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Your House Will Pay

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A powerful and taut novel about racial tensions in LA, following two families—one Korean-American, one African-American—grappling with the effects of a decades-old crime In the wake of the police shooting of a black teenager, Los Angeles is as tense as it’s been since the unrest of the early 1990s.Protests and vigils are being staged all over the city.It’s in this dangerous A powerful and taut novel about racial tensions in LA, following two families—one Korean-American, one African-American—grappling with the effects of a decades-old crime In the wake of the police shooting of a black teenager, Los Angeles is as tense as it’s been since the unrest of the early 1990s. Protests and vigils are being staged all over the city. It’s in this dangerous tinderbox that two families must finally confront their pasts. Grace Park lives a sheltered existence: living at home with her Korean-immigrant parents, working at the family pharmacy, and trying her best to understand why her sister Miriam hasn’t spoken to their mother in years. The chasm in her family is growing wider by the day and Grace is desperate for reconciliation, and frustrated by the feeling that her sister and parents are shielding her from the true cause of the falling out. Shawn Matthews is dealing with a fractured family of his own. His sister, Ava, was murdered as a teenager back in 1991, and this new shooting is bringing up painful memories. Plus, his cousin Ray is just released from prison and needs to reconnect with their family after so many years away. While Shawn is trying his best to keep his demons at bay, he’s not sure Ray can do the same. When another shocking crime hits LA, the Parks and the Matthewses collide in ways they never could have expected. After decades of loss, violence, and injustice, tensions come to a head and force a reckoning that could clear the air or lead to more violence.


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A powerful and taut novel about racial tensions in LA, following two families—one Korean-American, one African-American—grappling with the effects of a decades-old crime In the wake of the police shooting of a black teenager, Los Angeles is as tense as it’s been since the unrest of the early 1990s.Protests and vigils are being staged all over the city.It’s in this dangerous A powerful and taut novel about racial tensions in LA, following two families—one Korean-American, one African-American—grappling with the effects of a decades-old crime In the wake of the police shooting of a black teenager, Los Angeles is as tense as it’s been since the unrest of the early 1990s. Protests and vigils are being staged all over the city. It’s in this dangerous tinderbox that two families must finally confront their pasts. Grace Park lives a sheltered existence: living at home with her Korean-immigrant parents, working at the family pharmacy, and trying her best to understand why her sister Miriam hasn’t spoken to their mother in years. The chasm in her family is growing wider by the day and Grace is desperate for reconciliation, and frustrated by the feeling that her sister and parents are shielding her from the true cause of the falling out. Shawn Matthews is dealing with a fractured family of his own. His sister, Ava, was murdered as a teenager back in 1991, and this new shooting is bringing up painful memories. Plus, his cousin Ray is just released from prison and needs to reconnect with their family after so many years away. While Shawn is trying his best to keep his demons at bay, he’s not sure Ray can do the same. When another shocking crime hits LA, the Parks and the Matthewses collide in ways they never could have expected. After decades of loss, violence, and injustice, tensions come to a head and force a reckoning that could clear the air or lead to more violence.

30 review for Your House Will Pay

  1. 4 out of 5

    Steph

    I've been working on this book since the end of 2014, and while I get maybe one more shot at sifting for typos, I think I can finally say it's done. It's a bit of a departure from my P.I. series, a literary/social crime novel about two Los Angeles families, a contemporary story with deep roots in the black/Korean tensions of the early '90s. I've worked long and hard on it, so I'm not gonna qualify this: I think it's really good and I can't wait for you all to read it.

