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Secrets of Worry Dolls

4.35  ·  Rating details ·  233 Ratings  ·  66 Reviews
According to Mayan tradition, if you whisper your troubles to the Worry Dolls, they will do the worrying instead of you--therefore, it follows that Worry Dolls are the keepers of a great many secrets . . .

On the eve of the end of the world--according to the Mayan calendar--Mari Guarez Roselli's secrets are being unraveled by her daughter, Lu.

Lu's worry dolls are at-capacit
Paperback, 312 pages
Published December 1st 2016 by Wyatt-MacKenzie Publishing
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Kate Moretti
Nov 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I adored Impellizzeri's first book, LEMONGRASS HOPE so I was anxious to get my hands on this one, too. It does not disappoint! Gorgeously written, this is a story about mothers and daughters, but with a twist. It touches on Guatemalan culture and customs, magic, 9/11, secrets and betrayals. You'll fly through the pages of this elegant story and think about it long afterwards.
Feb 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful and unique. Gorgeously written. I thoroughly enjoyed the story of Mari and Lu. It's a perfect book club selection, especially for those who love stories that take the reader to exotic locales. I highly recommend.

(I received an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.)
Apr 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
SECRETS OF WORRY DOLLS is one of the most beautiful, heartbreaking, mystical and wonderful books I have ever read. Parts of this novel made me smile and more often, parts broke me in hysterical tears. This novel is part tribute to the NY Fire department, a reflection of 9/11 and a plane crash that was near to the author's heart and to those that lost and those that were heroes in that instance and part a slice of life and loving look at a complicated family relationship that falls between that o ...more
May 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Amy Impellizzeri is a truly gifted storyteller. I have a set of worry dolls, so I was intrigued from the moment I read the title. This story is about a mother (Mari) and daughter (Lu), the tragedies they have endured, and the secrets that help Lu understand who her mother really was and helps her move on with her own life. I cried, laughed, and felt every emotion these characters were experiencing. From their home in New York to Mari's home in Guatemala, this story takes you on a journey of love ...more
Sonja Yoerg
Nov 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing
In Secrets of Worry Dolls, Mari and Lu, mother and daughter, are separated by an abyss created by misgivings, long-held secrets and tragedies almost too great to bear. Every daughter will recognize the pull of self-discovery and every mother will feel the tension between who she must be as a parent and who she is destined to be as an autonomous person. Stirring, intricate and full of surprises, this story will propel readers forward through the twists of fortune in the lives of these two women, ...more
Orly Konig
Apr 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: tall-poppy-books
A beautifully written story about mothers and daughters, love and grief, secrets and regrets. Highly recommend!
DJ Sakata
Favorite Quotes:

Missed chances, secrets and regrets. When the end of the world does arrive, that’s all that will be left. And cockroaches, of course.

I switched my major 8 times in college… my college advisor said that I had ‘broken the record for indecisiveness among co-eds.’ I thanked him before I realized he wasn’t actually proud of me.

I felt grateful and relieved and hopeful and confused and sad. Which is kind of the story of my life.

I hate that no one would describe me as strong anymore. I’m
Sep 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
So I'm not really a crier but I definitely cried on multiple occasions while reading this book. Told by dual narrators—Lu and her mother Mari—this intricately layered novel explores grief, guilt, and, ultimately, hope. It's really gorgeous and really heart-wrenching, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Camille Maio
Jan 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Kudos to the author for really pulling me into the story right away. I loved the cultural pulls to a country I've never been to - Guatemala, the tragedies surrounding 9/11, and a mother-daughter story that I'll remember for a long time.
May 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is a balmy shower of love, finding oneself, coping with grief and finding the strength to keep going and living. I am so grateful to have found about Amy Impellizzeri's book from my bookstagram friends.

