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Yo!

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3.77  ·  Rating Details ·  3,790 Ratings  ·  161 Reviews

About Yo!

Obsessed by human stories, Latina novelist Yolanda Garcia has managed to put herself at the center of many lives. Thrice married, she's also managed to remain childless while giving very public birth to her highly autobiographical writing. She's famous for it. Now her characters want a chance to tell their side of it. And tell it they do! Everybody who's ever bee

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Paperback, 350 pages
Published February 28th 1999 by Aguilar (first published 1997)
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Community Reviews

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Brina
The sequel to How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accent, Julia Alvarez continues Yolanda's journey into American culture and how she changes from Domican Yolanda to American Yo and all of the struggles to maintain a balance between the two cultures. As expected this book was not as quite as good as the predecessor because I already knew the characters but still has Alvarez amazing prose so I enjoyed it all the same. Highly recommended.
Emma Deplores Goodreads Censorship
This is a fun read, in large part because of the format. Each chapter is told by a different character, revolving around one Yolanda Garcia (Yo for short), a writer whom we get to know in a delightful variety of ways: from her sister, her college professor, one of her several husbands, the caretaker of her cousin’s estate in the Dominican Republic, even her creepy stalker. The stories jump around in place and time – some take place in the U.S., some in the D.R. – and feature characters from many ...more
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
Ben
Dec 17, 2015 Ben rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Alina
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.
I
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Jeanette De Jesus
Aug 28, 2007 Jeanette De Jesus rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Like I said, I read one Julia Alvarez book and I was hooked. Yo! is the hilarious tale of a Dominican writer who uses her family as fodder for her first novel. As a person of hispanic descent I understand how major the issue of airing ones dirty laudry in public is. Yo (Yolanda) in deciding to use her family's story for her first novel, must not deal with their wrath as they attempt to set the record straight. I found myself connecting with all the characters at one point or another and feeling ...more
Sandra
Dec 10, 2010 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 ;)


Allie
Mar 21, 2012 Allie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not as good as in the time of butterflies, but a nice continuation about yo and the garcias.'light and easy read, interesting second to last story about the stalker (didn't see that one coming)!
Yve
Nov 01, 2014 Yve rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Linda
Dec 01, 2013 Linda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Arlie
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
Katon
Jun 07, 2012 Katon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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Rebecca
May 08, 2012 Rebecca rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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'
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Lara
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
Kara
Apr 10, 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.

*T
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Christopher Flynn
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.
Jenny Hawley
Jan 29, 2015 Jenny Hawley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Julia
Jul 24, 2014 Julia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Lydia
Jan 19, 2016 Lydia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The different perspectives in the book made it very interesting to read!
Ana
Mar 20, 2014 Ana rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another great book by an amazing author! Julia Alvarez is one of the best authors of our time!!
Amanda
My first Alvarez, and in the wrong order. :) But a very interesting exercise in character-driven and writerly exercises, circling around Yolanda's life with those who have known her in very different ways. As a writer, it was kind of awesome to watch Alvarez work toward this one person while considering touches such as "point of view" and "inspiration." Yo, though, was still as much of a mystery at the end as she was at the beginning, which I hope was the point. At times I found her character to ...more
Far
May 29, 2013 Far rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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Bookish
Yo! isn't so much a sequel as it is a sort of retrospective look at Yolanda's or Yo's life through the eyes of the people around her, from family members to the help to colleagues to strangers to love interests and even a stalker. I certainly got an interesting, oftentimes infuriating but usually humorous take on the character Yo from childhood to I'd say mid-thirties, from amateur storyteller to struggling writer. I'd go from story to story - and this very much felt like a short story collectio ...more
Kellyjean
Nov 07, 2008 Kellyjean rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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Agreenhouse
Jul 12, 2008 Agreenhouse rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Aly
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
Robert Machuca
The novel “Yo”, by Julia Alvarez, was a lifetime’s worth of emotions fitted into short stories as told through the eyes of a few characters. Throughout the plot, the author fictionally describes her upbringing and opinions in circulation regarding her family and her very self, and how this myriad of perspectives on her life has shaped who she is today as a renowned author. With this approach, the author succeeds in conveying emotion with plenty of meaning behind their retelling. For example, at ...more
Emily Sander
This book takes an interesting approach to telling the story of the protagonist's life. Each chapter (or at least most of them) could be a self-contained story, some of which are told from the point of view of people who know the protagonist, and some of which tell the story from a neutral 3rd person view. No two chapters were alike! There were times when I had no idea where the author was taking us, and other times I appreciated the insight gained from what had been told several chapters back. ...more
Liska
Mar 06, 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.
Histteach24
May 21, 2013 Histteach24 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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Lucinda 1 9 Oct 30, 2009 12:33PM  
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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
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