Keeper of the Night
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Keeper of the Night

3.63 of 5 stars 3.63  ·  rating details  ·  316 ratings  ·  50 reviews
“In a series of exquisitely presented snapshots, a young teen struggles to cope with the aftermath of her mother’s suicide. . . . Stunningly beautiful.”—Kirkus Reviews, Starred

“Readers are drawn into Isabel’s world and her determination to keep on going in the face of her overwhelming loss and responsibilities.”—School Library Journal, Starred

An ALA Best Book for Young Adu...more
Paperback, 336 pages
Published March 8th 2005 by Laurel Leaf (first published April 8th 2003)
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A poem of a book told in small, gem-like chapters with revealing titles, in the voice of Isabel, whose mother recently killed herself. Set on Guam, it’s the story of a family stunned with grief (& guilt & anger) trying to put itself back together somehow. Father “Tata” vanishes into grief and fishing; brother Frank cuts the walls and himself; little sister Olivia wets the bed but dances in the daytime; Aunt Bernadette is wise and steady; responsible Isabel tries to be the glue to keep ev...more
Isabel, a thirteen-year-old girl living on the island of Guam, and her family try to cope with the death of Isabel's mother who committed suicide.
This was a short, almost slight book that nevertheless skillfully conveyed a strong sense of place and strong, complex characters. Despite a difference in talents, interests, and family dynamics, not to mention culture and geographical location, I identified very strongly with Isabel. We even shared our favorite novel! There were other characters I loved, and ones I wanted to shake or slap (sometimes the same ones). I didn't know much about Guam before I read this novel, and I'm not sure I know...more
Sam Couture
I read Keeper of the Night by Kimberly Willis Holt a while back but still remember it as if I read it yesterday. Overall, I found the storyline very different than those I typically read. It tells the story of a teenage girl named Isabel with a family trying to get over the loss of their mother due to suicide.

Although there was a sad idea behind it, I found it very interesting to see how everyone grieves and moves on differently. If you choose to read this novel, you will quickly see how Isabel,...more
I had read another book by this author ("When Zachary Beaver Came to Town") and I remember liking it. I had a harder time liking this book. It's a story about a girl whose mother committed suicide, and tries to cope with a grieving father and two younger siblings that she's forced to take care of. Oh, and a cabana she has to run. The story is set in Guam, and I found that a little annoying. Sometimes it worked with the plot (the aunt being this medicine worker) but sometimes it seemed the author...more
Monica Cheng
I liked Walked two Moons better than this, but this more than Ida B. in terms of "losing mum" stories. I could really relate to Isabel, but it was really one sentence in the book that made it for me: (view spoiler)
HOWEVER. the reason why it's only 3 stars is because I thought the middle was a little too drawn out. I skimmed through a lot of the m...more
Cindy G.
This book, which takes place in Guam, is interestingly written in short vignette style chapters. Because each chapter is so short, the book reads really quickly. The book begins when the mother of a family has recently killed herself. The rest of the book is about how different members of the protagonist's family, a girl of about 14, handle that death. The book allows the reader to learn about Guam and hear the voices of the people there, visit the festivals, and see some of the traditions. Desp...more
This book was okay, but the chapters were sad and extremely short, and I think there could have been more detail. If you like good short books, then THE KEEPER OF THE NIGHT is the book for you.
Summary: A teenager growing up in Guam comes to terms with her mother’s suicide. The 13-year-old Isabel takes us on a journey of sorrow and learning to live despite tragedy.

Personal Response: Having grown up on an Island I loved the imagery and the personalities of the Island people. The interaction between the Military and the Islanders is portrayed in a realistic manner. The friendships and family ties are honest and real.