  2. 5 out of 5

    karen

    NOW AVAILABLE!!! when i heard about this book, the first thing i thought (after "what a fantastic title that is!") was that it would be a readalike for All Involved, which was a sharp and gritty piece of crime fiction in which gang-affiliated characters used the racial tensions and violence of the l.a. riots in the aftermath of the rodney king verdict as an excuse to seek revenge for longstanding grudges, leading to a back-and-forth killing spree leaving many intended targets dead along with NOW AVAILABLE!!! when i heard about this book, the first thing i thought (after "what a fantastic title that is!") was that it would be a readalike for All Involved, which was a sharp and gritty piece of crime fiction in which gang-affiliated characters used the racial tensions and violence of the l.a. riots in the aftermath of the rodney king verdict as an excuse to seek revenge for longstanding grudges, leading to a back-and-forth killing spree leaving many intended targets dead along with unaffiliated innocents caught in the crossfires. but i was wrong, wrong, wrong, and while its central dramatic conflict occurs as a tangential result of the racially-charged atmosphere in los angeles following king’s beating, this is a different take altogether—far less violent and nihilistic and closer in tone to a book like Ask Again, Yes; it's a tragic-but-redemptive family drama with such strong current-day relevance and moral complexity that discerning book clubs should take note. cha’s novel is based on a real-life incident; the death of fifteen-year-old african-american latasha harlins (here, ava matthews) who was shot in the back of the head by a korean convenience store owner named soon ja du (here, yvonne park/jung-ja han) in 1991, two weeks after the video of rodney king’s beating surfaced. du had accused latasha of shoplifting a bottle of orange juice, and their verbal altercation escalated into the physical before the fifty-one-year-old woman grabbed a gun and fired, killing the girl. when police arrived on the scene, they discovered that latasha had the money for the juice in her hand. du was convicted of voluntary manslaughter but served no jail time, an outcome contributing to the unrest that culminated in the riots. Your House Will Pay is set in the summer of 2019, after yet another police shooting of an unarmed black teenage boy provokes community outrage. the city is a simmering powder keg of tension; an atmosphere of violence just about to erupt as cries for justice and the unhealed wounds of those still feeling betrayed by the ava matthews verdict rise up during a vigil attended by an influx of the sneering red-hat-wearing 'western boys' drawn to the scene by social media doing what it does best; riling people up and adding fuel to the fire, while the presumably more responsible professional media is no better, and tensions are high. this increasingly fraught atmosphere is the backdrop for a tragedy of shakespearian proportions as the members of the two families most directly connected to ava matthews' death find their fates knotted together once more in the wake of another violent crime. the story is shared between ava's brother shawn, who was with ava at the time of the shooting, and yvonne's sheltered daughter grace, who wasn't even born when the incident occurred, and knew nothing about it until now. these two characters are the anchor points around whom swirl the events of the past and present, and the wide-ranging emotions and actions of their families and friends, building a richly drawn and compelling story of the weight of secrets, shame, and guilt and the effects of a legacy of violence and injustice on families and communities in a country approaching its boiling point. it's a helluva book, and cha resists applying the disingenuous balm of easy answers onto a conflict too deeply layered with scars and emotional pain to resolve smoothly, but she offers the possibility of healing, of recovering from the loss and rage and resisting the expectations of a world where private tragedies become public spectacle. sensitive and astute, it's a book we need right now, and it's a book that lingers, offering plenty to think about. He remembered those six days of violence, fire and havoc wherever he looked, stumbling bodies and stunned, bleeding faces. He watched his city go up in flames, and under the sadness and rage, the exhilaration of rampage, he recognized the sparkle of hope. Rebirth—that was the promise of destruction. The olive branch, the rainbow, the good men spared to rebuild the earth. But where was the new city? And who were the good men? Los Angeles, this was supposed to be it. The end of the frontier, land of sunshine, promised land. Last stop for the immigrant, the refugee, the fugitive, the pioneer. It was Shawn's home, where his mother and sister had lived and died. But he had left, and so had most of the people he knew. Chased out, priced out, native children living in exile. And he saw the fear and rancor here, in the ones who'd stayed. This city of good feeling, of tolerance and progress and loving thy neighbor, was also a city that shunned and starved and killed its own. No wonder, was it, that it huffed and heaved, ready to blow. Because the city was human, and humans could only take so much. come to my blog!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Bkwmlee

