Review: Your House Will Pay by Steph Cha

She was just a person, someone who’d never even learned to fire a gun. And the police had offered her up, to draw attention from their own mistakes. They would do it again if they had the chance.

Your House Will Pay

Summary and Thoughts

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. But Grace Park and Shawn Matthews have their own problems. Grace is sheltered and largely oblivious, living in the Valley with her Korean-immigrant parents, working long hours at the family pharmacy. She’s distraught that her sister hasn’t spoken to their mother in two years, for reasons beyond Grace’s understanding. Shawn has already had enough of politics and protest after an act of violence shattered his family years ago. He just wants to be left alone to enjoy his quiet life in Palmdale.

But when another shocking crime hits LA, both the Park and Matthews families are forced to face down their history while navigating the tumult of a city on the brink of more violence.


Opening up the book with already some knowledge on the LA Riots, the historical event in which this story is based off of, I was bracing myself for the emotional complexity and heartache Cha would reveal. While the first few chapters were a bit slow — taking their time in establishing the characters and setting — once the inciting incident took place, the pacing picked up full speed ahead and I was unable to drop the novel until I had finished it.

Your House Will Pay is a thrilling novel filled with complicated and well-crafted characters, emotionally-rich but believable dialogue, and a nuanced perspective on a striking moment of history (the impact of which is still relevant today) that takes into account police corruption and white media’s distortion of race relations. The personal emotions of those involved are rendered viewable and intimate, and for this, I am deeply appreciative of Cha’s skilled hand. Though the ending felt a bit rushed, overall, this was a speedy, invigorating read and I would recommend it to all.

Photo Courtesy of Goodreads

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