Evaluation: It was slow moving for me, so I would hesitate offering it...more
Kind of a sad book with multiple meanings!
This is beautifully written, making Isabel's struggles and insights accessible even to those who do not share her beliefs or culture.
This book was just an honor to read. I love the way the author wrote this book. It's a beautiful story, it's about this girl who lives with her dad little brother and sister. And she has to take care of the family because her mom died. Her moms' death has broken the family apart. They don't do fun stuff anymore, they don't have family hangouts so often. I think Kimberly Willis Holt is a great author.
This book is all about family bonding and being grateful. This story is brilliant.
Excellent portrayal of Guam, even if it is a sad, sad subject. Really enjoyed it!
Kassie Pahl
I just read a great book named keeper of the night by Kimberly Willis Holt.This book is about a girl named Isabel and her mom just past away.She didn't just die from old age but she chose not to live anymore. This is a great book i gave it five stars if you like books with ups and downs then i think you will love this book the main character is Isabel. My favorite part of the book is when u here of all of the different things that are going on at once.
The story was OK and could have been more developed. For a young girl dealing the the suicide of her mother, it seemed they never really got much into her emotions, but more into the day to day activities aftere the event. While the story was touching at times, I felt it strayed or was not what I was expecting.
Jul 20, 2014 Priya added it
love this boook.its so sad.i feel bad for the girl cause she lost her mom.shes like the second mom.i dont want to spoil any more then i did.
This book is awesome. It was great to read something set on the island and written by someone who knows the place. The style of poetic chapters with the narrative was perfect for the character and the subject was real but not overwhelming with the darkness. Read it, it's short and well worth it.
Apr 03, 2008 Linda rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: someone who is not depressed
Recommended to Linda by: Naomi
Sad, but a wonderful inside look into the Chammorro people of Guam. I'm not sure if it would be as easy to follow, if a person was not at all familiar with the customs/traditions. I've had some exposure. Written in 1 - 2 page vignette/journal entry style. Quick, but nice.
Sarah Tilatitsky
I think that this book is pretty good and that you should read it. ☺ Really, it's pretty good. It talks a little about the social class and race, as well as death and the breaking up of families. It has depth. It has a lot of things. Read, reread, enjoy. ☺☺☺
Great YA about a mother's suicide and how the different people in this family cannot cope - the father by working and drinking,the daughter by bedwetting, the son by cutting himself and how the older girl is trying hold them together. Setting: Guam
Mrs. Rosie
You took me back to Guam is such a beautiful way! I loved how you included the stories, the recipes and the culture, and of course the Navy. I could just feel how lonely Isabel was sitting at the cabana waiting for customers.
Isabel lives on Guam with her Dad, younger brother and younger sister. Their mother has recently committed suicide and the family is living (existing) in it's aftermath. I was not terribly fond of this book. Too slow.
Doggone Kimberly Willis Holt! She's as bad as Barbara O'Connor in delivering good story, book after book. I'm especially admiring the spare text and how she selects just the right details to include. Amazing.
A young girl in Guam deals with the aftermath of her mother's suicide, trying to be all things to her brother and sister while her father distances himself. Wonderful imagery and writing.
Listened on CD. Short story for younger readers. Enjoyed learning a little about Guam, the culture, and everyday events. No dramatic climax but an interesting story, nicely done.
Such an amazing coming of age with culture. It reminds me of Walk Two Moons, but at a higher reading level. I may buy a few copies for a reading group this year.
Michelle Peet
This is a fine quick escape. Written in very brief segments, it's a YA novel set in Guam. The voice of the eldest daughter narrates coping with the death of her mother.
A sad but hopeful surprise.I admit that I only picked up the book for it being set in Guam but I am glad from what I got out of ones family journey from grief to moving on.
I was really surprised by the fact that life on Guam isn't too much different than life in the states. It was a fast read with some big, important issues discussed.
Jayde S
It was great. Its more of a this century book, and alot of things that happen people can really relate to. I dont mind reading, but this book was great.
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Kimberly Willis Holt is the author of the Piper Reed series, including Piper Reed, Navy Brat, Piper Reed, Clubhouse Queen, and Piper Reed, Rodeo Star. She has written many award-winning novels, including The Water Seeker and My Louisiana Sky, as well as the picture books Waiting for Gregory and Skinny Brown Dog. A former Navy brat herself, Holt was born in Pensacola, Florida, and lived all over th...more
More about Kimberly Willis Holt...
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