    4.5 stars It’s not often that a book I read impacted me so much that I was rendered virtually speechless immediately afterwards — to the point that despite having finished this book several days ago, I had to wait to write this review because I needed time to regroup and gather my thoughts. The reason this book impacted me so much is because the subject matter it covered hit a little too close to home for me, as it brought back memories from 27 years ago and emotions that felt so real, I truly 4.5 stars It’s not often that a book I read impacted me so much that I was rendered virtually speechless immediately afterwards — to the point that despite having finished this book several days ago, I had to wait to write this review because I needed time to regroup and gather my thoughts. The reason this book impacted me so much is because the subject matter it covered hit a little too close to home for me, as it brought back memories from 27 years ago and emotions that felt so real, I truly felt like I had been transported back in time to my childhood. Back then, my family lived in a little enclave of apartment buildings in Westchester, near its border with Inglewood in Los Angeles. Nearby, within walking distance, was a tiny strip mall with a donut shop, a laundromat, a small restaurant, and a Korean-owned liquor store on the very corner — a setup similar to the neighborhoods that the main characters in the book lived in during their youth. The story, especially the events that took place during the “past” timeline of 1991 and 1992, was tremendously familiar to me because it aligned with much of what I remember experiencing growing up as an Asian American in the Los Angeles of the 1990s. I remember what happened to Latasha Harlins and the public outrage over the light sentence that Soon Ja Du ended up getting; I remember the already simmering tensions between the African American and Korean communities that were further exacerbated by the Harlins case; I remember the Rodney King beating that took place around that time as well as the infamous acquittal that came down a year later; and of course, I remember the LA Riots and the devastation that took place those 6 days. I was 13 years old at the time (around the same age as one of the main characters in the book when the story opened) and when the riots broke out, I remember most of us were still at school, anxiously waiting for our parents to come pick us up. Our school wasn’t close in proximity to the riot area fortunately, however, due to the chaotic nature of things and the fear that the rioting might spread to other areas, it was advised for all the schools to shut down for the day. As we waited for our rides, there was a lot of nervous chatter among our group of friends, as many of them either had long commutes home or they would have to pass by the areas where much of the rioting was beginning to gain traction. Adding to those fears, we had heard that rioters had started venting out their anger at innocent bystanders, stopping random cars and pulling people out and beating them (a “rumor” that was confirmed later that night on the news when we all witnessed in horror the terrifying events that unfolded at the intersection of Florence and Normandie). The looting and burning down of stores followed, with the devastation spilling over to surrounding cities – news coverage showed chaotic scenes, with the destruction hitting heaviest in South Los Angeles and Koreatown (which had become a target due to the Latasha Harlins case). It was the worst time to be out in the streets – in fact, it was the worst time to be anywhere other than hidden away in the safety of our own homes with doors locked, windows barred, blinds drawn. The experience of reading this book felt almost surreal to me. Even though the entire story was a fictionalized version based on past events and many of the details had been changed, plus a majority of the timeline focused on present day (2019) and how the various characters dealt with the aftermath of what had happened so long ago, the memories it triggered were enough to bring the real-life events the story was based on back to life for me. The author Steph Cha did a great job capturing the sentiments and perspectives of both the African American and Korean communities during that period in history, but what floored me the most was how vividly she was able to depict the realities of what life was like growing up in Los Angeles in the 1990s, not just for people of color, but also for immigrants and others who were part of the community at the time. Ten years after the riots occurred, on the way to visit friends, I happened to be driving through one of the areas hit hardest by the riots and I will never forget the shock I felt seeing how much of the area never got rebuilt. Steph Cha captured my sentiments exactly when, in the book, she described what one of the main characters, Shawn Matthews, saw when he was surveying the devastation that had taken place around him right after the fictionalized riots in the story: “Wherever he went, he saw the extent of the ruin, the cooled remnants of days of unchecked wrath. Where there had been buildings, there were now building frames like children’s pictures scribbled in pencil, gray and blurred and skeletal, on the verge of disintegration. Roll-up doors defaced by graffiti and ash, the metal warped so they’d never close again. Rubble and trash littered the streets like fallen teeth, like dead skin, the rot of a ravaged body.” This was actually the reality of what I saw as well, many years later – and even now, nearly 3 decades later, some remnants of the devastation still exists, albeit in smaller pockets. To come across a book like this one, that captures a history and time period and even elements of a culture that I was once so familiar with on a personal level – THIS is one of the reasons why I read. With that said, I did struggle with the rating on this one, wavering between 4.5 and 5 stars…in the end, I decided on 4.5 stars, mostly because I’m not sure how I feel about the story’s ending and the way things played out. Needless to say, this is a book I definitely recommend, though word of warning, this is not an easy one to read, especially if you have a personal connection to parts of the story like I did. Received ARC from HarperCollins (Ecco) via NetGalley.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Jessica Woodbury

    This is an ambitious book. It's trying to tell a very specific story, tied deeply to a particular place and time, exploring the repercussions of an often-forgotten set of racial tension between Black and Korean people in Los Angeles. As Cha notes, the specifics are often lost in the larger story of Rodney King and the Watts riots. While it's very specific, it will also feel relevant to anyone living in the US right now, a time of protests and memorials and repeated unspeakable losses. We see this This is an ambitious book. It's trying to tell a very specific story, tied deeply to a particular place and time, exploring the repercussions of an often-forgotten set of racial tension between Black and Korean people in Los Angeles. As Cha notes, the specifics are often lost in the larger story of Rodney King and the Watts riots. While it's very specific, it will also feel relevant to anyone living in the US right now, a time of protests and memorials and repeated unspeakable losses. We see this story through two sets of eyes: Shawn grew up in the worst of it and got caught up in gangs and violence, but he's found his way through and settled in to a kind of stable adulthood, supporting his cousin's family while he's in prison. Shawn's sister Ava was gunned down as a teenager before there was a Black Lives Matter movement, and he still feels the loss. Grace is the dutiful daughter of Korean immigrants, working in her parents' pharmacy, moving aimlessly through her late 20's, reading terrible stories in the news and feeling bad but detached. Shawn and Grace are connected without realizing it, but as the story unfolds they will find old secrets coming back to light. I think Cha builds a really interesting and current story with lots of layers to peel through. But I think she paints herself into a corner somewhat, I was dissatisfied with the ending even though I understand the logic behind it. It feels like the present, where we still don't know where things go from here, but it felt off to me. I think Grace gets a little too much of this story, too. She is called out for her often self-centered approach to the events of the book more than once, but she also gets to have equal billing in the narrative and I can't help but think that giving her less of it would make the book a little more balanced. This isn't an escapist book, it feels an awful lot like reading the news, but I think Cha has captured a lot of the anxiety and concern of this moment incredibly well, definitely the strongest element of the book.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Rincey

