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Reviewed by Risah Salazar for Readers' Favorite
The House on Ashbury Street by Susie Hara takes readers back to 1975 when two young children named Nikki and Deb lived in a hippie commune that was rented by various families. Despite their differences, the individuals tried to coexist in harmony. As time went by, the members of the house family drifted apart and lost touch. However, when someone passed away, somehow, they always managed to find each other. Thirty years later, Nikki is now a child therapist who feels a deep yearning for something she cannot identify, while Deb is a park ranger seeking justice for her brother's suicide by creating a website dedicated to him and other soldiers. As the main characters tell their stories from their points of view, readers will wonder if they will find true contentment.
Susie Hara's novel The House on Ashbury Street starts intriguingly with a slow pace that gradually reveals surprising, sometimes even shocking twists and turns. Hara successfully establishes the setting, mentioning cultural references, such as Harry Potter, to help to keep the story relevant to its period. Hara's ability to appeal to emotions is commendable, and the diverse cast of characters, including people of color, Jewish people, and members of the LGBTQIA+ community, adds significant depth to the plot. Although the other members of the hippie commune are minor characters, they are numerous, and it can be challenging to keep track of everyone. Nonetheless, the book presents a narrative that offers great representation. This is a thought-provoking novel that explores the complexities of human relationships and emotions.