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Keeper of the Night
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Keeper of the Night

3.7  ·  Rating details ·  401 Ratings  ·  64 Reviews
A National Book Award-winning AuthorIsabel's mother died peacefully. At least that's what Isabel likes to think, since no one will talk about the truth. Kimberly Willis Holt has written a painfully beautiful story, set on the lush island of Guam, about a young woman's struggle to protect her family after her mother's suicide. At once disturbing and honest, devastating and ...more
Hardcover, Large Print, 318 pages
Published April 1st 2004 by Thorndike Press (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
Sophia Buhrow
Sep 29, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Personal Response: It was nice to read about a different culture. The people of Guam have their own language, but mostly speak English, and was hard to pronounce these few words and figure out what they mean. Either way it was a wonderful story.

Plot: What happens before the story really starts is that Isabel's mother killed herself, and left the rest of her family grieving. Isabel and her family went to live with one of their aunts for a while and stayed for about 6 months. When they finally co
Sep 30, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Slow at some parts but over all it was interesting. Has a journal like style with short chapters at time only a page long. Might appeal to readers who like novels in verse. Deals with deep and complex issues including suicide, coping, family. Audience is Middle grade and older.
Siejohn Ouattara
i like it because it has a scary touch.
what is scary is that her mom was preying.
but im not going to spoil things go read the book to find out.
Sep 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you like sad,depressing but quite enjoyable books,this one is for you. This book is realistic-fiction.Believe me, it will most likely make you cry.
The book that I have recently finished is titled" Keeper of the Night". It is about a girl called Isabel and her mother has just passed away and she has to maintain a good image on her siblings. The problem is she can't control all her difficulties inside and she has to explode them to someone. That's were the counselor comes into place. Of cour
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
Sophie Grantham
This book review is for Mrs.Orona’s 2A english class. My book is Keeper of the night by Kimberly willis holt. This book is published by Henry holt and company and it has 308 pages. I decided to read this book because it had an interesting cover to it and caught my attention.
The main character of this book is Isabel, she runs the household and make sure everything goes smoothly after her mother's passing.Other important characters include TaTa her father who is in charge but is alo suffering me
Jan 05, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult
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
Sarah Crawford
Feb 10, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Isabel is a young girl with a younger Olivia, her sister, and her brother, Frank, living on Guam. Her mother ends up committing suicide and she has to deal with the consequences of that death.

The book is written in sort of a diary-type style; not exact dates, but relatively short sections. It covers how she has to help with her sister's reaction, her father's distance, reactions of friends and relatives and especially her brother who ends up becoming a "cutter," a person who cuts themselves on
Narrated by Vivian B. McLaughlin. *Some SPOILERS* Thirteen-year-old Isabel and her family suffer the aftereffects of her mother's suicide. Tata sleeps on the floor where the mother was found. Olivia wets the bed and has nightmares. Frank is mutilating himself and his bedroom wall with a knife. And Isabel feels the responsibility of looking out for all of them and minding the family store. But she too has trouble coming to terms with her mother's death and eventually she and Olivia are meeting wi ...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
Dec 25, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: done-done
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 31, 2007 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult
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
Mar 12, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Kassie Pahl
Sep 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 40-book
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.
Keilana Borja
Sep 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Since I was born and raised on Guam growing up, it was interesting to read a fiction about a young Chamorro girl growing up and learning responsibilities on Guam. Growing up almost the same background as Isabel, the main character, helped me relate to her points of view potrayed by the author,Kimberly Willis Holt, and understand the inside jokes within the novel. I highly recommend the novel to anyone that enjoys reading fiction novels and is interested in the culture on Guam.
Jul 25, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Feb 16, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Sep 01, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a sad, yet a enjoyable book! I rate it 3 stars because some parts are boring, plus I did not like this kind of style. It did made me cry a bit, and that's why I do not like this book. I hated sad books since I was small, yet it's suitable for people who like sad books!
Apr 07, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: chapter, death, suicide
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.
Stephanie Jugovich
This was a gem of a little book that deals with tragedy, loss, grief, depression, pride, responsibility, and resilience. I think my 11 year old would actually enjoy it too. I even got a little teary. This book will be one I remember for a long time.
Mrs. Rosie
Nov 13, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
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
Jul 23, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Sarah Tilatitsky
Feb 03, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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. ☺☺☺
Mar 23, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jun 09, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I almost didn't finish this book, which is rare for me. Halfway through I was so close to giving up on it. It was just kind of boring and sad. But I'm really glad I stuck with it. I love a book with some hope and closure and this was it.
Oct 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
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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
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