    One of those books that feels TOO REAL to my own life

  6. 5 out of 5

    Janet

    Steph Cha's Your House Will Pay is simultaneously thrilling and thoughtful, a novel about the aftermath of a fictional grocery-store shooting in 1991, in South Los Angeles, just after the Rodney King verdict was announced. The pregnant wife of the Korean proprietor shoots and kills a 16 year old black girl in a rapidly escalating scene of anger, misapprehension and lethality--informed by a complex of relationships and events which Cha follows like the chain of radioactive ink spreading through Steph Cha's Your House Will Pay is simultaneously thrilling and thoughtful, a novel about the aftermath of a fictional grocery-store shooting in 1991, in South Los Angeles, just after the Rodney King verdict was announced. The pregnant wife of the Korean proprietor shoots and kills a 16 year old black girl in a rapidly escalating scene of anger, misapprehension and lethality--informed by a complex of relationships and events which Cha follows like the chain of radioactive ink spreading through the patient's veins in an x-ray. The bulk of the action is the story of aftermath, how this one violent event affects the lives of the two families, Korean and black, and their communities-- and goes on affecting them over time. Told in alternating chapters from the point of view of 2019, the main characters are the murdered girl's younger brother, Shawn Matthews, now an ex-con working the straight and narrow as a moving man in Palmdale, taking care of his family and the family of his older cousin Ray, still in prison, and the woman's younger daughter Grace Park, a dutiful child who had not yet been born at the time of the shooting. The action begins as Grace learns for the first time in 2019 what her mother had done, and Ray comes out of prison to throw Shawn's carefully balanced life into chaos. This is an urban tale which moves into the intersection of political and personal, racial injustice and community solidarity, the preservation of memory, and the ultimate problem of narrative, the simplification of people and situations into a certain package--all wrapped up in a terrific, fast-moving story of two characters trying to live with the truth. Releases Oct. 15, 2019

  7. 4 out of 5

    Ceecee

    This story is set in Los Angeles and is about two worlds colliding - one Korean-American family and one African-American. It is based on a true story of the shooting of Latasha Harlins in 1991 by a convenience store owner. This story also starts in 1991 one week after the beating of Rodney King when Ava Matthews, her brother Shawn, cousin Ray and friend Duncan cut school and go to a movie which is cancelled due to overselling. A riot and looting follows the cancellation as much due to the tinder This story is set in Los Angeles and is about two worlds colliding - one Korean-American family and one African-American. It is based on a true story of the shooting of Latasha Harlins in 1991 by a convenience store owner. This story also starts in 1991 one week after the beating of Rodney King when Ava Matthews, her brother Shawn, cousin Ray and friend Duncan cut school and go to a movie which is cancelled due to overselling. A riot and looting follows the cancellation as much due to the tinder dry atmosphere in LA post King - it took little for there to be an eruption of violence. A few days later Ava is shot dead whilst trying to buy milk, by Korean store owner Jung-Ja Han. Han is charged with manslaughter but served no jail time to the horror of Ava’s family. She then disappears. Shawn goes off the rails for a bit after this and served some jail time but got his life back on track. Fast forward to June 2019 when Grace and Miriam Park attend a memorial for another black teenager shot by LAPD where one of the key note speakers is Ava’s Aunt Sheila. On the same day, Ava’s cousin and Sheila’s son Ray is released for federal prison and is reunited with his family and cousin Shawn. This is a story of racial tension, family conflict and dynamics, revenge and the search for redemption. The book is very well written switching from family to family easily and captures the tensions within and outside of both families. The closeness of Shawn’s family is obvious although there is some tension and jealousy between Shawn and Ray but Aunt Sheila is the glue that keeps them together. There are some heart breaking descriptions of what Ava meant to Shawn and the ripple effects on his family and that of the shooter. Grace Park is a pharmacist and still lives at home with her mother and father. I think the descriptions of her family life and how her parents settled in the US from Korea is especially interesting. There is division between Miriam and her parents but we don’t know why for a long time until it is revealed in a most dramatic way. This is when the two different worlds collide with disastrous consequences testing both families to the extreme. This book reveals so much about society in that it shines a light on inequality in the justice system, on racial tension, the devastating effects that violence has on families and how this can sometimes lead the impressionable young into gang culture. It shows the divided nature of LA too - a city of tolerance but where sectors of society feel shunned. However, this is not exclusive to LA, this is a problem that goes way beyond US borders. Overall, this is a very relevant book that proves sensitive issues and which really makes you think. The end is good and you hope that despite the many problems in Shawn’s and the Park family that some form of justice has been served and although reconciliation is perhaps too much to ask for, possibly there is some resolution. Thanks to NetGalley and Faber and Faber for the ARC Expected U.K. publication 16/1/20

