Monday, June 10, 2019

The Grief Keeper by Alexandra Villasante

The Grief Keeper
Release Date: June 11, 2019
Publisher: GP Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers
Genre: Young Adult
Pages: 320 Pages
Format: ARC
Source: From Publisher
Reason: Exchange for Honest Review
Find the Author: Website | @Magpiewrites on Instragram and Twitter
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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 life like Aimee and Amber's, the title characters of her favorite American TV show. She never pictured fleeing her home in El Salvador under threat of death and stealing across the US border as "an illegal", but after her brother is murdered and her younger sister, Gabi's, life is also placed in equal jeopardy, she has no choice, especially because she knows everything is her fault. If she had never fallen for the charms of a beautiful girl named Liliana, Pablo might still be alive, her mother wouldn't be in hiding and she and Gabi wouldn't have been caught crossing the border.
But they have been caught and their asylum request will most certainly be denied. With truly no options remaining, Marisol jumps at an unusual opportunity to stay in the United States. She's asked to become a grief keeper, taking the grief of another into her own body to save a life. It's a risky, experimental study, but if it means Marisol can keep her sister safe, she will risk anything. She just never imagined one of the risks would be falling in love, a love that may even be powerful enough to finally help her face her own crushing grief.The Grief Keeper is a tender tale that explores the heartbreak and consequences of when both love and human beings are branded illegal.
"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 completely changed by the time you are done with it.

Alexandra Villasante penned a heartbreaking tale that tackles immigration, grief, suicide and sexual orientation. She approaches each with such compassion and respect. The hardships of each matter were written with such authenticity; I feel that any person dealing with even just one of these issues would have felt greatly represented. The same goes for each character. Readers will relate to Marisol and Rey in some way or another.

The author's writing will transport you, as if you are alongside Marisol, Gabi, and Rey during their journey, rather than reading it. I was completely swept up in their worlds, invested. I had to suppress the urge to devour this book because I feel it is one that should be savoured, taking your time reading it. Not taking the risk of missing even one word. 

The Grief Keeper is such a unique concept. Unlike anything I have ever read. It begs the question: Would you be a grief keeper? Would you take the grief of a stranger to give yourself a chance at a better, safer life? Or a loved so they are no longer suffering? No longer in crippling pain? Or, on the other side, would you allow someone else to take your grief from you? Every painful emotion weighing you down, being given to someone else to bear?

The Grief Keeper is a touching story of the lengths one would go to for their loved ones. For a new chance at life. A life they are deserving of. It is about self-discovery and perseverance. It's books like this that make me a proud reader. I couldn't imagine missing out on this story! Though listed as a Young Adult, The Grief Keeper should find itself in the hands of all readers. You will not be sorry and will be forever changed after reading their story.
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