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The Land of Yesterday

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A tender and fantastical adventure story perfect for fans of Coraline.

After Cecelia Dahl’s little brother, Celadon, dies tragically, his soul goes where all souls go: the Land of Yesterday—and Cecelia is left behind in a fractured world without him.

Her beloved house’s spirit is crumbling beyond repair, her father is imprisoned by sorrow, and worst of all, her grief-stricken mother abandons the land of the living to follow Celadon into Yesterday.

It’s up to Cecelia to put her family back together, even if that means venturing into the dark and forbidden Land of Yesterday on her own. But as Cecilia braves a hot-air balloon commanded by two gnomes, a sea of daisies, and the Planet of Nightmares, it’s clear that even if she finds her family, she might not be able to save them.

And if she’s not careful, she might just become a lost soul herself, trapped forever in Yesterday.

“Told with riveting language, this is a poignant tale that will resonate with readers of all ages and leave them reeling from such an emotional, gorgeous story.” (Roshani Chokshi, New York Times bestselling author of Aru Shah and the End of Time)

“From its first words, The Land of Yesterday has the pure crystal ring of a classic, like The Little Prince or The Phantom Tollbooth—beautiful, unique, and shimmering with truth. It’s a balm for grief, and a bursting fantastical joy of a story.” (Laini Taylor, New York Times bestselling author of Strange the Dreamer)

“Richly imagined, creative, and entertaining.”
— School Library Journal


First published July 31, 2018

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About the author

K.A. Reynolds

5 books252 followers
K. A. Reynolds is an anxious, neurodivergent author writing mental health/neurodiverse positive books. Born and bred in Winnipeg, Canada, Kristin has a thing for dead poets, ushering creepy crawly things with numerous legs out of houses, and writing dark and magical tales for all. Despite her innocent appearance, she has been described on more than one occasion as the following: strange, grim, fierce, dreamer, poet, lover of the fantastic, indulger of the macabre, and more often than not, witch. Her debut MG Fantasy, The Land of Yesterday published with HarperCollins 7-31-18. A second MG Fantasy, The Spinner of Dreams, followed on 8-27-19. Her newest upper middle grade title, IZZY AT THE END OF THE WORLD, released with Clarion Books/HarperCollins 2-21-2023. Her debut Picture book, THE BIG WORRY DAY, released 8-23-22. And her debut chapter book, AVA SKYE, ADVENTURER, releases with Collins Big Cat, 9-4-23, which is all very exiting!

K.A has been published in several poetry journals and could wallpaper the universe in all the unread poems and stories hidden on her computer. When not buried under a mountain of books, she can be found enjoying the wilds of nature, where she currently resides with her equally strange flock of teenagers. She is represented by a superhero otherwise known as Thao Le of SDLA.

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5 stars
156 (44%)
4 stars
90 (25%)
3 stars
64 (18%)
2 stars
29 (8%)
1 star
9 (2%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 136 reviews
Profile Image for Hannah Greendale.
701 reviews3,355 followers
Shelved as 'dnf'
August 7, 2018
DNF at 25% because of awkward writing and clunky worldbuilding; however, The Land of Yesterday's sluggish pacing may appeal to fans of The Language of Spells by Garret Weyr or, because of a sentient house that plays the role of antagonist, will likely delight fans of The Thief of Always by Clive Barker.
Cecelia turned in confusion and asked Penelope Ness, who sat in the desk behind her, "Could you understand what he said?" But all that came out of Penelope's mouth were honks and coughs and nonsense, a foreign language of farts.
Profile Image for Kim.
163 reviews69 followers
January 4, 2017
This is a remarkable, remarkable book. If you're a fan of lyrical and gorgeous writing a la Laini Taylor, you'll LOVE K.A. Reynolds. If you love the dark and whimsical worlds of Neil Gaiman, then THE LAND OF YESTERDAY is for you!

This is a fantastic read, and I fully enjoyed it from start to finish.
Profile Image for Jaye.
Author 9 books450 followers
October 28, 2016
Yes I may be biased, but this book is deeply special. Kristin is a poet with prose and this book is so very, very rich. The story of a girl who's fierce and beautiful and will do what it takes to hang onto love and self and family, all wrapped up in the creepy vibe of a house that is trying to devour her family.

So happy the world gets to read it!!!
Profile Image for Hayley Chewins.
Author 4 books127 followers
April 24, 2018
This is one of the best books I've ever read.

The writing is stunningly beautiful. (Even the characters' names are beautiful.) The world is fresh and strange and delicious. The characters are clever and quirky and lovable. The plot swept me along like a tide.

