By Tahereh Mafi
Why this book?
After the death of her mother and the abandonment of her father, 13-year-old Laylee is the sole remaining Moordeshor in her village, responsible for laundering the souls of the recently dead. Her struggle to keep up has turned her into a grumpy recluse, but the book is saved from becoming too morose by a witty narrator and the arrival of a pair of spunky children inexplicably determined to help her. I absolutely adore every character in this story, and the writing is exquisite. Furthermore, the unique world building in this story tackles death and grief with plenty of heart, but in a fantastical way that removes the sting of experiencing loss in the “real” world.
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