  8. 5 out of 5

    Ben Loory

    A smart, powerful, fully-engaged book that never once blinks or backs down or takes an easy out, and then nails one of the best endings I've ever read.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Eric

    Your House Will Pay is just not resonating with me at this point. I am about forty or so pages into it and it is just not grabbing me, so for the time being I am going to set it aside. For one thing, I think novels with alternating viewpoints and stories told in flashbacks and flip-flopping chapters are hard to assemble and the way it is done in this novel is not working for me.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Donna Davis

    This one is a humdinger. Full review will be up soon.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Angie Kim

    Powerful. Ambitious. Intimate and raw. Such an important, nuanced story. READ THIS!!!!

  12. 4 out of 5

    TL

    I won this via goodreads giveaways in exchange for an honest review. All my opinions are my own. --- Well done book, but not my cup of tea unfortunately :(

  13. 4 out of 5

    Lou

    In 1992 L.A at the time of rioting tragedies hit the streets hard, and one family in this tale harder. The corruption spreading and the divide, the two sides of the fence of the divided denizens of LA strung through the narrative. Two families need fixing with all the regret and pain travailed. This crucible of good and evil in this L.A before you with a history of violence with innocence and guilt reoccurring strung together words with storytelling skill has carefully laid down truths in the In 1992 L.A at the time of rioting tragedies hit the streets hard, and one family in this tale harder. The corruption spreading and the divide, the two sides of the fence of the divided denizens of LA strung through the narrative. Two families need fixing with all the regret and pain travailed. This crucible of good and evil in this L.A before you with a history of violence with innocence and guilt reoccurring strung together words with storytelling skill has carefully laid down truths in the framework of fiction. With the whole whirlwind coming to an end you may shed a tear in its final stages of metamorphosis in the compelling narrative with murder and racial tension, past and ongoing, from a tragedy in the 1992 LA riots to present day, has complexities of the human condition to ruminate within the reader. Your house will pay, but ultimately a price no one wants to pay, who will pay and suffer by the end of this compelling tale. Review also @ More2read.com

  14. 4 out of 5

    Amelia

    Timely, unflinching, and delving deep into the heart of a conflict that divided LA. This is exactly the kind of literary crime novel you hope for -- one which goes beyond news articles and rote analysis and digs into the heart and experience of the people who lived it. This is a heartfelt exploration of both sides of a deep conflict, a conflict with social and historical relevance but one which starts and ends with two families. Won't spoil the ending but for me it really brought home the Timely, unflinching, and delving deep into the heart of a conflict that divided LA. This is exactly the kind of literary crime novel you hope for -- one which goes beyond news articles and rote analysis and digs into the heart and experience of the people who lived it. This is a heartfelt exploration of both sides of a deep conflict, a conflict with social and historical relevance but one which starts and ends with two families. Won't spoil the ending but for me it really brought home the relevance of this book to our present moment.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    2.5 rounded up Split between the LA race riots of 1992 and the continued killing of black citizens by police in 2019 in the US, Your House Will Pay tells the story of two families caught up in these events from the perspectives of one member of each family, with sections set in the early 90s but primarily in the present day. Cha's novel tells the story of a fictional crime with very real life parallels to the murder of Latasaha Harlins, examining the fallout of the crime on the two families. My 2.5 rounded up Split between the LA race riots of 1992 and the continued killing of black citizens by police in 2019 in the US, Your House Will Pay tells the story of two families caught up in these events from the perspectives of one member of each family, with sections set in the early 90s but primarily in the present day. Cha's novel tells the story of a fictional crime with very real life parallels to the murder of Latasaha Harlins, examining the fallout of the crime on the two families. My hangup on the book was that it felt a bit too ambitious and didn't quite convey the tension and emotional destruction I knew it was trying to, instead it was like the author just scratched the surface of a huge and complex issue. Thank you Netgalley and Faber and Faber for the advance copy, which was provided in exchange for an honest review.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Mark

