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The Grief Keeper

4.39  ·  Rating details ·  203 ratings  ·  69 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 l

ebook, 256 pages
Published June 11th 2019 by G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers
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4.39  · 
Rating details
 ·  203 ratings  ·  69 reviews

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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)
May 05, 2017 marked it as releases-2019
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
Mar 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
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
Dec 10, 2018 marked it as definitive-tbr
|| 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!

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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
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


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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.
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
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.
Jan 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
↠ dan ↞
Jun 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, lgbtq
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
May 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
4.75 Great read. Full RTC
Neville Longbottom
Jun 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: lgbtqia, 2019
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
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
Laura Sibson
Apr 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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
Jan 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing

***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
What a beautiful book. It was hard to read at times, thinking of how many children are currently locked in cages, their only crime being looking for a better life (or being forced to follow their parents), but it was beautiful. The ending was perfect for the situation. The story had romance, but it was more focused on sibling relationships and the things we'll do for our sibings.
Jun 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is such a beautiful, timely, and emotional YA novel.

The author did a great job describing emotions and grief. When the experiment was working, what Milesol was going through reminded me of what it's like to be an empath who's close to a psychic vampire (not that Rey was a psychic vampire on purpose--it was the experiment).
Dec 09, 2018 marked it as to-read
ooooh my gosh, this sounds FASCINATING
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Paige Green
Jun 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Disclaimer: I received a finished copy from Penguin and ordered my own copy. Thanks! All opinions are my own.

Book Series: Standalone

Rating: 5/5

Publication Date: June 11, 2019

Genre: YA Horror

Recommended Age: 15+ (science experimentation, dystopian feelings, immigration, race issues, TW PTSD, depression)

Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers

Pages: 256

Amazon Link

Synopsis: Seventeen-year-old Marisol has always dreamed of being American, learning what Americans and the US are like from
Cathy(The Crazy Bookworm)
**Originally posted on The Crazy Bookworm Blog on 06/10/2019**

"You aren't an illegal. You're a person. You are a girl"

Firstly, can we address this absolutely stunning cover? It is the perfect representation of this story. Each time I'd pick the book up, I couldn't help but admire its beauty each time!

The Grief Keeper will sweep its arms around you and nestle itself right into your soul. The 2 main characters, Marisol and Rey will find a comfortable spot within your heart. You will be left comple
Dai Guerra
May 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
After their brother, Pablo, is murdered by a gang in El Salvador, Marisol and her sister, Gabi, are sent to the U.S. by their mother in the hopes of escaping gang persecution. Unfortunately, Marisol and Gaby are caught before crossing the border and are kept in a detention center where Marisol applies for asylum. Their application for asylum doesn't go through so Marisol thinks that their time in the U.S. has come to an end. Luckily for her and Gaby, the government offers them a proposition that ...more
Jun 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. If I say it was exactly what I needed I am not saying enough. I think The Grief Keeper is what a lot of people need right now and I hope that everyone reads it.

Set firmly in the now, centered on an immigrant teenager and her little sister requesting asylum in the United States, this book is about love in all its forms. I expected the entire novel to be heart wrenching, and, well, full of grief - and some passages are indeed just that - but it is also joyful, and hopeful, and r
Jun 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
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A Emotional Read!

This book was an emotional rollercoaster! I thoroughly enjoyed! Its YA but felt more adult to me.
It's a touching story of two sisters Marisol and Gabi. They are seeking refuge in America, but they will only be accepted if Marisol participates in an experiment as a greif keeper. This is a risky scientific experiment where one person takes on other persons grief into their body.

This was beautiful writ
Jun 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book was kind of brilliant. From the synopsis, I assumed it was going to tear my heart out-- and it was definitely heavy-- but less brutal than I expected. The depression rep was uncomfortably accurate, and the tone overall wasn't particularly hopeful. The book starts just after a grueling cross-border trip with coyotes, and, though the circumstances change, the intensity and anguish never really lets up. Sol and Gabby were strong and beautiful and fierce, their grief palpable, their inner ...more
Jun 29, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
While the concept of the book is super interesting, the first 200 pages (apart from the very beginning) lack intensity in my opinion. It could be the writing style (and thus a subjective impression), but especially in the middle, not much is happening. On the other hand, the last third is heart-wrenching and emotional, yet these developments feel somewhat rushed, whether it's the solution of Marisol and Gabi's fates, their backstory or the romance.

The sci-fi aspect isn't thoroughly explained, bu
Kelly 💜☕️
Such a different book... YA with immigrants and a lesbian romance. Quite enjoyable and thought provoking.

Thanks to San Diego County Library for the digital audio version via Libby app.

[Audio: 9 hours, 50 minutes]
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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