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Yo!Yo! by Julia Alvarez
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Under the guise of the general storyline—Yolanda García wrote a novel that shares too much of the truth about her real family for their liking—begins a book that’s really about the many perceptions different people can have of one woman. Each chapter is from a different person’s perspective and shares that character’s insights into Yo, and all the voices sound unique in their own way. All perspectives are very different, though stitched together by common threads, to give us a full and deep picture of the main character.

This whole concept is brilliant and insightful, at one point even taking the reader into Yo’s stalker’s POV, which is startling and extremely well written. Each character truly sounds unique, and we often get to see characters’ perspectives on each other, not just on Yo.

Another part of the book I enjoyed was Yo’s attempts to find herself and where she belongs, what she should be doing with her life, her uncertainty about it all, even though from the outside, she often looks like she’s sure of herself—depending on the perspective. This uncertainty follows her through her whole life. She’s caught between a modern world and the old ways from the Dominican Republic, sometimes employing a bit of each in ways that occasionally confuse those close to her. Even her temperament can change on a dime, further playing up the angle of her uncertainties about herself and what she wants.

This was a great read, enjoyable for its depth and variety, its cultural insights, or simply for entertainment.

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