    In the early 90s, LA was a powder-keg of racial tensions, with the beating of Rodney King, along with the riots and vigils that followed. The killing of 15 year old Latasha Harlins, an African American, by a Korean shop-owner, was another explosive incident, that occurred during that period.. This powerful novel, fictionalizes that story, focusing on the families of Latasha and the female Korean shop-owner, taking the reader, from the time of the shooting to the current day, as these people In the early 90s, LA was a powder-keg of racial tensions, with the beating of Rodney King, along with the riots and vigils that followed. The killing of 15 year old Latasha Harlins, an African American, by a Korean shop-owner, was another explosive incident, that occurred during that period.. This powerful novel, fictionalizes that story, focusing on the families of Latasha and the female Korean shop-owner, taking the reader, from the time of the shooting to the current day, as these people struggle and reconcile, with the aftermath of this horrible tragedy. The names have been changed but the author captures the spirit and inner-turmoil of these fully-realized characters, keeping the narrative well-paced, thoughtful and riveting. Highly recommended. 4.5 stars

  17. 4 out of 5

    Jamie Canaves

    One Of The Year’s Best Crime Novels I want to start by saying that if you’re a fan of crime novels, I recommend picking this one up without knowing anything about it as I really love the way Cha unfolds everything–basically you’ll get maximum impact. For those going, “Nope, I’m gonna need to hear more,” here you go: Cha’s novel is not only built upon the turmoil and unrest from the 1992 Los Angeles riots but also based on a real case many have probably never heard of. Following a Korean-American One Of The Year’s Best Crime Novels I want to start by saying that if you’re a fan of crime novels, I recommend picking this one up without knowing anything about it as I really love the way Cha unfolds everything–basically you’ll get maximum impact. For those going, “Nope, I’m gonna need to hear more,” here you go: Cha’s novel is not only built upon the turmoil and unrest from the 1992 Los Angeles riots but also based on a real case many have probably never heard of. Following a Korean-American family (mostly through Grace, the youngest dutiful daughter) and a Black family (mostly through Shawn, helping out his cousin’s family) the novel explores family, racism, the injustice system, violence, revenge, culture, forgiveness and the inability to, with excellent characters and nuance. Your House Will Pay is a truly important and great historical fiction novel that also keeps Cha’s noir writing and influences alive. It’s been a month since I read it and I still randomly find myself wondering about the characters in the novel and thinking about a lot of hard questions. --from Book Riot's Unusual Suspects newsletter: https://link.bookriot.com/view/56a820...

  18. 5 out of 5

    Ron S

    Steph Cha delivers a subtle and morally complex work of fiction based on the 1991 murder of a 15 year old black girl by a Korean store owner, who was convicted of involuntary manslaughter and served no jail time. Most of the events in the novel take place between June and September 2019 and it sadly feels as though Cha is writing narrative non-fiction in real time. Mild spoiler alert: a riot breaking out in September 2019 (two months ahead of my writing this, and a month before the book will be Steph Cha delivers a subtle and morally complex work of fiction based on the 1991 murder of a 15 year old black girl by a Korean store owner, who was convicted of involuntary manslaughter and served no jail time. Most of the events in the novel take place between June and September 2019 and it sadly feels as though Cha is writing narrative non-fiction in real time. Mild spoiler alert: a riot breaking out in September 2019 (two months ahead of my writing this, and a month before the book will be published) feels more likely to happen than not. Cha is a quiet writer, so good at her craft that you might not even notice how good at times. An impressive work of fiction that courageously takes on race relations in America today.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Viral

    Thanks to HarperCollins for the ARC at BEA 2019! Wow. Just, wow. This book packs one hell of an emotional punch. This is a phenomenal look at the black-Korean tensions in L.A. during the 1990s and the continued state and interpersonal violence the black community faces, not just in L.A. but across the country. It gets raw and personal and it doesn't hold back. This book hit me like a bus to the chest with it's well written characters facing deep emotional trauma and confronting generational Thanks to HarperCollins for the ARC at BEA 2019! Wow. Just, wow. This book packs one hell of an emotional punch. This is a phenomenal look at the black-Korean tensions in L.A. during the 1990s and the continued state and interpersonal violence the black community faces, not just in L.A. but across the country. It gets raw and personal and it doesn't hold back. This book hit me like a bus to the chest with it's well written characters facing deep emotional trauma and confronting generational demons that cannot go away if they are not addressed. A strong contender for my top book of the year. Highly, highly recommend.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Farzana Khan

    I loved this book throughout until the end, which wasn't really satisfying. After a massive build up there wasn't really an end, and maybe it would have been too complicated an end but it would have been nice to have one Still, a really quick and engaging read. I think this book will do really well when it publishes.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Sharon L.

