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3.76  ·  Rating Details  ·  3,517 Ratings  ·  142 Reviews
At last! A zesty, exuberant follow-up to the wildly popular How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents, full of Julia Alvarez's keen observations and tender affection for her characters.

The Garcia Girls are back, most notably Yolanda, or Yo, who has grown up to be a writer. In the process, she has managed to get kicked out of college, break more than a few hearts, have her ow
Hardcover, 309 pages
Published January 1st 1997 by Algonquin Books
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Jun 07, 2012 Katon rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
this book is simply brilliant !
julia alvarez created a masterpiece that is deep, at times dark, but extraordinarily engaging.
for me, it is the relate-able aspect of the story that draw me in. not to mention the splendid use of dominican culture throughout the whole book.
the setting spans from the luxurious and mesmerizing new england area in the 60s to the exotic, foreign and mystical land of hispaniola.
i would definitely recommend this to everyone. this is the kinda book that i will read over
Athira (Reading on a Rainy Day)
Yolanda Garcia, or Yo, has just released a new book that has triggered a lot of angry reactions in her family. Even though Yo claims that it is fiction, each family member can identify themselves in some character of the book. They are frustrated, understandably, because their friends and acquaintances keep asking them which character represents them. Yo's mother is threatening to sue her while her sisters are refusing to talk to her. Yo cannot understand why her family is reacting as such and s ...more
Aug 24, 2014 Sandra rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Yo is the skeleton key that opened me up to planet books. Even though at 17 I got Holden in Catcher of the Rye, his cynical, maddening thought process. I truly resonated with big family, big personalities, lots of voices in YO. Thanks for opening the door ;)

Oct 19, 2015 Yve rated it really liked it
Another great Julia Alvarez book! It's kind of the literary equivalent of a concept album (is that even a thing?), in that all the stories revolving around Yolanda García are grouped in sections and each designated by some sort of literary concept - Part I is all genres, Part II plot elements, Part III abstract ideas. Reading the table of contents, it looks a little overwhelming or rigid or silly, but it works out. There is not much on any of the other sisters introduced in How the García Girls ...more
This is another book that I didn't realize up front was a collection of short stories. They're all connected, all different peoples' stories and impressions of Yolanda Garcia, aka Yo. A couple of them I really liked (The teacher/romance; The caretakers/revelation), a few I really hated (The best friend/motivation; The wedding guests/point of view; The stalker/tone), but most of them I felt completely indifferent to. One of my problems with this collection is that, despite the fact that each stor ...more
Jan 21, 2009 Alina rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The story of one girl's life, each chapter telling a non-chronological piece of her life from a different person's perspective. Sometimes a family member or another person who knew her well, sometimes someone who simply met her once.
I found this method of story-telling really fascinating. How can you really tell a story from one person's perspective and keep bias-free? You might as well show all sorts of biases, opinions, perspectives, whatever, and that will, perhaps, paint a fuller picture.
Mar 21, 2010 Arlie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literature
A beautifully crafted novel, Alvarez looks (once again) at the complexities of family relationships and the ways in which we live and are seen. Like all of us, Yo is a complex character - at times almost heroic, she can also be amazingly self-centered. Each chapter of the book is told from a different person's point of view - family members, friends, employees, strangers - we hear each of them tell about the ways in which they know Yo. Yo herself is silent, but the reader gets a very clear pictu ...more
It is as if she wrote this novel in writing class. And it is a beautiful character study. Yo is flawed, and generous, and loveable, and absolutely incomprehensible all at the same time. She loves her Dominican culture yet, brings a white man home to her island without fully letting him inside her family circle.

