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Staff Reviews

Maya’s Notebook by Isabel Allende is set in current days, an interesting
departure from Allende’s magnificent historical fiction.

Maya went off the deep end when her beloved grandfather died. Abandoned by her mother as an infant, Maya was raised in the loving, indulgent household of her grandparents.  Her grandmother was a Chilean immigrant and activist married to a Berkley professor. Even after her father remarried and made a home for his daughter,  Maya would spend most of her time with her grandparents in their big old hilltop home.

Unmoored by her loss, Maya started running with a rough crowd, indulging in controlled substances, and in general putting herself in harm’s way.  She gets involved with the wrong people and eventually finds herself bound to a rather seriously dangerous crime boss. With her life in jeopardy, the bad guys and the FBI after her, Maya turns for help to her grandmother.  

The solution is to hide Maya on a remote island in Chile with a friend from her
grandmother’s youth.  Here Maya’s pace of life shifts, she starts to see the change of seasons, to connect with the people in the tiny community, and to reflect on her actions. 

The story works both as a thriller and a coming of age story.  I enjoyed it very much.

— Deon Stonehouse


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 the Author

Isabel Allende is the author of twelve works of fiction, including the New York Times bestsellers Maya’s Notebook, Island Beneath the Sea, Inés of My Soul, Daughter of Fortune, and a novel that has become a world-renowned classic, The House of the Spirits. Born in Peru and raised in Chile, she lives in California.

Product Details
ISBN: 9780062333247
ISBN-10: 0062333240
Publisher: HarperAudio
Publication Date: April 22nd, 2014
Language: English