    4.5 stars. This is one of the crime novels published in 2019 that I hope to see on many of this year's "Best of" lists. I loved it and can't stop thinking about it. The book is somewhat quiet, but increasingly tense, with a narrative shifting between two very different characters dealing with different traumatic events in their families--and once it becomes clear the traumas are intertwined the dread is palpable. This novel has a deep sense of place (L.A.) and history (the aftermath of the 4.5 stars. This is one of the crime novels published in 2019 that I hope to see on many of this year's "Best of" lists. I loved it and can't stop thinking about it. The book is somewhat quiet, but increasingly tense, with a narrative shifting between two very different characters dealing with different traumatic events in their families--and once it becomes clear the traumas are intertwined the dread is palpable. This novel has a deep sense of place (L.A.) and history (the aftermath of the 1990's L.A. riots). I didn't expect to be so taken in by the story, but kudos to Steph Cha for creating such fully developed, complicated characters. If you are a fan of crime fiction and noir, if you are curious as how noir is evolving and expanding, I highly recommend checking out this book.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Candace Hernandez

    I’m sitting between 4/4.5 stars. Loved it, review to come.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Jonathan

    REVIEW 5 . Your house will pay is a stunning debut that leaves you breathless till the final page. Steph Cha has taken the all too familiar story of racism and utterly flipped it on its head. Beginning with the history of the LA race riots of 1992 and ending present day with a redemptive force, this thriller paced novel absolutely leveled me. . The background story of the novel is based on an actual event from which in 1992 a young Korean woman was working at her corner store when she got into an REVIEW 5⭐️ . Your house will pay is a stunning debut that leaves you breathless till the final page. Steph Cha has taken the all too familiar story of racism and utterly flipped it on its head. Beginning with the history of the LA race riots of 1992 and ending present day with a redemptive force, this thriller paced novel absolutely leveled me. . The background story of the novel is based on an actual event from which in 1992 a young Korean woman was working at her corner store when she got into an altercation with a sixteen year old black girl, ending with her shooting the girl in the back of the head and killing her. She was convicted of voluntary manslaughter yet was sentenced to no jail time, a baffling assessment of a story not widely known. . Cha then takes that event and uses it as a catalyst for her story. Picking up in 2019 the two narrators alternate between chapters. The first is Sean, the younger brother of the young woman who was murdered by the shopkeeper. We follow his story and his family, their grief still stinging like an open wound almost thirty years gone. . The second narrator is Grace, the daughter of the woman who killed the young girl. Grace is in her mid 20’s and finds out about what her mother did and how her family buried the secret and instantly her world is forever changed. . Another act of violence and racism brings these characters and their families together once again and we watch everything unfold from alternating sides. Witnessing the hurt, pain, revenge, secrets, and above all the empathy and forgiveness. A completely human novel that explored uncharted territory, a book with a heart so big and a conscience that bleeds out with every word. The unforgettable story of a cities violent history and the understanding that eventually blooms from it all. .

  24. 4 out of 5

    Tristan

    There are many professional reviews of this book, written by actual writers who know how to use words. I agree with the ones I have read. You should read those too. I will add, though, that it is f&;@/*%# spectacular. It is sharp. It is synonyms of sharp. Well done. Spectacular.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Caroline Gerardo

    This review is unfinished. I need a week to mull it over. My personal experience mixes in the plot and makes my mind muddy. Backstory: I was nine months pregnant during the riots. Was rehabbing a building on Bonnie Brae and 6th while gang members who I knew by name filled glass coke bottles with gas they siphoned (by mouth and tube from parked cars). A Korean family owned a donut shop and a liquor store across from us. They sat on the roof with weapons, I sat in the un-gated parking lot This review is unfinished. I need a week to mull it over. My personal experience mixes in the plot and makes my mind muddy. Backstory: I was nine months pregnant during the riots. Was rehabbing a building on Bonnie Brae and 6th while gang members who I knew by name filled glass coke bottles with gas they siphoned (by mouth and tube from parked cars). A Korean family owned a donut shop and a liquor store across from us. They sat on the roof with weapons, I sat in the un-gated parking lot thinking, "what do I do if my water breaks?" We could see each other. My nutty husband got on our rooftop smoking cigars and shouted back and forth to them to see if they needed assistance. We had no weapons, just youth and the inability to leave the area, as all hell broke loose. People of all races skipped down the street in the early hours carrying steaks and televisions as if they were wearing flowers on a Rose Bowl float parade. While reading Your House Will Pay that feeling of watching an event, as if a dream, overcame me, enough to stop me from reading. This book will trigger your PTSD for certain. A shake up is coming, not an earthquake; but a tide of unchecked prejudice that is open in America. The prose of this book propels the reader like the Santa Cruz wooden roller coaster gone off track and into the sea- gorgeous, terrifying, and pounding. Loved the ride. My water didn't break. The donut shop and store burned to the ground. Firefighters were the only vehicles moving in the city for a few days, I wonder how they refilled the water hoses.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Latkins

