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The Grief Keeper

4.04  ·  Rating details ·  2,272 ratings  ·  445 reviews

This stunning YA debut is a timely and heartfelt speculative narrative about healing, faith, and freedom.

Seventeen-year-old Marisol has always dreamed of being American, learning what Americans and the US are like from television and Mrs. Rosen, an elderly expat who had employed Marisol's mother as a maid. When she pictured an American life for herself, she dreamed of a

ebook, 256 pages
Published June 11th 2019 by G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers
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Average rating 4.04  · 
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 ·  2,272 ratings  ·  445 reviews

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Elle (ellexamines)
The Grief Keeper follows Marisol, an immigrant from El Salvador applying for asylum in the United States with her sister Gabby, who she's attempting to protect. When her asylum request gets turned down, she's given an opportunity to stay in the U.S.: to literally take on the grief of another girl about her age. The girl, Ray, isn't aware of what's happening; she's only aware that they're both going through a treatment together.

It's a really complicated narrative about how immigrants are devalue
may ➹
for once I could choose a book I actually wanted to read for school, and I didn’t hate it!!! it’s like not forcing students to read a book they don’t care about means they actually enjoy it!!!!!
ale ♡
Feb 19, 2022 marked it as to-read
Artemis Crescent
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The Grief Keeper is a contemporary story with sci-fi aspects following Marisol, a Salvadorian lesbian who fled her country for her life, together with her younger sister Gabi. To legally stay in the US, she is forced to take part in a program in which she'll have to bear the weight of someone else's grief, all of this while dealing with her own trauma.

I feel weird about calling this a sci-fi book. It is one, because it features technology that doesn't exist in our reality, and it's not like sci-
Mar 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
being a crit partner has its NEED this book in your life, trust me!
Katherine Moore
I can already say that this will be on my list as one of my top and most impactful reads of the year (and it’s only May). I’ve not read too many books lately that can bring me to shed both happy and sad tears, as well as make me drop my jaw, and cause me to put the book down for moments so I could collect my thoughts. And although the title would suggest that ‘The Grief Keeper’ is filled with sadness, it also brings with it a bright message of love and hope.

The novel opens with seventeen-year ol
4.5 stars. While I thought the book's resolution was a little too positive, considering the anti-immigration sentiment that's so prevalent now, I thought so much of this book was wonderful.
Marisol and her younger sister Gabby are asylum seekers from El Salvador, staying in a detention centre in the US. Marisol feels very protective of her much more lighthearted sister, and is carrying plenty of grief and worry about their current situation, as well as the situation they're running from. Seizing
Jun 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: lgbtq, favorites
this book really hit home, i can't even put into words how much i loved it.

the grief keeper shows the crude reality of being an immigrant, of how hard it is to leave the country you grew up in because you were in danger there. it shows the difficulty of thinking in both english and spanish (it was really amazing to see all those spanish words in an english book) and it deals with grief, depression, ptsd and homophobia. it was hard for me to read but totally worth it.

the overall plot was very ori
Eva B.
This is such a beautiful and emotional book, and I think everyone should probably read it.
Jul 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The number of emotions this book made me feel is off the charts.

1. Angry. Would the US subject immigrants seeking asylum to experimental tests that could harm and re-traumatize them? Yes, this could be a thing.

2. Relieved. So happy Marisol found Rey.

3. Angry. Angry that we live in a world where this is so close to reality. We can’t let the concentration camps continue.
Stella ☆Paper Wings☆
Boosting this December 2019 review because this book is still so unique and essential and impeccable that I need more people to read it. Can we make this a sapphic sleeper hit?

Reread coming soon probably.

Original Review:

Um. Wow.

Book internet is SLEEPING on this book! The Grief Keeper deserves all the hype in the world, and I don't understand how it doesn't have it. (I mean, just look at that cover!) I hope my review can convince you to read this book, but if we're being honest, it's just a mess
Jul 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Of course I didn't read the final - with a real cover, and with the fantastic new book smell, but I'm dying to! A fantastic and refreshingly new tale that needs to be told today more than ever. ...more
Priscilla (Bookie Charm)
Sep 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: latinx
El mundo se abre, and you can see everything you’ve ever wanted—so near at hand, you can almost touch it. The wheel spins, or the cards turn over, and then every possibility you imagine transforms, like magic, into one reality.

