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The Book of Lost Saints

4.06  ·  Rating details ·  757 ratings  ·  151 reviews
An evocative multigenerational Cuban American family story of revolution, loss, violence, and family bonds

Marisol vanished during the Cuban Revolution, her fate unknown and lost to time. Now, haunted by atrocities long-forgotten, her foul-mouthed spirit visits her nephew, Ramon, in modern-day New Jersey. Her hope: That her presence will prompt her descendant to unearth the
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published November 5th 2019 by Imprint
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Average rating 4.06  · 
Rating details
 ·  757 ratings  ·  151 reviews

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Olivia (Stories For Coffee)
The Book of Lost Saints is a mesmerizing book that sucked me deep into the heart of a story that brought forth a world of emotions inside me that I’m still trying to process. Told in a 3rd person omnipresent point of view, this novel follows Ramón as he continually receives messages from a long lost tía who vanished without a trace after the Cuban revolution. As he gets glimpses of her rocky past in Cuba, he feels compelled to investigate to see what happened to her while also learning more abou ...more
Revolution asks that its children put not only their own lives on the line, but the lives of all their friends and loved ones as well. It's a wide, sweeping trap, an ever-yawning crevice in the earth.

I don't think this book could feel more personal if I had written it myself. I am half convinced Older pried this story from the hearts of Cuban-Americans to lay bare for the rest of the world to see. It is a love letter, a haunting, and utterly unforgettable.

Ramón and Marisol's journey left me
This family saga and modern ghost story takes place during the Cuban revolution and in present day NYC/NJ. It is striking in its honest and brutal depiction of violence, but reveals equal, if not more, passion for depicting resilience and hope. At times funny and at times somber, I couldn't stop turning the pages, waiting to learn more about Marisol and Ramón's intertwined past and present. Pick up this family saga/mystery ghost story and join me AND @d
Sep 19, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley, 2019
The Book of Lost Saints is a Cuban family story with a heart firmly planted in the world of magical realism. Ramón, one of two central characters, is a hospital security guard by day and an exceptionally talented DJ by night. The other central character is Marisol, an aunt Ramón never met, but whose spirit is now haunting his dreams. Marisol disappeared in the aftermath of the Cuban revolution, and now she wants Ramón to uncover her story to put her spirit at peace. Doing this, however, is a sin ...more
Didi Chanoch
Nov 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There are some things which you are likely to encounter in a DJO book. There will be music. There will be complex family stuff (stuff: dynamics, relationships, magical legacies). There will probably be a medical professional. Politics will likely play a part. And a ghost.

The Book of Lost Saints has all of these, and yet it is an entirely different work from Older's previous. It is a mix of magical realism, urban fantasy, historical fiction, multi-generational family drama. The horror here is no
Louis Muñoz
Oct 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Una gran y hermosa obra, a great and beautiful work. If I could give this book TEN stars, I would. Powerful. Gut-wrenching. Uplifting. Haunting, in both chilling and sublime ways. Magical, both literally and figuratively. Life-affirmative. Unforgettable.
Nov 03, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
-So if you ever wonder what we, the disappeared, dream of in our darkest hours, know that it is you: those who remain- Marisol.

Daniel Jose Older has delivered a story of a family, secrets, revolution, betrayal, survival, loss and love.

Marisol vanished in the days following the Cuban revolution; now a part of her has returned to uncover what really happened to her. With a bond that transcends the physical, Marisol uses a loved one to search for the truth.

History: shared, owned, hated or forgotten
4-4.5 stars

Wow, what an ending! This was no an easy book to read, partly because it was hard to figure out what was going on at the beginning, and partly because of the subject matter. This book covers the time surrounding the Cuban Revolution and moves towards the present where Ramon is being visited by the spirit and memories of his dead aunt Marisol as they both try to figure out what happened to her. This was a subject that I didn't know much about and like all war zones/dictatorships, it wa
Jun 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
(Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book through Netgalley. This does not impact my review which is honest and unbiased).

