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Maya's Notebook

3.86  ·  Rating details ·  27,124 ratings  ·  2,787 reviews
Isabel Allende’s latest novel, set in the present day (a new departure for the author), tells the story of a 19-year-old American girl who finds refuge on a remote island off the coast of Chile after falling into a life of drugs, crime, and prostitution. There, in the company of a torture survivor, a lame dog, and other unforgettable characters, Maya Vidal writes her story ...more
Hardcover, 387 pages
Published April 23rd 2013 by Harper (first published 2011)
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Grace I’m 72. Although I couldn’t identify with the main character, I could relate to her story because I am a parent and a grandparent.

This is definitely n…more
I’m 72. Although I couldn’t identify with the main character, I could relate to her story because I am a parent and a grandparent.

This is definitely not a YA book, even though the main character is 19 when the story begins.(less)

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Average rating 3.86  · 
Rating details
 ·  27,124 ratings  ·  2,787 reviews

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B the BookAddict
May 17, 2013 rated it really liked it

Another fine book by the talented Ms Allende: a writer who never disappoints her readers. Allende moves this story effortlessly between Berkeley, Las Vegas and Chiloe. This is Maya's story but it is also the story of Nini and Popo (her grandparents) and Manuel, Nini's Chilean friend. The story flows easily between the recent past and the present, between failure and redemption, between distress and peace. She writes with her intimate knowledge of the Chilean people, never failing to make them re
“Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.”


Isabel Allende Llona, a Chilean-American novelist, has penned an intriguing yet edgy novel, Maya's Notebook that unfolds the story of a teenage girl who after the death of her grandfather, the only supporting figure of her life, she surrounds herself with negative influences like drugs, alcohol and selling her body, which makes her lose herself as she escapes from the authorities as well as from hit man and lands into a quiet and
Meg - A Bookish Affair
Apr 27, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2013, fiction
Isabel Allende has ranked among my favorite writers for a very long time. I try to read every book that she comes out with. The synopsis of "Maya's Notebook" sounded very interesting to me so I was especially excited to read this book. Now the story line of this book is a little bit different than anything I have read so far by Allende but her characteristic way with words is still very much present and makes this book a joy to read!

This book is made up of the things that the title character, Ma
reading is my hustle
A young woman (not certain that Isabel Allende succeeded as a young and contemporary voice) loses her way after the death of her beloved grandfather & lands in her grandmother's native Chile. Told in first person, Maya, writes in her journal and alternates between past and present all the while recounting what has brought her to this point. The themes were typical Allende: exile, politics, magic, secrets, and feminocentric. However, the story was chaotic at times and a bit melodramatic. I did no ...more
Elyse  Walters
Mar 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I adore Isabelle Allende. I've met her twice --(she is actually shorter than me: I love my small girlfriends-we can exchange clothes).

I've had a secret wish (shhhhhhhhh), to be 'part-of-Isabelle's-tribe' for years (take long walks with-talk-share-soak in the warm pools of Calistoga). Heck, I'd be happy to cook she and her husband dinner at 'our' house!

I've enjoyed EVERY book by Isabelle Allende. *ALL* have been different ---*ALL* I've enjoyed!!! This book is no exception.

Maya's Notebook is a '
Isabel Allende is a fearless writer. She can take on magical realism, contemporary political thrillers, historical fiction, or epic sagas and craft unforgettable characters, evocative settings, and surprising plots. She is a natural storyteller with a keen sense of pacing and a flair for high drama. Unlike other authors I’ve followed over the years who captivated me with early works but faded to middle road pablum as they struggle to stay relevant, Allende keeps taking chances—damn the torpedoes ...more
Georgia ♥
4 Ordinary Magic Stars

"The whole world is magical, Maya."


On the run from the FBI, the Interpol, her own insecurities and past mistakes, a young girl finds herself in a remote island off the coast of Chile where life is slower and emotions are deeper. There with time in her hands to contemplate her story she takes notes in a diary, narrating her family's history, weaving an intricate tale that spans 40 years and 3 different countries and everything is coming full circle. She has the power to chan
Angela M
Jan 03, 2014 rated it liked it
What I liked best about the book is the way Isabel Allende takes to you to Chiloe, an island off the coast of Chili, a place she knows and you can tell loves so much. You feel as if you are there among these wonderful,caring and sometimes superstitious people. They quietly go about there daily lives, but yet they know pretty much everything about each other and they take care of one another. You almost want to be there for a few days and experience it first hand.