    Based on an infamous real case from 1991, this is a powerful novel about intolerance, murder, revenge and redemption. Two characters, Shawn and Grace, both live in LA but on the surface appear to have little in common. Shawn is African American, in his early 40s, with a partner and stepdaughter, and an ex-con cousin, Ray. Shawn hopes Ray will go straight following his recent release from prison, for Ray’s wife and two children’s sake as much as for his own. And for the sake of Ray’s mother, Based on an infamous real case from 1991, this is a powerful novel about intolerance, murder, revenge and redemption. Two characters, Shawn and Grace, both live in LA but on the surface appear to have little in common. Shawn is African American, in his early 40s, with a partner and stepdaughter, and an ex-con cousin, Ray. Shawn hopes Ray will go straight following his recent release from prison, for Ray’s wife and two children’s sake as much as for his own. And for the sake of Ray’s mother, Shawn’s Aunt Sheila, who brought Shawn up after the death of his own mother when he was a child. Grace is a Korean American, in her late 20s, who still lives with her hard-working parents who came to America when they were young, in search of a better life. She works with them at the nearby Korean pharmacy, but her sister Miriam keeps urging her to leave and start her own life. Miriam left home many years ago, but Grace still doesn’t know why Miriam and parents have been estranged. A shocking event rips Grace’s life apart, and pulls her and Shawn’s paths together. But how can either of them reconcile the violence that has taken its toll on them both? Both a gripping thriller and a thought-provoking contemporary novel.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Robert Intriago

    In a world in which the terms racist/racism are used without foresight but rather to stop arguments it is nice to see a thoughtful book about the subject. After the Rodney King incident in LA there existed a lot of animosity between the African-American and Korean communities as a result of the looting that took place in Korean grocery stores during the riots following the acquittals of policemen involved in the King beating. Mr. Cha uses this as the basis of his novel to explain that these In a world in which the terms racist/racism are used without foresight but rather to stop arguments it is nice to see a thoughtful book about the subject. After the Rodney King incident in LA there existed a lot of animosity between the African-American and Korean communities as a result of the looting that took place in Korean grocery stores during the riots following the acquittals of policemen involved in the King beating. Mr. Cha uses this as the basis of his novel to explain that these feelings were brought forward into the present. This story involves two families, one Korean and another African-American, living in the present but their lives connected by an incident in the 1990s. The author explores present day race relations and the attitude of the police toward race relations. It is an intelligent discussion which dwells into the somewhat complexities of such relations and how they are viewed by different generations. I think the most important point made by this novel is that you can not judge a previous generation by today standards but you must apply the standards used at the time of the incident. A provocative and thoughtful novel.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Halley Sutton

    An absolutely beautiful book. Should be required reading for all Californians, probably all Americans, maybe all humans--not just because of the subject matter or the deeply felt empathy of this book but also because it's just a damn good book. A crime novel wrapped around a deft look at a chapter of Los Angeles's dark history, with just flawless writing. I can't recommend this book strongly enough.

  29. 4 out of 5

    MariNaomi

    This is the most un-put-downable book I've read in forever, 299 pages in three sittings. I cried at least thrice, but it was also funny and intense and beautiful, each sentence perfectly crafted. This book is going to be huge.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Sarah-Hope

    Your House Will Pay is a remarkable book. It takes place along two timelines. The first begins shortly before the Rodney King riots when a panicking Korean shop owner shoots and kills a Black girl. She's convicted on manslaughter, but serves no prison time. The second begins twenty-seven years later, when that woman is shot in front of the pharmacy her family now runs, and a cousin of the girl killed years ago pleads guilty to the shooting. Nothing here is easy. Everyone carries anger and sorrow Your House Will Pay is a remarkable book. It takes place along two timelines. The first begins shortly before the Rodney King riots when a panicking Korean shop owner shoots and kills a Black girl. She's convicted on manslaughter, but serves no prison time. The second begins twenty-seven years later, when that woman is shot in front of the pharmacy her family now runs, and a cousin of the girl killed years ago pleads guilty to the shooting. Nothing here is easy. Everyone carries anger and sorrow and resentments and excuses. Every character is flawed in a way that makes the novel ring true and actually makes them easier to identify with than a more "noble" cast might be. Your House Will Pay has no magic bullets. The characters all have to choose among options none of which is completely right or good. Things aren't tied up in a neat bow at the end. But the novel provides readers with a lens they can use to examine our particular historical moment in all its complexities.

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