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

3.78  ·  Rating Details  ·  447,094 Ratings  ·  3,621 Reviews

The Barnes & Noble Review

A powerfully literate yet thoroughly engaging and accessible novel, this story of a close-knit society of southern women has become a modern cult classic bolstered by author Rebecca Wells's abiltity to transcend standard-issue chick lit with bold and unique characters and a tale that digs deeply into the complex bonds of family.

The entangled st

Paperback, 368 pages
Published August 28th 2000 by HarperTorch (first published 1996)
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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 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
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
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
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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 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 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
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
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
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.
Jane Stewart
Not as entertaining as I hoped.

It’s a good motivator for women having friendships with women. Four women have a life-long friendship starting before high school. They drank a lot and did ornery things. The most unsettling thing for me was when they went swimming in the town’s water supply tank - that tub high up above houses that provides drinking water.

I’m not complaining, but slightly odd were all the naked scenes. The Ya-Yas take a bath together, swim. A naked mother beats her naked kids. A f
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.
May 01, 2016 Steph rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-in-2016
I initially thought I would love this book much more than I did. I don't love it, but I liked it. I would recommend it to anyone that loves The Golden Girls as much as I do. If Blanche's daughter wrote a book, I feel this would be it.

Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood is about a fabulous group of friends known as the Ya-Yas. This book makes you wish you were also a Ya-Ya. Like Blanche, Vivi, is a vain, self-centered woman with regrets on the way she raised her children, but she's much more
Laura Radniecki
Oct 09, 2015 Laura Radniecki rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
I picked this book up at the local library book sale. My sister tells me I've seen the movie, but I don't remember watching it at all. I know that it's one of those iconic books that most people have read.

I loved the book.

It was heavier and more bittersweet in places that I initially thought it would be; it's not a simple light-hearted summer read by any means.

The layers of hurt and love were sometimes hard to read about, and I found myself wanting to slap Vivi, Buggy and other characters multip
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.
Jun 22, 2015 Telisha rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult
I tell my kids, the neighbor kids and most anyone that will listen that books should make you laugh, scream, yell, rage and weep. If it doesn't cause any emotions, put it down.
Good books stay with you.

I LOVE this book! So much life. A vivid portrayal of people. She ripped out the truth and held it pulsating for you to fall in love with. Making sure to show the crap along with the love.
Life is made up of so many things, the good, the bad and the ugly are all pulled out in this book. Love, hurt a
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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

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“It’s life. You don’t figure it out. You just climb up on the beast and ride.” 203 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.” 137 likes
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