First of all, the writing style is soothing and real, these are the first impressions that come to my mind when thinking about this book. The worry dolls element is unique and adds complexity and depth to the story and even an element of supernatural. I really love such in a novel that
I enjoyed this book very much. At first the cover and name of the book caught my interest as I grew up in Guatemala and enjoy reading stories that take place there.
This is a story which takes us back and forth between, New York and Guatemala.
It is told mainly in two voices that of the mother Mari and her daughter Lu.
Mari Guarez originally from Guatemala, ends up in NY after having to leave her country, but never getting over what happened to her there. While in NY she meets her husband to be,
Apr 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: literary-fiction
Oh how I struggled with even caring for Mari & Lu! Oh how I slugged through Part I of this story because I didn't care for Mari, and Lu just felt too tragic to me.

However, through Part II, I became intrigued to see where this story of mother & daughter was taking me as a reader. I started to wonder just how all of this tragedy would be resolved, when more tragedy seemed to loom.

Then, Part III unveils itself in what I have come to see as that fire Impellizzeri imparts in her writing. The
Terri Smith
Jul 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I found this book mesmerizing - couldn't put it down. Was introduced to this novel as a book club selection and I can't wait to discuss it! Once in awhile, a story comes along that is unique, full of of visualization, and feeling. I highly recommend this gem!
Mary L
May 13, 2018 added it
didn't like this, it was depressing, I kept waiting for it not to be depressing, I couldn't even finish it, I was almost at the end but decided I didn't want to be more depressed.
Dec 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
Originally published at Reading Reality

This is a slow-simmering story, as we read about mother-and-daughter Mari and Lu, each from their own very distinct, if equally unreliable, perspectives.

These two women have been touched by tragedy, over and over. They both seem to survive, and yet, neither of them really does. And the tragedies they share drive them even further apart than the ones they experienced separately.

As the story begins, Lu is at the airport, wandering a bit because she chose not
Jun 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The worry doll and Lu's mother have a few things in common: they lie inert and keep their secrets to themselves. One of them, however, leaves a trail of bread crumbs.

When Lu survives an airline crash because she didn't board the plane, and that plane crashes into her Rock Harbor NY neighborhood, gravely injuring her mother, Lu picks up a trail of clues hinted at by her mother that takes her to her mother's homeland in Guatemala, where she learns more about her mother's challenges and the strain
Dec 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
***May be slight spoilers but it is all covered in the very beginning of the book.

4.5 Stars Overall.

Amy Impellizzeri wrote Secrets of Worry Dolls based on her fascination for them as a child, as well as two incidents that impacted her and the Bell Harbor, New York neighborhood she lived in; the terrorist attacks on 9/11 (where the small community lost over 70 residents) and the crash of American Airlines Flight 578 into the neighborhood, just two months later (all of the passengers and crew aboa
Cindy Roesel
Dec 18, 2016 rated it really liked it
Amy Impellizzeri's novel, SECRETS of WORRY DOLLS (WYATT-MacKenzie) is a novel of grief, love, and truth as a daughter comes to terms with family secrets and deals with the effects of two tragedies. While reading, I wondered several times if it wasn't too much grief for one family to deal with.

In SECRETS of WORRY DOLLS, there are two parallel narratives, Lu Roselli who at the opening of the novel, has chosen to not board a flight to her mother's homeland, Guatemala and minutes later the plane cra
Dec 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing
When Lu and Rae were about 6 years old, their mother gave them worry dolls. According to Guatemalan lore, each person should whisper their troubles to the dolls each night and the dolls would do all the worrying for them. Mari (the mother) had used her for many years and wanted to share this custom with her daughters. The dolls were a theme throughout the book as Lu and Mari tired to deal with the life that they faced.

As the book begins, a plane has crashed into their neighborhood and killed sev
Anne Pisacano
Jan 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Lu was supposed to be on Flight555 destined to Guatemala, but trusted her nervous instincts and doesn't board. Shortly after take off the plane crashes and Lu, understandably, had a strong, immediate and visceral reaction. She rushes home to find that the plane crashed in her neighborhood and that her mother is missing.