At the heart of this story, is the relationship between the protagonist 17 year old Marisol and her younger sister Gabi as they risk it all and flee from the violence in El Salvador. I loved how Villasante explored the thought processes of an immigrant suffering from
Mar 05, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

this!! book!! this was a super heavy read and largely dealt with subjects like ptsd, homophobia, grief and a lot of other hard hitting subjects but it did it really beautifully

the writing was really simple and at the same time just read so beautifully??? sometimes books like this remind me that simplistic writing can actually!! work better than something more complex and flowery

i found the plot really interesting and it absolutely isn’t something i haven’t read before and i loved the way i
Dec 10, 2018 marked it as definitive-tbr
Shelves: 2019-releases
|| F/F Romance
|| Immigration criticism
|| PTSD experiment


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10/5 omg favorite book of all time
This was just so so beautiful.
A teen girl and her younger sister are seeking asylum in the US from El Salvador, where their lives are at great risk for numerous reasons (view spoiler). When they make it across the border and are held in a detention facility, Marisol's interview goes less well than she suspects and she worries her request will be denied. She uses a break in attention by the guards to run with her sister, where she's pick ...more
Jul 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This was really, really good. It got into all the ways immigrants are discarded and treated like trash. There was also a lot about homophobia, but in a really subtle way. I usually hate reading books about depression, but I didn't have to put this one down. The descriptions were some of the most accurate I've ever seen. How you can't eat, how you basically have no will to do anything, and even the physical pain, like how you feel that you can't breathe or move.

I liked the different sibling rela
Casey, with a book
still formulating all my thoughts but this is exactly the kind of YA i want to see in the world right now. topical, thought-provoking, written with careful attention to and clear love for language, and just overall beautifully done.
Lorraine (Reading With Lori)
You had me at Salvadorian! I’m Salvadorian and this synopsis made my jaw DROP! The cover is gorgeous and I know this book will be heartbreakingly beautiful too. YES FOR THE LATINX REP!!
Sep 24, 2019 rated it liked it
3.5 stars

Content warning for suicidal ideation and attempt, violence including murder, attempted sexual assault, PTSD, depression, and homophobia.

This was the group book for Latinxathon and LatinxLitTakeover and they chose well!

The good:

- Don't tell me all writing in YA sucks. There are some great lines here, great characterization, little moments that sing.

- No italics for Spanish, huzzah! And the code switching is so real. I connected with it as a person living in my second language - reverti
This book was very well-written, with an interesting storyline that deals with many issues: immigration law, homophobia, depression, etc. All of them were handled with care. I can't forget to mention the relationship between the two sisters: Marisol and Gaby. ...more
Jun 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019, lgbtqiap
Marisol and her younger sister Gabi have fled El Salvador and are seeking asylum in the US. When their request isn’t granted Marisol is offered a different way for them to stay in the country legally, become a test subject in a scientific experiment. A device has been created to help people with PTSD deal with their grief and trauma by transmitting their grief into a different person. Marisol now has to deal with taking on the grief of another young girl while also dealing with her own personal ...more
This is gorgeous and tender and so important. What a powerful read, the journey of a gay brown inmigrant girl who will do anything to protect her sister. Marisol's inmigration experience resonated so deeply with me and I'm so thankful for this book.

Heads up for heavy content: discussion of xenophobia and racism, called out ableism, lesbophobia/homophobia, homophobic slurs (both in English and Spanish), suicidal ideation, recollection of trauma, death of a brother/closed relative, discussions of
Feb 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Villasante tackles immigration, identity, and loss in this gorgeous novel with a magical realism/sci-fi twist. When Marisol agrees to become a grief keeper in exchange for asylum for herself and her younger sister, Gabi, she gets more than she bargained for. Rey, her corresponding test subject, is drowning in sorrow, but as she begins to heal at Marisol's expense, the two are drawn together in a beautiful and inextricable tangle. ...more
Melanie  Brinkman
Sharing grief might just take on a new meaning.

Escaping gang violence in their home country, El Salvador, Marisol and her little sister ,Gabi, got caught crossing the U.S. border. After learning that the woman who was going to take them in has died, and that they are going to be sent back, Marisol makes plans to flee.

The sisters hitchhike with an unassuming woman who turns out to be a government agent. She offers Marisol a deal of becoming a Griefkeeper (someone who takes another person's grief
Jan 20, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: young-adult
An exceptional concept that took as much time as it needed to build. Full review to come

Tw; attempted suicide, bombings, murder, violence, homophobia, molestation, lack of agency.
Rating: 4.5 stars.

Review coming soooooon!
In the meantime, let me just say: NOT ENOUGH PEOPLE ARE READING THIS AND WHY, JUST WHY
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Alex Villasante has always loved telling stories—though not always with words. She has a BFA in Painting and an MA in Combined Media (that’s art school speak for making work out of *anything*). Born in New Jersey to immigrant parents, Alex has the privilegio of dreaming in both English and Spanish.

When she’s not writing, painting or chasing chickens around the yard, Alex plans conferences and fun

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