Maya is there hiding from her pa
May 18, 2013 rated it liked it

Isabel Allende is the author of Maya's Notebook. This is my first book by this author but not my last. I am reading this book because much of the book occurs in Chile on a small island off of Chile's coast. There are many others places mentioned in this novel. This is a great story that shows how a dramatic loss in 19 year old Maya's life caused her to spiral into a life of drugs, alcohol, prostitution, crime and violence. The reader learns about her life through Maya reading her journals that a
Jun 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is a story from Maya's view point. The story begins with Maya telling us that her Grandmother, Nini, gives her a notebook and says to write about "the monumental stupidities you've committed and see if you can come to grips with them". Maya is 19 and she admits that her life went "off the rails" at age 15. Maya lives a life from age 15-19 that would serve as a cautionary tale. Yet, it's told with humor, horror and wit. Maya's father is from Chili and her mother is Danish. Her father is a pi ...more
Diane Yannick
May 21, 2013 rated it really liked it
I really love the way Isabel Allende writes. Her lyrical descriptions take you to Chile where "the ocean takes bites off the land and the continent of South America strings out into islands; an eyelash between the mountains of the Andes and the depths of the Pacific Ocean, with hundreds of volcanoes, some with lava still warm,that could wake up at any moment and bury the territory in the sea." The beauty of the land and its people contrasts vividly with its troubled history of atrocities perpetr ...more
If I had to describe this book in one word, it would be "LONG". If I could use more words, it would be "LONG OH MY GOD SO LONG THIS BOOK FELT LIKE IT WAS NEVER GOING TO END".

Seriously. There was just SO MUCH going on in this book. There's the plot dealing with Maya's family. There's the plot dealing with Maya's time in Chile. There's the plot dealing with Maya spiraling out of control. And there's the plot where Maya's life goes totally off the rails in Vegas.

This book is frighteningly dark -
da AL
I love Allende much of the time. Though not the best of her numerous novels, this one is still worth a read. The Chilean history lessons are welcome, as are as the 'life lessons,' but not their preachy moments. Audiobook reader Maria Cabezas does a terrific job -- but it sure would have been nicer if she'd known how to pronounce South American yerba mate, which is mispronounced several times. Another peeve: in Spanish, popo is the equivalent of caca. The protagonist's endearment for her beloved ...more
Maya's Notebook by Isabel Allende was a far-reaching and sprawling book speaking to a lot of the issues that the author holds dear, namely her love of her native Chile and intricate family ties and relationships making up the larger tribe, and all told in her signature lyrical descriptions and beautiful prose driven by emotion. Isabel Allende notes that she was so worried about her granddaughter that she decided to write "a book about a smart and good-hearted but emotionally disturbed young girl ...more
Spanish/English: Disclaimer: I was born in Chile, lived through the dictatorship with a very different experience and have been to the Island of Chiloe which is as beautiful and mysterious as Allende describes. Naci en Chile, vivi ahi antes y despues de la dictadura con una experiencia muy diferente a la descrita en el libro; he viajado a la Isla de Chiloe la cual es tan linda y misteriosa como Allende lo describe.

Quiero partir por decir que Isabel Allende es una de mis autores favoritas, y est
May 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
Write it Out

“Maya’s Notebook” is about a troubled, exploited teenager. I almost added mindlessly rebellious to this list but I think that’s almost inherent in the definition of ‘teenager’. You would think that this type of story would be horribly depressing and it is but there’s also joy in the form of her family who never gives up on Maya. Her childhood hasn’t been perfect however. No matter how much love and protection her grandparents give her it doesn’t make up for her parents’ abandonment.
Christina (A Reader of Fictions)
Wow, so this was my first experience with Isabel Allende and it was not what I was expecting at all. I'm not sure what I was expecting exactly, just that it wasn't this. Also, just fyi, let's just put a big ol' trigger warning all over this book for pretty much every trigger ever.

Why Did I Read This Book?
I'd run out of audiobooks for review and selecting them on my own takes forever, and this showed up in a newsletter. I've been curious about Allende for a while, thus why I own several of her b
Cam Mannino
May 23, 2013 rated it it was ok
As anyone can see from my bookshelves, I’m a big fan of Allende and Latino novelists in general. This book of hers, however, just didn’t quite work for me.

Allende created two stories, really. The present tense one takes place on a remote island off Chile where Maya, a 19 year old, is hiding from gangsters and the law and learning to appreciate her grandmother’s Chilean culture. The past tense story drags us through a ghastly, drug-infested period of her life that caused her to be sent to live o
Lorrea - WhatChaReadin'?
Maya Vidal may only be 20 years old, but she has been through a lot in that short time. Sent to live in a remote village in Chile after battling great challenges in her life, Maya uses her notebook to write about and learn from those challenges. The mistakes from her past will help her to hopefully lead a more productive and promising future.