Interesting cultural elements such as the end of the Mayan calendar, when "some said December 21 could mark the end of the world and others said it's just a resetting back to sta
Christine Moore
Dec 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing
What an amazingly loving and heartbreaking book all rolled into one! I loved it!!! It is a story of a mother and daughters love, a deep love of family, and a story of finding one's self. It is told by the point of views from Mari-the mother and Lu- the daughter. I loved how it was told since you read both stories and understand each person. I didn't want it to end. I will be recommending this book to all my friends who read!!!
Leslie Lindsay
Jul 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
From the award-winning author of LEMONGRASS HOPE comes a haunting new story of unbearable love, loss, and redemption, with a thread of magical realism woven from the Mayan myths of Guatemala and a poignant and surprising reveal you will never see coming.

Amy Impellizzeri is a gifted writer and I don't say that lightly. I was taken with LEMONGRASS HOPE, but this book, SECRETS OF WORRY DOLLS, sealed my vote. I loved this book.

When Lu(na) and her mother's home in suburban New York is hit by a plan
Jul 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I'm not even sure where to begin to write a review. I am filled with many different emotions as I just finished this book. This was a wonderfully written book. I laughed, I cried and I wish I had my own set of worry dolls. I was captured from the very beginning and could not put the book down. I so loved the characters. The story has secrets of course, love, heartbreak and a new year to start fresh. I would highly recommend this book. I can't wait to read another book by Amy Impellizzeri.
May 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book. It was heartbreakingly sad a lot of the time and I almost gave up because it was almost too depressing but towards the end it redeems itself completely. I love how real the writing felt. The characters and what they each went through felt so realistic it was hard not to fall for them, to love them and root for them to overcome. I would say it's a book about grief and learning to live and overcome it. I am not usually into stuff so deep but it was a nice change and a r ...more
May 28, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The story was interesting and kept me reading. The writing was just ok.....I was distracted by so many sentences ending in prepositions. Don’t mean to be a nudge, and I know that is how people speak, but the written word should be well written. The characters were not fully developed emotionally, unless you want to think that living a guilt trip is development. I read it, I finished it, and was surprised at the ending .........but my overall opinion.....meh.
Sep 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I loooooved this book. It was mysterious, heartbreaking, lovely and hopeful. Each page revealing just enough to keep you craving more of the story. My first impressions of the the characters in the story were challenged as I read, and I grew to love them more and more as their stories played out. I even cried at times.
Great read! Looking forward to book club discussion and perhaps a virtual visit from the author.
Aug 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
"Lu, don't just survive. There are others who haven't been as lucky as you and me- don't dishonor their memory by forgetting that. And remember Lu. It's your story you are here to write now. No one else's."

"But Lu -don't you know the truth? I'm so very grateful that you weren't there. You have always been where you are supposed to be."
Diane Perry
May 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

What a beautiful story! I don't know who touched me more Lu or Mari! Mother and daughter. Two compelling stories and so much loss for the both of them. I loved seeing the change in Lu as she learned her Mom's secrets. And it all started when Lu didn't get on the plane as planned. shows how easily a path in our lives can change. Outstanding read!
Christie Sitterly
May 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book! Heartfelt and haunting, this tale delves into the intricate threads of the relationship between mothers and daughters, the issue of survivor's guilt, and the mending of the soul after past regrets. Now to get my hands on Amy Impellizzeri's debut novel, Lemongrass Hope (and some worry dolls!).
Cindy Hatok
Jul 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I was so excited to get this book, it's a story of persistence, survival and love. The characters overcome overwhelming loss, my favorite quote:"...don't just survive. There are others who haven't been as lucky as you and me-don't dishonor their memory by forgetting that. And remember,'s your story you are here to write now. No one else's." Good life lesson.
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After 13 years in the cutthroat world of corporate law, including a decade at the top Manhattan law firm, Skadden Arps, Amy left in 2009 to advocate for working women, eventually landing at a VC-backed start-up company, Hybrid Her (named by Forbes Woman as a top website for women in 2010 and 2011), while writing her first novel, Lemongrass Hope (Wyatt-MacKenzie, 10/8/14), and her first non-fiction ...more

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“I spend my time living. Not surviving. And I don’t help everyone. Just people who happen to need me at a time I can help them.” 0 likes
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