I'm not really sure how to rate this book. The story itself was a really good coming of age story about a young girl coming to terms with her family and the loss of the dynamic she had as a child. It's a period of loss, change, and growth.
However, I couldn't get over the style. The entire thing is one side of phone calls between the protagonist and her older sister who is away at college. There are random interjections of flashbacks that are differentiated by italics. It took way too long for me really to get used to the style and figure out exactly what was going on.
The experimental style just didn't land for me, but if you're up for that, the story was really good.
When I started this book, I was extremely confused because I didn’t understand how the story was being told. But then once I got used to it, it was wonderful. I really appreciated the fact that it was conversational and funny and real.
I loved hearing about Abue and her family and her life. Although most was sad, she was definitely a character.
I wish more of Mari’s absence could have been fleshed out but I guess it’s really hard to do that without her POV or talking.
I thought we would see Abue make it to Colombia and I was sad to not see that part of it.
I requested to read and review this book for free from Hogarth an Imprint of Random House Publishing Company. This story is a one sided phone conversation with Luciana with her mom, her sister Mari, and Abue. This storyline has lots of drama and some mystery. This has lots of family dynamics that people go through in life. When a family member gets sick it will affect everyone but maybe some more then others. Secrets have a way of coming out. When is it ok to push someone to do more for their health vs. Letting them make the decision they want to even if you don't agree. Luciana has a typical teenage relationship with her mom. When she needs the other people on her life that she doesn't feel are their for her. What we will she do and how does she respond. This is for a mature reader but can be read anywhere.
Oye is sold as a family drama, set in 2017, the book opens as Luciana and her mother prepare to evacuate from South Florida before Hurricane Irma makes landfall. The book is written entirely as one sided phone conversations between Luciana and Mari, her older sister who lives further north and is in college.
The plot summary of this book intrigued me as I typically enjoy familial drama and coming of age books, but the one sided conversation style was just not for me. I attempted to read it but was unable to finish it. Based on the reviews I'm seeing I'm definitely in the minority and I am willing to concede that it's not the book, it's me.
Thank you to Random House and NetGalley for the electronic ARC of this novel for review.
Melissa Mogollon's "Oye" is a unique and often inspired novel centered around Luciana, a spunky and electric narrator throughout the novel whose one-sided telephone conversations with her not quite as inspired sister Mari are truly worthy of a telenovela.
If you are able to embrace Mogollon's grand literary experiment and sync with her rhythms, "Oye" will likely be a joy to behold.
For others, it will be a frustrating experience.
Me? I often found myself in the middle. I appreciated "Oye," though I seldom enjoyed it. I never quite found that sync with Mogollon's literary rhythm and mostly my experience with this family made me glad that I've never had these types of funny yet cringe-worthy conversations.
Some will not want to hang up on "Oye." Others will feel like they've stumbled into the telemarketing call from hell and would rather buy the extended car insurance than keep on listening.
So, in case you haven't understood. This much is vital to know going into "Oye." It's structured as a series of one-sided phone calls from Luciana to her older sister Mari. It's a unique and inspired literary approach, though it entirely depends on you appreciating Luciana's voice and embracing the family drama, as told through Luciana, to follow.
Luciana is the baby of her large Colombian American family. She has, for the most part, enjoyed life on the sidelines. However, as we're introduced to her she's experiencing a change in her family role. There's a hurricane heading straight for Miami and eccentric grandmother refuses to evacuate.
It's clear that Luciana has a warm affection for her grandmother, Abue, though it's an occasionally tense relationship. Then, Abue receives a serious medical diagnosis.
And thus, you have the major narrative thread of "Oye" as Abue moves into Luciana's bedroom and Luciana essentially falls into a complicated caregiving relationship during the senior year of high school while her mother's behavior becomes increasingly off-kilter, her sister (Mari) is absent, and Abue's prognosis is uncertain.
If this sounds fascinating, "Oye" may very well be for you. If you're already exhausted, "Oye" becomes more exhausting.
While I would agree that life is too short to commit to a book that simply isn't working for you, the truth is that I would most embrace reviews of "Oye" in which the reader has read the entire book. "Oye" changes in narrative structure and story so much over the course of the book that reading the entire book is truly necessary to offer an accurate review of it.
I will say, however, that I very nearly gave up early on and am not surprised at those who did. It helps to know the structure going in, however, it also helps to have an awareness of Latino culture as it fully comes to life here. Mogollon herself is originally from Colombia and was raised in Florida and "Oye" is brimming with cultural awareness and vibrant family dynamics.
Again, I have a feeling that "Oye" is going to be a love it or hate it book. Though, oddly enough, I'm actually in neither place and sit squarely in the middle as someone who appreciated it more than truly enjoyed it (Reviewer's Note: "Enjoying" a book is not necessary in my perspective in terms of review. There are brilliant books that I didn't enjoy. Likewise, there are books I enjoyed that are, if I'm being honest, poorly written).
"Oye" has much to appreciate and those who embrace it will do so enthusiastically. "Oye" features very visual storytelling and I found myself thinking that this would be an amazing indie motion picture as Luciana is definitely an engaging character and there aren't nearly enough Latino-centered motion pictures featuring positive characters.
Anyway, "Oye" wasn't quite what I'd hoped it would be but it's an entirely unique and compelling experience worthy of your consideration.
“Oye” is by Melissa Mogollon. This book is from the point of view of Luciana, who is on the phone with her sister Mari. We only hear/read Luciana’s side of the conversation - something I found a rather interesting way to tell a story. A long time ago, I had to write a story in this same way, so I know it’s not an easy way to write! Ms. Mogollon uses this very effectively - so my hat’s off to her for that. Luciana navigates things during her senior year of high school - ranging from Hurricane Irma to a health crisis when a beloved grandmother and a buried family secret. As Luciana’s coping strategy is to call her sister, there are a number of phone calls. I think the second half of the book was more interesting as the reader learns more about Luciana’s wishes/desires and also those of her grandmother. A well done book. 3.5 stars rounded up to 4..
