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Family Lore: A Novel

Flor has a gift: she can predict, to the day, when someone will die. So when she decides she wants a living wake—a party to bring her family and community together to celebrate the long life she’s led—her sisters are surprised. Has Flor foreseen her own death, or someone else’s? Does she have other motives? She refuses to tell her sisters, Matilde, Pastora, and Camila.


But Flor isn’t the only person with secrets: her sisters are hiding things, too. And the next generation, cousins Ona and Yadi, face tumult of their own.


Spanning the three days prior to the wake, Family Lore traces the lives of each of the Marte women, weaving together past and present, Santo Domingo and New York City. Told with Elizabeth Acevedo’s inimitable and incandescent voice, this is an indelible portrait of sisters and cousins, aunts and nieces—one family’s journey through their history, helping them better navigate all that is to come.

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384 pages

Average rating: 6.12




Community Reviews

Jun 29, 2024
8/10 stars
Rounded up from 3.5
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Jun 13, 2024
10/10 stars
This has one was so intriguing to read. The story is of a family of sisters who all had different gifts. The mom that the story focuses around has everyone up in arms because she wants to have a living wake. With no illness in sight, her family knows her gift is that of knowing how/when someone will die. This sets us up to dive into all of the characters, their thoughts on her impending wake, and their gifts. Coming from a large family with my mom being one of many sisters, this read had me grasping for each chapter.
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Dec 21, 2023
6/10 stars
Family Lore by Elizabeth Acevedo. Reviewed by TyaNeka Edwards. 🎁 What better way to end this year than reading Family Lore by Elizabeth Acevedo. This novel about family, sisters in particular, with its elements of magic is a such a moving tribute to the ties that bind. 🎁 The Marte sisters, Matilde, Flor, Pastora, and Camila, each posses some type of magic or innate sense about things and/or people. As they navigate their gifts, they also navigate their place in each other life. Told over a three day period, in multiple points of view, leading up to the living wake that Flor has planned for herself, we learn how each sister left the island of the Dominican Republic and made a life for themselves in New York. 🎁 Elizabeth Acevedo did not disappoint in her first foray outside of Young Adult fiction. This is novel is beautifully written and makes you feel an intimate connection with each sister, and their daughters. Family Lore, like her other novels, will go down as one of my favorite reads. ~ TyaNeka Edwards, moderator for This BrowneGirl Reads book club
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Nov 03, 2023
5/10 stars
This book got a lot more attention than it deserved, the author is very poetic, however, the stories are so all over the place. Each narrative is disconnected and the dots don’t really connect in all the ways they need to. Overall, wasn’t worth reading in my opinion.
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Oct 02, 2023
5/10 stars
My initial thoughts on picking up and reading this book was alot of confusion. After discussing this book with a fellow reader, it was suggested to read this at the same time as listening to the audiobook understanding from an interview from the author that their intention was to write so many point of views to show the dynamic of large families and the cultural stand points. I think if I had known that from the start, my mindset would have been different on how I approached the book. Written from the multi generational views of the women in the family line who posses special magic, you follow the women as they prepare for one of the family member's living wake. I think the author definitely wrote with the non linear intention but it wasn't executed 100% and alot of the storyline ended up not going anywhere or being properly explained. Also, having the book interrupted as background narrator by the granddaughter, Ona seemed to add more to the lack of purpose to the storyline.
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