Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Grief Keeper” as Want to Read:
The Grief Keeper
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Grief Keeper

4.21  ·  Rating details ·  573 ratings  ·  163 reviews
Seventeen-year-old Marisol Morales and her little sister Gabi are detainees of the United States government. They were caught crossing the U.S. border, to escape the gang violence in their country after their brother was murdered. When Marisol learns that the old family friend who had offered them refuge in America has died and they are going to be sent home, they flee.

Hardcover, 320 pages
Published June 11th 2019 by G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Grief Keeper, please sign up.
Recent Questions
This question contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.21  · 
Rating details
 ·  573 ratings  ·  163 reviews

More filters
Sort order
This is a beautifully-written and touching story about two sisters seeking asylum in America to escape death threats. Marisol would protect her younger sister Gabi at all costs so she agrees to become part of an experiment that has as aim to relieve someone from negative feelings by donating them to a recipient (Marisol).

For a while there, I actually believed something like that might be possible. The author made everything sound so real. Her telling tugged at my heart—she really has a way with
Elise (TheBookishActress)
Sisters who make it to America but learn they'll only be accepted if Marisol participates in a human study for PTSD treatment. holy shit. criticism of immigration, sisterly bonds, PTSD, eerie science!? guys I don't know about you but I'm feeling 22 SUPER FUCKING HYPED
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!!!!!
Mar 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
being a crit partner has its NEED this book in your life, trust me!
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
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
Dec 10, 2018 marked it as definitive-tbr  ·  review of another edition
|| F/F Romance
|| Immigration criticism
|| PTSD experiment


16 Most Anticipated LGBTQIA Novels To Be Released in 2019

Ten 2019 YA Debut Novels You Need To Add To Your TBR Right Away!

Blog/Website | Twitter | Tumblr | Instagram | Pinterest
Jul 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jul 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
holy shit, the blurb killed me already. now i'm waiting for this book to come out and do it again

a story about two sisters, the struggles of 'illegal' immigration, f/f romance, and an experimental study


insta | twitter | blog | booksirens | duolingo
Priscilla (Bookie Charm)
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
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 picke ...more
Feb 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Casey (caseydillabooks)
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  ·  review of another edition
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.
frannie pan
Rating: 4.5 stars.

Review coming soooooon!
In the meantime, let me just say: NOT ENOUGH PEOPLE ARE READING THIS AND WHY, JUST WHY
↠ dan ↞
Jun 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
You need this book. The Grief Keeper is… a marvel. Every once in a while, I’ll read a book that I recognize as truly special almost immediately—it has that magic that pulls you in and makes you care and think, really think, from the get go—and GK is one of these.

It reminded me of one of my all-time favorites (Never Let Me Go) in the brilliant way Villasante married a thought-provoking speculative premise to character-driven literary realism. The meshing of Marisol and Rey’s grief—over the loss
Jul 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
The only reason Gabi and I have this chance at asylum is because Riley died and Mr. Warner's company is involved in this experiment. La Suerte isn't only Mala. She is two-faced. How beautiful and balanced, how terrible and cruel La Suerte is.
Sep 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
TWs: Descriptions of PTSD, trauma, suicide ideation/attempts, use of homophobic slurs, and peripheral mentions of violence and sexual assault.
May 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
4.75 Great read. Full RTC
Jul 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
- tw: sexual assault, suicidal ideas, bombing event, survivor’s guilt, PTSD, homophobia, dyke slur
- wow this book .. she’s a big of a sleeper in terms of impact for me personally
- we follow marisol as she seeks asylum for her and her sister; she takes on a new technological experiment to take and experience the grief of others; all while grieving her brother’s death and associated traumas
- there’s so many layers of themes explored from: immigration, sexual identity and homophobia, grief
Neville Longbottom
Jun 17, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019, lgbtqia
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
N (they/them)

3 stars
TW: depression, thoughts of self-harm/suicide, suicidal ideation, references to sexual assault, violence, bombing, PTDS, immigrant detention center
Rep: Mexican immigrant sapphic MC, sapphic LI, Mexican immigrant SC

The Writing
I was really unimpressed by the writing in this book. I rarely say this about books, but this read very much like a debut and there were definitely moments where I felt like the author was doing a lot more telling than she was showing and I was kind of put off
Laura Sibson
Apr 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When I first heard the premise of this book, I thought that it sounded very clever and I looked forward to reading it so when someone offered to lend me an advance copy, I jumped on the chance. When I read the book, though, what I found was so much more than a clever premise. The Grief Keeper is the story of two sisters who enter the U.S. as illegal immigrants seeking asylum. When it appears that their asylum request will be denied, Marisol, the older sister, accepts and offer that she believes ...more
Nikki Barthelmess

***Thank you to NetGalley and G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers for providing me with an advanced ARC of The Grief Keeper by Alexandra Villasante in exchange for my honest and unbiased review.***

This book. Wow. I will be thinking about The Grief Keeper for a long, long time. Alexandra Villasante weaves a thought-provoking narrative, with a main character who has to make impossible choices to save those she loves. This story takes on timely issues in a sensitive, empathetic way. It is tr
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Dangerous Alliance: An Austentacious Romance
  • Gravemaidens (Gravemaidens, #1)
  • Last Night at the Telegraph Club
  • Tarnished Are the Stars
  • Kings, Queens, and In-Betweens
  • Full Disclosure
  • The Best Lies
  • The Lost Coast
  • Borderland
  • All of Us with Wings
  • Don't Date Rosa Santos
  • An Impossible Distance to Fall
  • Color Me In
  • Out of Salem
  • Hope and Other Punchlines
  • Guardians of Dawn (Guardians of Dawn, #1)
  • Shatter the Sky (Shatter the Sky, #1)
  • The Bone Garden
See similar books…
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