cover image Hope in the Valley

Hope in the Valley

Mitali Perkins. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $17.99 (304p) ISBN 978-0-374-38851-5

In this moving novel by Perkins (The Story of Us), 13-year-old aspiring poet Pandita Paul struggles to navigate grief and change in her rapidly gentrifying Silicon Valley neighborhood. Since the death of Pandu’s mother years ago, the apricot orchard across the street—which the two called Ashar Jaiga, or place of hope­—has recently been a sanctuary for Pandu, until it’s threatened when the mansion property on which it sits is sold for redevelopment into purportedly affordable rental units. When demolition begins, Pandu loses access to this refuge and worries that, once the orchard is gone, her memories of Ma will go with it. In her search for a solution, Pandu cultivates an alliance with the town librarian and members of the local historical preservation society, who are adamant about preventing the property’s bulldozing. But this allyship puts Pandu at odds with her older sister Shar, an affordable housing activist who supports the development. Though the novel is set in the 1980s, issues surrounding housing inequity and financial precarity deeply resonate with present-day challenges. Employing Pandu’s lilting voice and quiet bravery, Perkins crafts an introspective novel about moving on from loss and finding the courage to fight for what one believes in. Pandu and her family are Indian American. Ages 8–12. (July)