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Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood
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Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood (Ya Yas #1)

3.78  ·  Rating Details ·  454,087 Ratings  ·  3,673 Reviews
Rebecca Wells, author of Little Altars Everywhere, has created a beautifully crafted, penetrating insight into society, friendship, the mother/daughter divide and religion. No subject is taboo as you dip in and out of the lives of Vivi, Teensy, Caro and Necie. -Nicola Perry
Paperback, 368 pages
Published 1999 by Perrenial (first published 1996)
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Diana I wouldn't let my 12 year old read it. It has a lot of mature themes such as child abuse, alcoholism, and mental illness. There is a LOT of foul…moreI wouldn't let my 12 year old read it. It has a lot of mature themes such as child abuse, alcoholism, and mental illness. There is a LOT of foul language if that is a concern. Also, I can't imagine many teens would enjoy it. It just isn't anything they could relate to.(less)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Jul 05, 2007 Cheri rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ick
Seriously not my cup of tea. Cutsey language, sentimentality run amok, and a deep sense of nostalgia for times that, well, I couldn't possibly feel nostalgic for. I'm not sure how an abusive mother is supposed to be funny or colorful, nor how transferring your disfunction onto you children is to be held up like a badge of honor. Maybe I needed to have crazy parents to understand it.
Aug 29, 2007 Deb rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bookclub, fiction
When the whole Ya-Ya craze was going on, my book club decided we'd better read it to see what all the fuss was about. In the end, we had to take a vote ("ya-ya" if you liked it; "no-no" if you didn't). I fell into the "no-no" group.
I found it disturbing that hordes of women were flocking to this book that is really about completely dysfunctional families and marriages and a really unhealthy attachment to friends from the past. It made me wonder what's going on with women that this kind of co-de
Mar 26, 2016 E rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels
Rebecca Wells can think up a few succulent stories, but her writing is absolute fast-food. It left me depressed to think that women are encouraged to read so-called "chick lit" on the basis that they only need a few sentimental tales about love, friendship, and/or family to satisfy them, no matter how infantile the writing style or half-baked the arguments.

(view spoiler)
Apr 20, 2012 Eva rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who thinks Steel Magnolias is the best movie EVER
I am so tired of this sort of storyline. A group of Southern women who form a timeless bond of woman-ness and Southern-ness and triumph in the face of all hardship because they are delicate as blossoms yet strong and fierce.
That said, when entering a genre so well-covered and sticky sweet, one must do something to make one's work stand out. I believe Rebecca Wells does an above-average job at this, and her book was a fun and easy read. It was hardly ground-breaking, nor did I find it moving, an
Jo (Bloomin'Chick)
Oh I loved this book! I had a very complicated relationship with my mother and though a cliche, I could well relate to that aspect of the book! I also love the movie, but I love the book more! (I read it just before the movie came out). I've also battled severe depression and this book (and movie) is near to my heart. Overall, the details, descriptions & relationships are just amazing! Ms. Wells has Lyme disease and has had a horrible past few years, and when I joined the message boards on h ...more
Brandy (aka Marsden)
My mother and her Ya-Ya’s were called the sisters of Beta Sigma Phi sorority in Charleston S.C. I grew up on the marshes watching them swing dance, shuck oysters and throwing what always seemed like a never ending festival that celebrated life.

They did community work and supported the local theatre, but mostly they just had a good time. I grew up in the whirlwind of color and laughter that now seems only like a distant dream. Momma passed 18 years ago and I don’t think I will ever be the same.
Feb 22, 2008 Stacey rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Really awful Southern girl shit.
Mar 25, 2008 Alissa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction-novel
I would give this book a PG-13 rating for language and a couple crude scenes- which were mild, but suggestive.