This book felt, at once, completely original and sweetly familiar and classic.

Linguistically playful, heartbreaking and humorous, THE LAND OF YESTERDAY literally has everything I want in a book. I would list all my favourite details, but I don't want to give anything away.

Suffice to say: if you're a fan of Neil Gaiman, Catherynne M. Valente or Laini Taylor, PREORDER THIS BOOK. You won't regret it. I can't wait to own this in hardcover and to buy it for every child and adult I know.
Profile Image for Ron.
Author 2 books81 followers
August 2, 2018
This book. It's so, so amazing. I could not stop reading, to the point where my kids were probably like, why hasn't daddy looked up from the computer since yesterday morning? It's one of the truest books I've read in a long, long while. So evocative, so beautifully written, so imaginative. Think Neil Gaiman, only with a depth of emotion that is off the charts. The way Reynolds balances the fantasy elements with that emotion? Unbelievable. And Cecelia is such a great main character. So full of agency and bravado and fear! All the characters are so distinct, and the settings? I am a sucker for setting, and this did it for me ten-fold. I cannot wait to read this book to my daughters.
Profile Image for Destiny.
133 reviews14 followers
August 2, 2018
I was lucky enough to read this book early on and can I tell you something? It's beautiful, heartbreaking, lyrical, whimsical and tackles the very real issues of grief in a childlike and imaginative way. Loved this book!!
Profile Image for Amelinda Bérubé.
Author 3 books171 followers
January 7, 2018
A girl with an empty birdcage in her middle who's turning to paper.
A house that's going mad with grief as its family falls apart.
A ghost brother and a vanished mother.

This book is creepy, beautiful, strange, and delightful as a brilliant poem or a really vivid dream. No matter how wildly colourful and inventive its creatures and landscapes and language get - which is very! - the story is always firmly and painfully anchored in the hard truths of grief and healing. Even at its weirdest and most surreal, it's absolutely compelling, relatable, and brimful of love.
Profile Image for R.M. Romero.
Author 5 books308 followers
April 24, 2018
THE LAND OF YESTERDAY is imaginative, lyrical, and full of equal parts darkness and hope. I've never read anything quite like it and I loved every page.
3 reviews
May 8, 2018
Other reviews have summarized the plot well, so I'll skip that portion. This is a lyrical, cathartic fantasy that feels like a classic middle grade on one hand but also draws honestly from the life experiences and crises that can either turn children into adults or leave adults forever former children. There are echoes of many other beloved middle grade works. The book is lovingly in conversation with "The Little Prince", "Coraline", "Spirited Away", and "Howl's Moving Castle". However, the various inspirations are united by a consistent surrealist dreaminess that makes the book feel like "Baby's First Murakami Novel". Which is pretty delicious. It makes a number of metaphorS literal. For example, it takes the idea of a "broken home" and makes it literal and very visual. It takes the idea of death turning loved ones into just pieces of paper (in that they exist only in the form of old photographs and letters) and makes that literal and very visual. The technique creates a powerful "dream truth" as well as startling visuals. The book does what Jung says dreams were designed by our psyches to do: lead us through the familiar stories shared by our species over ages, stories filled with universal fears and truths. These fears and truths populate our darkest nights, but also, ultimately, get us through them.
Profile Image for Kathie.
Author 2 books66 followers
August 7, 2018
Thank you to #BookPortage for an ARC of this book. All opinions are my own.

