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Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite
La Casa 758 is a young adult literary fiction novel written by Kathryn Berla. Krista's dad is worried about her, and he'd be even more concerned if he knew she had taken to parking outside the somewhat run-down house where that man lives. She can't really help herself, however, it's something she just needs to do. Her father wants her to join swim team again, get a job, or do something other than spend the summer sitting and watching television shows and sleeping up on the roof of the garage in her little tent. Lyla, her only real friend, is going away to visit her grandparents in Maine for two months, and even she is concerned about Krista being on her own. It's been two years since the accident that destroyed Krista's world, and she really doesn't think the well-meaning efforts of family and friends will do anything to change her bleak horizon.
Kathryn Berla's young adult literary fiction novel, La Casa 758, is a gripping and intense story. I was immediately drawn into Krista's life and felt her confusion and pain over the loss of her mom and the shock of having her father's girlfriend, Marie, move into the house. The story really takes off, however, when Krista's grandfather comes to visit from Venezuela, and her father assigns her the task of taking him for his medical appointments and making sure he enjoys his stay. Watching as her grandfather heals the grieving cockatiel, Charlie, and breathes life and hope back into his granddaughter's heart is a transcendent and moving literary experience. The author puts so much into this tale of survivors and life: there's the tragic history of the Hungarian Jews who were exterminated even as the Germans were losing the war, a look at the struggles of survivors of the more recent war in Iraq, and a sweet and unforgettable burgeoning romance. La Casa 785 is most highly recommended.