I think Julia Alvarez specializes in translating Dominican women into a United States culture. Or maybe the beauty is that she doesn’t translate them, but that she refuses to. That she fin
Aug 23, 2014 Aly rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I realize I may have made a mistake by reading this without having read How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents, since this book is essentially a sequel, although it was possible to follow it as a stand-alone book. The book presents sketches from the perspective of characters on the edge of Yolanda Garcia's life story. While in theory I support this format, I didn't think Alvarez was capable of making these individual stories cohere enough without the core of the original novel. The ending, in p ...more
Christopher Flynn
Mar 14, 2008 Christopher Flynn rated it liked it
Shelves: 20th-century, novel
A fun, likable book, large autobiographical, about going back home to the Dominican Republic after growing up in the U.S. from the age of 10 (or so) on. Alvarez is an engaging writer. No particularly deep thoughts, but a lot of resonant experiences, combined with a nicely developed sympathy for the characters. I heard her read some of this several years ago and got this book autographed, one of the few signed copies I have. She was very pleasant to talk to.
Dec 17, 2015 Ben rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book for all of its energy and contradicting stories but thought it kinda jumped off the rails in the final fifty pages or so. There are so many characters and perspectives that I started to lose track of who was who and then there's some inspired but confusing stream of consciousness chapters at the end that lost me completely. It's almost as if she is too good at writing different characters and it holds back some of the potential in a smaller cast. One student, in particular, h ...more
Aug 11, 2014 Jsarno49 rated it really liked it
Now that Obama has honored Alvarez, I thought it was time to read this book that has been on my shelf for nearly 20 years. I was pleasantly surprised. Alvarez tells the story of Yolanda Garcia, an American immigrant from the Dominican Republic. With each chapter told from the point of view of a different person, the reader gets a very full, and sometimes conflicting, view of Yolanda, an intelligent, emotional, and creative writer. I'm looking forward to reading more critically acclaimed books by ...more
Jun 23, 2015 Rebecca rated it it was amazing
I've read Alvarez's In the Time of the Butterflies numerous times and teach it in one of my courses, so I bought the buzz that it was by far her best (and only) excellent novel. Was I ever wrong! While Butterflies has its incredible lens of historical fiction in its focus on the inspirational Mariposa sisters, Yo is something altogether different and altogether marvelous.

Focusing on the character of Yolanda (Yo), a Dominican-born author who immigrates to the U.S. with her family during Trujillo'
Mar 24, 2010 Liska rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who think about truth and fiction
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 07, 2008 Kellyjean rated it really liked it
I am reviewing a book called Yo! by Julia Alvarez. She is also the author of How The Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents and In The Time of The Butterflies, I have not read either of them but after reading this book I think I might check into the them. YO! is a fiction book and it's about a writer Yolanda and the point of views of everyone around her, kind of like everyone's side of the story, and in different points in time.
The book YO! A girl that grows into a woman named Yolanda, Each chapter/per
Jul 12, 2008 Agreenhouse rated it really liked it
Loved it! Partly taken by surprise that I would love it so much because the main character, Yolanda Garcia, is very unlikeable in the beginning of the book, being described by her sisters and mother as a self-centered drama queen, a personality type for which I have little tolerance. The book is divided into chapters told from the point of view of different characters influenced by Yolanda, everyone from a college professor to a farmer turned nightwatchman. As the book goes on, and others get a ...more
Jul 25, 2015 Far rated it really liked it
I'll admit, in the beginning, it took some time to get into, and I especially didn't like that the whole book was centered around Yo (strange, because isn't that the title of the book?) - I suppose it didn't really impact me that this whole book was to be all about Yo... oops.

However, as I read, I grew to like the book a lot. The author employs a chronological storytelling, starting from the present and going deep into the past, back to where it all started, just like in How the Garcia Girls Los
Jul 02, 2013 Histteach24 rated it really liked it
Witty and well written. I was drawn to the writing style of hearing Yo's story from the point of view of various people in her life. The story pieced together beautifully. It illustrated how differently others in our lives see the truth or lack there of in a story we see through our own eyes. It is the old saying-there is each side of the story and then the truth somewhere underneath it all. It also made me think about how we can witness the same incident but remember it so differently because o ...more
May 08, 2014 Kara rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Absolutely brilliant.