Wow. This book is unlike any #MGlit book I have ever read. It’s a unique fantasy that will transport you out of your world, and into a place best described (as written on the back cover) as “dark, imaginative, and heartbreaking”. There is so much raw emotion that flows through these pages of lyrical writing that you can’t help but be touched by it. Loss, love, pain, joy, jealousy, guilt...it’s all here, and woven into a complex story about a young girl trying to find a way to fix her broken family. Fantasy lovers need to preorder this book, and add the July 31st release date to their TBR lists.
Profile Image for A. Ledger.
3 reviews6 followers
January 2, 2018
Oh my goodness! This book was everything I imagined it’d be: sweet and sad and hopeful and spooky and just a little bit weird. Cecelia is a great character, so resourceful and brave! I loved her world (how could you not? There’s a store called Myths of Milk, Honey, and Swords!!!) Basically you’re going to want to read this book, especially if you like your MG a touch on the creepy side. It’s a little bit Coraline (or my personal favorite, The Thief of Always), a little bit Howl’s Moving Castle, and a smidge of Alice in Wonderland. The best!
Profile Image for Cindy.
Author 4 books325 followers
February 4, 2018
This week, at long last, I got the chance to read K. A. Reynolds' gorgeously dark and quirky novel, THE LAND OF YESTERDAY. I've been really sick all week and had difficulty reading much, and I've honestly struggled a lot emotionally with the weight of everything. Being able to dip in and out of THE LAND OF YESTERDAY, though, was exactly what my heart needed. Reynolds' prose is poetic and voicey, and her story one so lovely and unique that I found myself letting go of my normal predictive-reader brain and just going along for the ride. For a book about grief and the pain of loss, THE LAND OF YESTERDAY is filled with hope and light and courage—and liberally sprinkled with humor, too. Cecilia is a heroine worth rooting for, and the cast of supporting characters is completely wonderful. The ending is bittersweet and perfect and completely satisfying. If you love middle grade adventures, books that speak in metaphor, Neil Gaiman or Catherynne Valente, or stories about brave and broken girls, keep your eye out for THE LAND OF YESTERDAY this July! (It releases just a few weeks after mine, at the end of July.)
Profile Image for Kip.
Author 16 books223 followers
January 8, 2018
Oh my goodness, this book! I just finished reading and am sobbing sad and happy tears at the same time. It was such a lovely, terrifying journey. I feel so lucky to have gotten to know Cecelia and her anxious blue hair, and you should too! As much of a strange and quirky adventure a la THE GIRL WHO CIRCUMNAVIGATED FAIRYLAND as it is a journey to the core of the mind and soul and heart a la THE LITTLE PRINCE, this book is simply a treasure. Follow the daisies!
Profile Image for Christina.
Author 2 books78 followers
January 15, 2018
"...the real secret was remembering what made someone shine. Cecelia realized her answer right then. Her family made her shine brightest of all."

Be still, my heart. K.A. Reynolds blew me away with this weird and beautiful story of loss, grief, courage, and more, pulling at my heartstrings while entrancing me with her magical prose. If I love this book as an adult, I can't imagine how much I would have loved it as a kid.
Profile Image for Sean.
Author 3 books72 followers
March 15, 2018
Wow. What a beautiful, haunting book. I was captivated from the dedication onward, and it never disappointed. The way the author portrayed the emotions Cecelia dealt with throughout her ordeal was nothing short of magical. There's just something about the description of the house as a character that is mourning the loss of one of its inhabitants that rings completely true. And the way the story progresses--and eventually resolves--is going to stick with me for a long, long time.

Even better is the knowledge that some child who has experienced a loss like Cecelia has and will learn to cope through this fantasy book... K.A. Reynolds knows where the lanterns are hidden in the darkness, and she's lighting the way for kids who are hurting.
Profile Image for Laura Shovan.
Author 10 books137 followers
March 7, 2018
K.A. Reynolds debut is about a child surviving debilitating grief, yet it's also one of the most inventive fantasy novels I've read recently. Think THE REMARKABLE JOURNEY OF CHARLIE PRICE set in a world like Oz or Wonderland. In THE LAND OF YESTERDAY, grief is a strange, wondrous, and dangerous place. Cecelia's quest to restore her family after a terrible accident is also great for fans of CORALINE and THE PHANTOM TOLL BOOTH. She must complete her journey through the mysterious Land of Yesterday before her body turns to paper. Wow! What a metaphor. In grief, we can turn paper thin -- our emotions are flat and delicate, easily torn or crumpled. Recommended for MG readers who love absurd, wildly imaginative world-building, but also for kids who are coping with grief. The author's dedication and acknowledgements make her connection to Cecilia's story clear.
Profile Image for Jen Hawkins.
Author 2 books56 followers
February 16, 2018
This is one of the most beautiful and immersive middle grade fantasies I've ever read. I didn't think I'd ever love one as much as I loved The Graveyard Book, but I was mistaken. I was positively mystified by the way this author weaved a heartfelt adventure with the difficult emotions that come with grief and loss. I got swept away by the poetry in the language. I'm so glad I was fortunate enough to read an early copy, and I can't wait to hold the hardcover in my hands so I can give it to my kids.
Profile Image for Emma Berquist.
Author 2 books208 followers
March 14, 2018
Gorgeously written and wondrously imaginative. I would give anything for sentient hair.
Profile Image for Laurie.
Author 7 books93 followers
January 15, 2019
A beautifully written, magical story about family, grief, forgiveness, and strength. The Land of Yesterday is as whimsical and action-packed as it is meaningful and emotional. Perfect for readers who enjoyed Coraline or The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of her Own Making. Just lovely!
Profile Image for Merrill Wyatt.
12 reviews1 follower
March 18, 2018
A wonderfully weird and whimsical, yet deeply moving, tale of loss and letting go. In Cecelia, fans of both Coraline and Hermione Granger, will find a heroine both quirky and strong. Set in a magical universe where hot air balloons whisk passengers from planet to planet and houses can move about on legs that Baba Yaga would approve of, Cecelia has lost first her brother, then her mother, and finally her father. The first to death, the second to grief, and the third to another's rage. To find and heal her family, Cecelia must use all of her wits - plus a magical pen - to survive the journey into the Land of Yesterday. In this story of Dangerous Girls with Dangerous Pens, Rey writes sensitively about loss, grief, and remorse. Enjoyable by any child (or adult), The Land of Yesterday also subtly guides the reader through the process of accepting one's sadness at the death of a loved one, while also inspiring the reader to let go of that grief by reminding them that no one is ever truly lost because they are kept close in the hearts of those who knew them. All around, a beautiful read!
Profile Image for Derek Milman.
Author 3 books426 followers
April 30, 2018
Cecilia is smart, sensitive, and a little brassy--just my kind of heroine. She's tragically lost her beloved brother Celdaon and trying to make sense of her new, splintered reality. That's when the story smashes into wide open Technicolor, revealing an immensely satisfying, deeply imaginative adventure as Cecilia plunges into the Land of Yesterday, desperately trying to put her broken family back together.

