Villasante, Alexandra. The Grief Keeper.
Villasante, Alexandra. The Grief Keeper. G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers, June 2019. 320p. $17.99. 978-0525514022.
4Q * 4P * J * S
Seventeen-year-old Marisol and her younger sister, Gabi, have fled El Salvador seeking asylum in the United States. Fleeing from gang violence and the murder of their brother, they have to cross the border illegally. Being held in a detention center in Pennsylvania, the girls decide to escape. While on the run, they are picked up by former United States government agent Indranie Patel, who offers Marisol the chance to earn asylum. She is presented the chance to become a human subject under the guise of a study that would allow soldiers suffering from PTSD to transfer their grief to her via an implant. Agreeing, Marisol and Gabi are taken to an estate outside of Washington, D.C., where they meet a young suicidal woman, Rey. Rey's father, a wealthy owner of a pharmaceutical company, is desperate to heal his daughter's mental illness due to the tragic death of her twin brother. Instead of transferring grief from soldiers, Marisol is assigned to Rey to heal her depression via the implant. As the relationship between Marisol and Rey deepens, the girls fall in love.
A debut novel, The Grief Keeper challenges topics of mental illness, immigration, loss, and acceptance. Marisol and Gabi are learning the nuances of American culture, and the author intersperses Spanish with English, providing the reader with contextual clues to build strong characters. Teens interested in social justice and stories with LGBTQIA+ characters will enjoy The Grief Keeper.--Adrienne Amborski.