The entire book discuss' in detail the importance of few key character relationships. Getting to the MAIN relationship, in my opionion, and setting up the climax of the book is what took a while. About half way through it really hit home and I felt deeply connected to the story(s), and the characters. Eventhough, I was raised in a very different way, I felt that I could empathize and re
Mar 22, 2008 Madeline rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The only thing better than reading about dysfunctional, alcohlic, crazy families is reading about dysfunctional, alcoholic, crazy Catholic families. Who are Southern.
Every now and then I'll sit down and reread the chapter where Vivi and her friends (fourteen at the time) travel to Atlanta by themselves for the premiere of Gone With the Wind and Vivi ends up throwing a plate at her cousin when he insults one of the maids.
Then there's the time the girls enter a Shirley Temple lookalike contest
Apr 11, 2008 Traci rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: imperfect mothers and daughters
Recommended to Traci by: almost everyone
When I was pregnant with my oldest child, a girl, I had a dream. In my dream, I was in the hospital, postpartum, holding not the one child I knew that I had been pregnant with . . . but two children. Both girls. One of my baby girls was quiet, observant, peaceful. She had big, open eyes that reflected her big, open heart. The other child was physically larger than the other baby and it's complete opposite. Ugly, angry, needy. I sat there holding both babies in their swaddling clothes while the o ...more
Jun 14, 2008 Embee rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Women who cherish their longtime relationships with best girlfriends.
Grab a girlfriend, drink mint juleps and toast to sisterhood! This book shares all the details of the close relationships girlfriends share.
Debbie Petersen
Jul 13, 2008 Debbie Petersen rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People who do not read books but would like to think they read one
Shelves: absolute-drek
I think Vivi WAS a tap-dancing child abuser. Any discussion of this fact ends at the "being whipped with the belt" scene. Vivi had no right to be enraged when this fact comes to light--she should have been embarrassed, yes. Her daughter arguably should not have revealed this dirty laundry but should have worked it through with her mother privately.

According to this book, a scrapbook of silly adventures with Vivi's zany friends makes that behavior forgivable...not an apology or explanation from V
Jul 19, 2008 Jennifer rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I'm having a hard time deciding if I liked this book or not. On the surface, not so much. About 30 pages in, I wasn't sure if I was going to make it through, or if I was going to go insane if I saw the word "Ya-Ya" one more time.

There were some things that I liked about it. Friendship that endures, closer than blood. Knowing there's always someone there in your corner, and they've been there your whole life. Daughters learning that Mom had a life before she became a Mother, and has a separate id
Jan 09, 2009 marissa rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: daughters who are angerballs when it comes to ther oppressive, wonderful mothers
Much of this book I found really aggravating -- the unthinking privilege of the Ya-Yas, their total narcissism, the constant and tedious drama -- and yet I found myself looking forward to my lunch breaks so I could read it. Despite the foreignness of the situations and location, the class and race, there was still enough of my mother and me in Vivi and Siddalee Walker to make the book resonate with me. In the end, that's what I enjoyed (not quite the right word -- you know what I mean, though) m ...more
Nov 28, 2008 Jennifer rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People who like Lifetime movies.
Shelves: chicklit, 2002, fiction
I felt like this was a better story than Little Alters Everywhere - but really it was just a Part 1 and a part 2. I had a hard time with the abuse and alcoholism - just like I did in the first book. I think if I hadn't watched the movie first I would never have commited to reading these two books - since they seem to be scrunched together for the movie.

I have no desire to read any further in this series. The writing was good and the characters believable - but I felt like it was just depressing
Dixie Diamond
Dec 31, 2008 Dixie Diamond rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: emphatically, NOBODY.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 03, 2009 Amy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I always find myself attracted to novels that weave through generations, digging up colorful stories of the characters' pasts - allowing the reader to see them at different stages, thus making their present stage more understandable. Thus, when Divine Secrets took this route, I found it to be an engaging novel, leaving me almost breathless in some scenes, opening up tear ducts in others. The lives of Vivi and the YaYas takes shape immediately - luring us in, keeping us close as we move from page ...more
Elizabeth of Silver's Reviews
Read this about five years ago, but it still sticks with me.

It shows you how you "really" are like your mother even if you don't want to be. :)

I really liked it...I would have been upset to find the scrapbook about my mother's life, but also would want to know.

It is an enjoyable read...chick lit of course...but you will love it
Feb 07, 2009 Paula rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
self-pitying, self-destructive characters.
Jul 03, 2010 Annette2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wow, this book got some harsh reviews! I will agree that the whole southern friendship pact was over the top, but I think that Wells was trying to present a rare friendship and an outlandish character in Viviane. These girls grew up without air conditioning and television; they needed some pretty big distractions just to cope with the heat and the boredom!

My mother in law grew up in Georgia, and remembers some pretty crazy characters from her youth and some wild stories in her own family. Having
Aug 19, 2009 Nikki rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: contemporary
I found this book pretty weird. The child abuse was so lightly dealt with -- and it's still abuse if it only happens once. Physical abuse, even on just one occasion, sticks in your mind. Especially when you're a child and you haven't had that many experiences yet. It's not something to be just... dismissed and so easily forgiven.