I would like to thank NetGalley and Hogarth for providing me with an advance e-galley of this book in exchange for an honest review. Look for it in your local and online bookstores and libraries on May 14, 2024.
While the premise of this novel was interesting, the one sided phone conversation just didn’t do it for me. I found it confusing and did not finish this book.
I received a complimentary copy, opinions are my own.
The drama of a family and the secrets of their history are explored through phone conversations in Oye by Melissa Mogollon.
In phone calls with her sister Mari, who’s away at university, Luciana vents her frustration at being placed into the role of voice of reason during crises while also offering updates and details of her family’s evasion of an impending hurricane, documenting the health decline of their grandmother, Abue, and learning of and sharing the surprising history of Abue’s past that sheds a lot of light on her behavior. Navigating the familial drama, Luciana is thrust ever closer to adulthood with the roles she’s forced to take on as caretaker, translator, and keeper of secrets while also trying to fully find herself in the midst of all the interruptions and chaos thrown her way.
The narrative provides one side of a conversation that’s interspersed with memories, often of more complete conversations with others, to flesh out the point being made at the time, which took some getting accustomed to but was an innovative method of chronicling events as a different form of an epistolary novel. Luciana and Abue’s characters feel larger than life with the humorous and grandiose ways they express themselves and interact with those within their orbit; Abue’s hard upbringing that’s slowly revealed explains why she behaves as she does, which then in turn shapes Luciana as the pair’s bond strengthens with their time together. A dual coming-of-age story with both Luciana and Abue having their time in the spotlight and growing, the idea imparted to encourage living despite, or perhaps in spite of, the circumstances you face shines clearly through the experiences lived and lessons learned by both women.
Overall, I’d give it a 3.5 out of 5 stars.
*I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Told through telephone conversations, this one took a bit to get into but then once I did I was hooked! This book was charming and loveable with a heartbreaking ending
I will be honest and say that I didn't think this would be good. An entire book told from one person's POV over the phone? Please. BUT IT WAS FANTASTIC! Through phone calls to her big sister, Mari, who is at college, Luciana, shares the drama that comes from being in an immigrant family dealing a health crisis, family secrets, and that sense of being "left behind" as the younger, not as accomplished, sister. You will ping pong between loving and being frustrated by Luciana. As the eldest of three sisters in an immigrant family, this would be a good book to share with my sisters and see how each view the book.
"Oye" by Melissa Mogollon took me on a wild ride through the highs and lows of a young queer Colombian American teen's last year of high school. The unique narrative presentation, structured as one-sided phone conversations, initially had me questioning its approach, but as I delved deeper, I found it to be a compelling and refreshing storytelling device.
The novel follows Luciana Domínguez as she confronts a hurricane and navigates a family health crisis, all through phone conversations with her sister, Mari, who is away at college.
The vibrant voice of Luciana, the protagonist, made the emotions palpable, and the layers of family dynamics were peeled back gradually, revealing a coming-of-age story that resonates across generations and cultures.
This book was super funny, like stumbling on a telenovela! I really enjoyed it, it all seemed very loud!
This story wasn’t just one point of view, it was literally just one half of a conversation… thoughts, speaking, and texting but all from just one person. Very weird but it worked well and made the story more interesting. Good story as well, gotta love family drama but I love it even more when it’s a feisty old grandmother because those older generations have done so much more than we realize!
Ok I just love this book. I love the epistolary style it’s told in. I love the voice of our main characters and how we grow to fully love and root for her. I was sobbing by the end of this. I can’t wait for this to be an audio book, because the narration will add a level to this story that will be amazing.
This was a very impressive debut
with such an interesting style of book. Telling a series of events via one way phone call transcripts that contain so much drama it was telenovela. It was a bit hard for me to get into at first but I got hooked and really attached to Luciana and her family.
The growth that Nana goes through while her family is going through the wringer of cancer and generational trauma is truly admirable.
This book was sooooo confusing. I knew it was phone conversations but I didn’t realize until way to far into the book that we were only getting one side of the conversation with text messages (at least I think because surely people don’t say LOL while talking) sprinkled in. Once I figured this out, it started to make a little more sense. It took me way to long to read this due to the confusion and person reasons of me relating the sick grandmother to my my mom getting sick again when I started this book.
But I enjoyed the second half of the book, I felt like I got a better sense of the two main characters and everything started coming together. Overall it was touching with humor strewed in.
Hopefully once the book is published they will have more clear indicators that it’s a one sided conversation and add in punctuation or headers for what is going on.
Thank you Netgalley and the publisher for this ARC.
3.5 Stars out of 5.
First of all, thank you NetGalley and Hogarth Press for giving me the opportunity to read this ARC in exchange for my honest review.
This is a very different coming to age novel, the premise is very unique from any other one that I had seen before. This book is full of drama and at the center of it all it is Abue (Grandma) which is an amazing character. Please make sure you pick up a copy of this on its release day, May 14th, 2024
A touching coming of age story between sisters.
I think that that it was very interesting that the book is written where we only get one side of a telephone conversation. It took some time to get used to, but once you figure out the format, this book really flies!
This ended up being a cozy read with lots of heartwarming moments and some good chisme.
Many thanks to NetGalley and RandomHouse Publishing for the ARC.
Fantastic, witty, and heartwarming. I loved Abue and thought she was wonderful.
Many thanks to Random House and to NetGalley for providing me with a galley in exchange for my honest opinion.