Told from Maya's point of view, we are transported all over the world. Most of the book takes place in Chiloe, Chile, but you will also spend time in Berke
Alissa Patrick
Mar 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Gorgeous. Haunting. Sad. Happy. Mesmorizing. I'm so happy I found this hidden gem. ...more
Feb 21, 2013 rated it really liked it
The heart of this book is a coming of age story for a girl, Maya, writing her notebook at the age of only nineteen. Surprisingly she has so many things to say and so many events that have changed her life. Maya is what I would consider an “old soul” probably due to being raised by her grandparents and partly due to the environment in Berkeley, CA in the mid-70’s that greatly influenced her Grandmother “Nini” when she arrived there during that time, very young with a young son. Maya gets dropped ...more
Diane S ☔
Mar 07, 2013 rated it liked it
This is an Allende book that I had a hard time with, it just did not grab me at all. Of course her writing is as always very good, but her contemporary setting and these characters were just okay. Her love for all things, Chile comes through, the Chilean superstitions and witchcraft are explored but I don't know, the usual Allende spark was missing. ...more
Mal Warwick
May 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: trade-fiction
Isabel Allende’s latest novel is a triumph.

Pick up a copy of Isabel Allende’s new novel, Maya’s Notebook, and get ready for a wild and wonderful ride through the years and up and down the length of the Western Hemisphere. Though structured as a coming-of-age novel of young Maya Vidal, recounting the four seasons of her twentieth year, Maya’s Notebook ranges from the glorious madness of Berkeley, where she was born and raised, to the back alleys and casinos of drug-addled Las Vegas and an Oregon
Sep 03, 2019 rated it liked it
A reread for me. It was an okay book, not really I new favorite but I might read something else by her. Thought this was another book by Isabel Allende that I forgotten the name of, but it wasn't that. Didn't get attached to the story but was interesting nevertheless ...more
The story of a teenager named Maya Vidal and her struggles with drug addiction, grief and history.

Although a work of fiction, the story is rooted in real-life tragedy. Three of Allende’s stepchildren have struggled with addiction: Two of them have died of drug-related causes.

What a sad, tragic, poignant story.

The main characters:

Maya- A teenager whose worst four years of her life are chronicled in this book.

Nidia-her Bohemian grandmother

Popo - Nidia's second husband. The grandfather Maya loves.
Jul 14, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm almost done with this one... and am very much enjoying it.
It's about a teenage girl raised in Berkeley in an eclectic household by her Chilean refugee grandmother and her step-grandfather, an astronomer. She spirals into substance abuse, gets caught up in all kinds of things, and is basically sent into exile (back to Chile, full circle) for her own protection. Beyond her own story, which I think is told in a very convincing voice, is the story of her coming of age, discovering her roots, her
Jul 05, 2013 rated it really liked it
Beautifully written, it’s full of emotional impact of as we read the intimate soul-bearing notebook of a young woman. The author effectively intertwines many storylines populated with enthralling characters in this well-plotted coming-of-age story. I so enjoyed descriptions of physical and emotional geography of southern Chile and its role in Chilean history. Themes of addiction, loss, love and family makes this earnest heartwarming, yet at times heartbreaking story a satisfying read.
Ann-Marie "Cookie M."
A teenaged girl nearly destroys her own life and the hearts of those who love her with drugs, alcohol, sex and criminal behavior. Exiled on a small island in Chile, hiding from criminals, law enforcement and her own self hatred, she learns to live again.
A type of story that is often told, but Isabel Allende has a terpsichorean story telling style. It is as if you are watching a vibrant modern ballet.
Abbie | ab_reads
Jun 05, 2018 rated it it was ok
Disappointing, unfortunately. Much too melodramatic for my tastes.
Nov 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Isabel Allende has done it again…

Her stories have always been fascinating, and this one is no different. The author brings you into a world that you could have no idea about prior to reading her pages and yet, within a chapter or two you feel that you have known these characters for the better part of your life.

This is made all the more extraordinary by the fact that her characters are from times and places which very few of us have ever experienced before.

This story is a woven tapestry of the r
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Isabel Allende Llona is a Chilean-American novelist. Allende, who writes in the "magic realism" tradition, is considered one of the first successful women novelists in Latin America. She has written novels based in part on her own experiences, often focusing on the experiences of women, weaving myth and realism together. She has lectured and done extensive book tours and has taught literature at s ...more

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