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The Land of Yesterday

3.97  ·  Rating details ·  309 ratings  ·  132 reviews
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-stricke
Published July 31st 2018
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K.A. Hi there. Celedon dies after a tragic accident. :(

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Average rating 3.97  · 
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 ·  309 ratings  ·  132 reviews

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Hannah Greendale
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 no
Jan 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mg, badass-debuts
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.
Oct 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing
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!!!
Hayley Chewins
Dec 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
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
Jan 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
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 ag ...more
Oct 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing
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!! ...more
Amelinda Bérubé
Feb 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
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 s
K. Wolf
Oct 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Such a gorgeous, whimsical, and creative read!!!
R.M. Romero
Feb 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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. ...more
Huang Chu
May 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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 vari ...more
May 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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,’s all here, and woven into a c
A. Ledger
Jan 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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, ...more
Feb 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy, middle-grade
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 ...more
Oct 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing
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!
Jan 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
"...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.
Mar 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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 t
Laura Shovan
Mar 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Jen Hawkins
Oct 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing
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 kid ...more
Emma Berquist
Mar 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Gorgeously written and wondrously imaginative. I would give anything for sentient hair.
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!
Merrill Wyatt
Mar 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: middle-grade
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 ...more
Melissa Sarno
Aug 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book is so original, so beautiful, and FULL of heart. What a stunner. And...I love The Caterwaul and want to hug him.
Derek Milman
Apr 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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
Aug 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Lorie Barber
Jul 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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
Apr 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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’ll probably result in tears. SO worth it though!!
Jun 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mg
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! ...more
Paige Bernard
May 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Aug 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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. ...more
Marie Cruz
May 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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!!
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K. A. Reynolds is an autistic, ownvoices author, living with anxiety, depression, PTSD, as well as a flock of children and pets. Born and bred in Winnipeg, Canada, Kristin lives for Monty Python, old dead poets, ushering creepy crawly things with numerous legs out of houses, and writing dark and lovely things for children. Despite her innocent appearance, she has been described on more than one oc ...more

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