The characters are lovingly rendered, Reynolds' voice is fresh and sharp, and comparisons to Coraline are apt. But you might also be reminded of His Dark Materials, The Neverending Story, and even early Harry Potter, given the scope of this story's dark-jeweled magic.

I loved this book, and it tackles heavy themes and feelings (grief, loss, guilt) with so much sincerity, you won't be able to avoid clutching this rollicking-yet-heartbreaking book to your chest multiple times. A must-read.
Profile Image for Shari.
Author 9 books106 followers
August 2, 2018
I loved this story. The richly imagined world of this middle grade fantasy is both beautiful and appropriately terrifying, forming a wonderful extended metaphor for this poignant story about losing oneself to grief and struggling to find oneself again. Lovely, compelling, whimsical, sad, and hopeful.
Profile Image for Lorie Barber.
557 reviews36 followers
December 31, 2018
There is going to be a young person in your life who suffers a great loss. Could be your daughter, could be your student, could be the son of a friend. That young person’s grief may make then feel anger, guilt, loathing, or a host of other feelings, sometimes individually, sometimes all at once.

This beautiful fantastical adventure, told with poignancy and such lyricism, might help that young person, or even those who may be taking in the challenge of helping that person through the darkness and into the light. With nods to The Little Prince and A Wrinkle In Time, this cast of characters will have you laughing, crying, and rooting for them to keep their hope - and their light - alive.
Profile Image for Jessica.
Author 5 books711 followers
April 9, 2018
There are so many amazing things to love about this book: the haunting, lyrical prose, the main character’s sentient hair, her magic pen fueled by tears, a story rich in family and love and dealing with grief. And did I mention the house spirit?? I adored The Land of Yesterday!! Fair warning though: after reading through to the end and going on the journey with Cecelia, and then reading the author’s own story...it’ll probably result in tears. SO worth it though!!
Profile Image for Julie.
Author 7 books467 followers
June 26, 2018
THE LAND OF YESTERDAY is an atmospheric and beautifully written story dealing with grief and loss. I highly recommend it for readers who love Coraline and enjoy whimsical, gorgeously created worlds. K.A. Reynolds' has an amazing imagination, and I can't wait to read her next book!
Profile Image for Paige Bernard.
45 reviews
May 11, 2020
I loved everything about this book. The lyrical writing, the messages and themes, the characters and their development, my soul being utterly destroyed, all good and dandy!
Honestly, one of the best middle grades I've read that deals with grief and loss of a family member. Helps children and adults to understand the importance of being there for people going through a really challenging time.
I have many feelings.
Profile Image for Rena.
Author 6 books383 followers
August 28, 2018
A haunting read. The prose here is stunning, I've really never read a book quite like this one. I think that the stories we tell ourselves sometimes are more important than reality, and this book is almost like a roadmap for how we navigate those tales when dealing with something like grief. I hope that children and adults find their way to this book and that this book finds its way into their hearts. It's an important read, and one that will stay with me for a long long time.
Profile Image for Marie Cruz.
Author 1 book66 followers
August 2, 2018
I love this story so much! Cecelia is so courageous and full of heart. It was a delicious read that had the whimsical feel of James and the Giant Peach and the darkness of Coraline. I would highly recommend this book to kids who love wonderfully rendered fantasy worlds. Brava!!
Displaying 1 - 30 of 136 reviews

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