history of Pakistan / India. For my part, I learned things I didn't know (and about which we should be more educated.)

The last chapters were incredible, I was not expecting it at all and I was really surprised! It was a pure pleasure to read them.

I recommend this book if you are a fan of history and magic. It is a quick read and the writing is very enjoyable. It offers a very good representation, and explains historical facts that makes us want to know more. Don't forget to read the author's notes at the end!!
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