That kind of distracted me from the supposedly awesome stuff about this novel.

Also, such melodrama. Cut it out, guys.
Kristy Trauzzi
Dec 13, 2009 Kristy Trauzzi rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: NOBODY!!!
Recommended to Kristy by: online book club
Has anyone else read this book and thought it sucked? I was very disappointed in it. I started off excited to read this book and that's where that enthusiasm left me.
To start - Wow religious! There are some books that make me go - hmm you're religious - I get your sense of peace from it. Or I can also read it and go ok you are one of the crazy religious people that are scary. This book was just like STOP TALKING ABOUT RELIGION!!! No one practiced what was preached and so I don't really understan
Kate Sheehan
If you don't find these women as adorable and outrageous as they find themselves, you are really going to hate this book. And I did.
Apr 02, 2011 Caity rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Divine Secrets is spectacular! Definitely pass on my reccommendation! Also, guys, I think you ESPECIALLY need to read this book if you're at all confused about women. It will give you a spectacular insight. Modern classic. Highly reccommended. Also, if you get the opportunity, watch the film. Its incredibly different from the book, but that's how these things go. Still a spectacular movie.
Mar 22, 2012 ilaria rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, usa
Capitoli 1-4

Sono appena appena agli inizi, solo circa 40 pagine lette, ma ho incominciato a inquadrare ambienti e personaggi.
La personalità di Vivi è sicuramente molto molto forte e predominante sulla figlia (devo riconoscere che sembra quasi il mio caso... ma chi non cerca l'approvazione di chi ama?), mentre Sidda, quarantenne in carriera, brava nel suo lavoro, si trova un pochino in difficoltà nei rapporti interpersonali. Bè, il suo scontro con la madre non è proprio tutto farina del suo sacco
This book may be entertaining for someone who likes gossip so much, because here you can get to know all the juicy events that happened in the youth and life of four women who were best friends and thought they were absolutely amazing and called themselves the Ya-Yas.

So, this story starts when a Petite Ya-Ya, that's how the Ya-Yas called their daughters, (not so petite anymore) let escape in an interview with the New York Times that her mother, the awesome Vivi, used to hit her. Vivi becomes so
May 03, 2013 David rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I wasn't sure how welcome I was going to feel in this book. A lot of sisterhood-mother/daughter books end up keeping me at a distance, seeming to need (or at least making me feel) a denigration of men in order to present the wonder of what is being presented. This book didn't make me feel that way though, the female characters reveled in their marvel without needing to put down anyone to make that work. Not all of the men are good, and all are imperfect-but just as the female characters are, but ...more
Oct 28, 2013 Shannan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book speaks so true to core of what I feel. That core is - being who you REALLY authentically are - and having people in your life who know truly know you. Vivi Walker is a part of me, I think I have a bit of her in me and I identified with her character more than ever. WAnting to be a star, something special and bigger than the small town she grew up in. Always feeling like NO ONE understood her. Life circumstances hit and she remains in that same small town with a group of female friends ...more
Alisha Kennedy
I don't know what to say. This just was not my cup of tea.
Una Tiers
Mar 18, 2016 Una Tiers rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book contains some elegant language and an outstanding review of seeing Gone with The Wind when it was released.
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Rebecca Wells was born and raised in Alexandria, Louisiana. “I grew up,” she says, “in the fertile world of story-telling, filled with flamboyance, flirting, futility, and fear.” Surrounded by Louisiana raconteurs, a large extended family, and Our Lady of Prompt Succor’s Parish, Rebecca’s imagination was stimulated at every turn. Early on, she fell in love with thinking up and acting in plays for ...more
More about Rebecca Wells...

Other Books in the Series

Ya Yas (3 books)
  • Little Altars Everywhere
  • Ya Yas in Bloom

Share This Book

“It’s life. You don’t figure it out. You just climb up on the beast and ride.” 208 likes
“I try to believe," she said, "that God doesn't give you more than one little piece of the story at once. You know, the story of your life. Otherwise your heart would crack wider than you could handle. He only cracks it enough so you can still walk, like someone wearing a cast. But you've still got a crack running up your side, big enough for a sapling to grow out of. Only no one sees it. Nobody sees it. Everybody thinks you're one whole piece, and so they treat you maybe not so gentle as they could see that crack.” 141 likes
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