TW: Torture

The Book of Lost Saint and I had a roller coaster relationship. At the beginning, I was so confused and not sure at all where the book was going, and then in the middle I was beginning to catch up, and then the revelations of the ending 10-15 chapters had me captivated. Told from Marisol's perspective, I loved the way Older integrates memories of Marisol growin
Morgan M. Page
Nov 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Hands down the best novel I've read all year. Daniel José Older's The Book of Lost Saints reinvents the diasporic family saga, pivoting its perspective not only to the displaced but to the very souls of those already lost to the living. ...more
Lexi (Reads and Riesling)
This book was so not what I expected. I picked this up from my library’s New Releases shelf back in February because the cover is so intricate and appealing. I read the synopsis and thought, “Okay, so the spirit of a lost family member takes her nephew on a journey. Cool.” But it is so much more than that. This book discusses what it means to be a family and how trauma can permeate family trees.

The main character, Marisol, disappeared during the revolution in Cuba and her spirit shows her nephe
Kiki Monet
DNFed at 24%

The description of the story made me very curios, since I am not reading that many books on history. I wanted to discover more about Cuba about revolution. I really wanted to understand the characters.
The first thing that put me off was the writing style. I am not a native English speaker, so if I read books in English I have to concentrate more in order to follow up with the story. The writing style was so confusing that I kept on forgetting that it was actually the ghost telling th
May 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
Older explores the violence of the Cuban revolution through this nicely written story of a female ghost visiting her nephew to try to understand the events surrounding her own death and those of several other family members. The audio version read by Sofia Quintero creates an intimate experience that feels fully authentic.
Leah Rachel von Essen
Jan 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The Book of Lost Saints is a lyrically written, gorgeous book by Daniel José Older. Marisol, a spirit, vanished during the Cuban Revolution, but can’t remember what happened to her. Now, she is infusing her memories, which slowly unfold, into the dreams of her nephew Ramón, praying that the DJ will dig into his family’s history to write the rest of her story.

This novel was incredible: from the twists I could never see coming to the level of emotional investment the reader begins to feel in Ramón
Jun 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Slated for release on November 9th, 2019, The Book of Lost Saints by Daniel José Older is a haunting and intriguing book that readers are going to love.

The story centers around Marisol, a spirit who is desperate to find out what happened to her in the past and how she died. She remembers fragment by fragment of her history and infuses those memories into the dreams of her nephew Ramón, a DJ. Ramón keeps a book of all his vivid dreams, but when he starts asking questions, his family evades him an
Nov 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
This book stunned me. I was not expecting to enjoy this story, these characters, and this setting as much as I did. The book is a little slow in the beginning; the prose is almost guarded and purposely vague. However, if you can push past that you will be rewarded by a raw, honest, and beautiful novel. Older’s portrayal of rebel Cuba is a character unto itself; the moral and emotional investment he poured into this book is evident and moving. Additionally, the representation of female and queer ...more
Feb 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
magical and poetic storytelling from start to finish. a historically-inspired tale of both individual and communal identity, sacrifice, and healing. I especially appreciated Marisol's character development and her journey in discovering the truth. her narration allowed readers to join her, instead of her simply leading the way. ...more
Llyr Heller-Humphreys
Jan 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I've enjoyed Older's middle grade and YA novels, but this has surpassed all expectations. This was such a heartbreaking, loving novel. I didn't want it to end. Thank you for writing this. ...more
Jul 20, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Pausing to look up the Cuban Revolution was very helpful... another instance of a piece of history of which I'm ignorant. As with Older's other books, music and rhythm guide so much of the story, as do intense family ties. A similar flavor to his other work, but more historical and less urban fantasy. ...more
Aug 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Daniel is a lovely human being, but personality aside, this is a great book (slow opening), excellent use of the present tense, and a lesson in the conjure work that is writing and memory.
Aug 16, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I stumbled upon this title by chance and it really didn’t disappoint. A very pleasant surprise of a book. Definitely want to pick up The Bone Street Rumba or Shadowshaper series soon now.
Vincent Sylvestre
Aug 09, 2020 rated it it was ok
I’m still trying to figure out why I didn’t enjoy this one more. I liked the story, but I wasn’t a fan of the POV (ghost/spirit of an aunt haunting her nephew’s dreams). The ending felt a little rushed. I think this book would have worked better for me if the discoveries came to Ramón more naturally throughout the book, or if the stories told through dreams were actually just flashbacks.
Oct 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful writing unlike other things I’ve read. The main character is a ghost dropping memories about her life for her nephew through his dreams. I wasn’t sure what was going on at first, but as more was revealed (and I looked up a bit of history about Cuba) it came together in a dramatic and compelling mystery of all family, resistance, betrayal, etc..
Lilia Anderson
If you are a fan of magical realism and can suspend disbelief, please read this. It is beautifully written, and has plot twists that made me gasp dramatically, as well as beautifully romantic insertions throughout the text. And the suspense! Older is EPIC in his ability to hook readers with incredible action that simultaneously advances the plot and develops characters. Marisol and Ramón have my heart.
Cindy Wilkerson
Jan 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: adult, 2020
But this is my struggle. My memories are my salvation. In their slow unraveling, I become whole again.

