Maya’s Notebook by Isabel Allende
Isabel Allende is one of our favorite writers here at BHS, and this title will bring her even closer to our hearts. It’s the story of nineteen-year-old May Vidal, and is set in the modern day. Maya was a Berkeley High student who made some really bad decisions after her Popo (grandpa) died. She ends up a drug addict on the streets of Las Vegas, living a life that is anything but glamorous. Her typical Berkeleyite grandmother, who she affectionately calls Nini rescues her from a gang of drug-dealing assassins and spirits her away to her home country of Chile, to an isolated town where she has an old friend. Maya is cut off from everything she knows– cell phone, email, computers, friends and family– and slowly begins to find herself again.
The story alternates perspectives, from Maya telling readers about her turbulent past to her gradual adjustment to the quiet, slow-paced town of Chiloe where everyone knows everyone else and their business. This book will enthrall readers with its completely engaging story. It’s easy for readers, especially Bay Area ones, to identify with what Maya goes through as a teenager. (Allende actually researched the book here at Berkeley High!) I highly recommend this title to all teen and adult readers.