I was so impressed by the authors use of outside perspective to depict such a fascinating main character. I feel like the picture of Yo was painted so vivdly by means of so many people that come and go from one's life. I was very sad upon finishing, especially after the chapter from the dad's point of view. It rounded itself out with Yo being a child crying, and Yo as a middle age woman crying. Dunno why but something about that was pretty powerful. Definitely a good read.

Jul 25, 2014 Julia rated it really liked it
The fun premise + weaving together of many different voices and points of view + almost offhand bits of social/political/historical commentary (and of what-is-life-about melancholy) that almost sneak up on the reader all added up to a vacation read that drew me in right away.
Dec 05, 2013 Linda rated it really liked it
Loved this book about a writer from the Dominican Republic who faces the dilemma all writers of realistic fiction or family chronicles face - how do you deal with the emotions of family members or friends when the stories hit too close to home, because, to be effective, a writer must be brutally honest in delving beneath the surface, often exposing truths that others would prefer to keep hidden. In the words of the protagonist, "What is the point of shrouding yourself in silence? the grave will ...more
Dec 16, 2015 Brandy rated it liked it
I didn't really like this book but it's not terrible writing either. It's just average and seems more like I'm sitting in a dull person's living room eavesdropping on their daily lives.
Jenny Hawley
Feb 17, 2015 Jenny Hawley rated it really liked it
I generally enjoy all of Julia Alvarez's books, and I certainly enjoyed this one. It was more like a book of short stories rather than a novel with an extended narrative, which is why I only gave it four stars as I am not a huge fan of short stories. However since the title character runs through all the stories, there was at least a central focus for the book.
Sherry (sethurner)
Oct 28, 2008 Sherry (sethurner) rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, travels
Julia Alverez is an immigrant from the Dominican Republic, a country I would would know virtually nothing about if it weren't for her books about the fictional Garcia sisters. My favorite of them is the first, How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents, but this third book is the runner up. This one has an unusual format. It concentrates on one of the sisters, the writer, Yolanda. Each chapter is essentially a self-contained short story by someone in Yo's life. There is one by her mother, one by a ...more
Mar 24, 2008 Virginia added it
Recommends it for: women
I loved this book. It's beautiful and quite painful, raising the Big Problem. How can you be a writer and draw from what you most closely observe and know best, that is, the people and events in your immediate life? A person's own story necessarily involves other people and "their" stories. So how can you write without being a jerk, without offending or even hurting others, or at a minimum being cold enough to write without other peoples' possible reactions in mind? Or, on the other hand, being ...more
Mary Jo
May 06, 2014 Mary Jo rated it really liked it
More Garcia girls by Julia Alvarez. This novel is in Yo's voice and stories of Yo from the perspective of people in her life. Unique, joyful and searching.
Jul 24, 2014 Pat rated it liked it
About Yolanda, a writer. She wrote about her family.
Everyone writes about her.
Good book.
Mar 20, 2014 Ana rated it it was amazing
Another great book by an amazing author! Julia Alvarez is one of the best authors of our time!!
Jul 11, 2015 Caroline rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Took me a month to read 90 pages in the Spanish version, but worth the struggle.
Pj Szynski
May 25, 2014 Pj Szynski rated it liked it
One of those books that I wouldn't normally read, but was glad I did. Fun read
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Lucinda 1 9 Oct 30, 2009 09:33PM  
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Julia Álvarez was born in New York City. Her parents moved back to the Dominican Republic when Álvarez was 3 months old and she was raised there until she was 10, when the family moved back to NYC.

She is currently writer-in-residence at Middlebury College and the owner of a coffee farm named Alta Gracia, near Jarabacoa in the mountains of the Dominican Republic. The farm hosts a school to teach l
More about Julia Alvarez...

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