This book is stunning.
I must admit, it took me a couple of chapters to get into the story. There’s not much of an exposition. I was thrown into the world of Ramón and Marisol. But once I got my bearings straight, I was in for a ride.
The Book of Lost Saints follows the ghost/spirit of Marisol and her nephew Ramón. Marisol has no recollection of what happened to her during the Cuban revolution,
Apr 13, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm grateful to The Book of Lost Saints for breaking me out of a pretty dismal book rut. So many attributes of this story drew me in, especially the multigenerational theme of an uprooted existence adrift between countries/cultures, and the incorporation of magical realism.
*Any textual references made unfortunately will not include page numbers, since I read the the novel in digital format.

Throughout the novel, the line between the world of the living (Ramón's) and the dead (his tía's) is fitti
Mar 06, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The language of this story is beautiful. Older’s writing is infused with music and rhythm, which is intertwined with Marisol’s nostalgia for the past, even if she can’t remember it. His world is sensual and melodic, but also full of rage at corrupt government systems, and the helplessness of those caught up in it. There is a heart-aching scene where Marisol’s older sister realizes much too late the consequences of joining the rebel side of the Cuban revolution. Her and Marisol’s involvement in t ...more
Oct 15, 2019 rated it liked it
This book, The Book of Lost Saints, covers many topics, although it was quite tough to follow in the beginning, it leads you to; the Cuban Revolution, ghosts, spirits looking for answers, Ramon > his Aunt Marisol and lots of curiosity. Read when you have time to concentrate and can take it all in. It's quite a curious fantasy. Thank you #netgalley #thebookoflostsaints #imprintbooks ...more
Dec 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
Beautiful, magical, funny, heartbreaking. Whew! This was an incredible story about a family. Like the characters, I was super invested in finding out the facts of this tale. The structure allowed for such an interesting unfolding of the story. This might be my favorite read of the year.
Stephanie Brown
This was a tough read because it was confusing at times, but it wasn't the main reason I rated this only 2 stars. The author didn't develop the characters enough for me to like them. ...more
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Daniel José Older is the New York Times bestselling author of the Young Adult series the Shadowshaper Cypher (Scholastic), the Bone Street Rumba urban fantasy series (Penguin), and the upcoming Middle Grade sci-fi adventure Flood City (Scholastic). He won the International Latino Book Award and has been nominated for the Kirkus Prize, the Mythopoeic Award, the Locus Award, the Andre Norton Award, ...more

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