Maya's Notebook by Isabel Allende
A Novel

70%

7 Critic Reviews

Maya’s story is soul-restoring in its fierce conviction that there is no damage done to a society, family or individual that cannot be eclipsed by hope and love. Allende makes you believe that, even if you don’t, at least for a while.
-Star Tribune

Synopsis

Maya’s Notebook is a startling novel of suspense from New York Times bestselling author Isabel Allende.
 
This contemporary coming-of-age story centers upon Maya Vidal, a remarkable teenager abandoned by her parents. Maya grew up in a rambling old house in Berkeley with her grandmother Nini, whose formidable strength helped her build a new life after emigrating from Chile in 1973 with a young son, and her grandfather Popo, a gentle African-American astronomer.
 
When Popo dies, Maya goes off the rails. Along with a circle of girlfriends known as "the vampires," she turns to drugs, alcohol, and petty crime--a downward spiral that eventually leads to Las Vegas and a dangerous underworld, with Maya caught between warring forces: a gang of assassins, the police, the FBI, and Interpol.
 
Her one chance for survival is Nini, who helps her escape to a remote island off the coast of Chile. In the care of her grandmother’s old friend, Manuel Arias, and surrounded by strange new acquaintances, Maya begins to record her story in her notebook, as she tries to make sense of her past and unravel the mysteries of her family and her own life.

 

About Isabel Allende

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Isabel Allende is the bestselling author of eleven works of fiction, four memoirs, and three young adult novels, which have been translated into more than twenty-seven languages with more than fiftyseven million copies sold. In 2004, she was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters. She received the Hans Christian Andersen Literature Award in 2012. Born in Peru and raised in Chile, she lives in California.
 
Published April 23, 2013 by Harper. 401 pages
Genres: Education & Reference, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Literature & Fiction. Fiction
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Critic reviews for Maya's Notebook
All: 7 | Positive: 4 | Negative: 3

Kirkus

Above average
on Feb 18 2013

Allende is a master at plucking heartstrings...but the sentimentality and a lack of subtlety concerning politics, Chilean and American, can grate.

Read Full Review of Maya's Notebook: A Novel | See more reviews from Kirkus

Guardian

Good
Reviewed by Emily Perkins on May 30 2013

"The whole world is magical," says Manuel, the man who has survived much and becomes Maya's protector, and the book is best read in that spirit.

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Guardian

Below average
Reviewed by Emily Perkins on May 30 2013

Maya used to read the dictionary with her beloved grandfather, something we're reminded of when she drops words such as "lapidary" and "telluric". Harder to reconcile are the almost anthropological observations...

Read Full Review of Maya's Notebook: A Novel | See more reviews from Guardian

NPR

Above average
Reviewed by Mary Pols on Apr 24 2013

Like any soap opera, Maya's Notebook feels cloaked in the reassurance that these are all just stories — even for Maya...

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Star Tribune

Good
Reviewed by Pamela Miller Star Tribune on Apr 28 2013

Maya’s story is soul-restoring in its fierce conviction that there is no damage done to a society, family or individual that cannot be eclipsed by hope and love. Allende makes you believe that, even if you don’t, at least for a while.

Read Full Review of Maya's Notebook: A Novel | See more reviews from Star Tribune

LA Times

Excellent
Reviewed by Reed Johnson on Apr 27 2013

...through its well-realized heroine's evolving consciousness, "Maya's Notebook" exerts a raw and genuine power.

Read Full Review of Maya's Notebook: A Novel | See more reviews from LA Times

Toronto Star

Above average
Reviewed by Dimitri Nasrallah on Aug 12 2013

With this latest novel, the author has opted for a grittier, more realist-driven story of a much younger protagonist to pair with her ubiquitous and irrepressible voice. Crime, gangs, drugs, alcohol — these are the circumstances Allende has brought in to situate Maya’s Notebook, to questionable effect.

Read Full Review of Maya's Notebook: A Novel | See more reviews from Toronto Star

Reader Rating for Maya's Notebook
78%

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