In my previous post Divine Secrets of Choosing What to Read I wrote about how much I love Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, and how reading Rebecca Wells’ other Ya-Ya novel Little Altars Everywhere later almost ruined it for me and other readers. I was about to read another one, Ya-Yas In Bloom, with some trepidation.

I am happy to be able to say that there is nothing in Ya-Yas In Bloom to ruin anything else in Ya-Ya land. No hint of the shocker in Little Altars marrs the gloriousness that is the Ya-Ya tribe.

That’s not to say it’s a perfect book. Personally, I wasn’t crazy about the structure, which is very unnovellike (my motto for the day is: if you can’t think of a word you want, make one up, no matter how bizarre it looks once written!). It’s told from multiple points of view, which is common, and flips around from first to third person and back, which in my experience is not. It reads like a collection of related short stories, with each story a new chapter instead of an individually titled tale. So, though it says “A Novel” on the cover, my instinct is to beg to differ.

The different characters’ stories range from poignant to heartbreaking to joyous, and from the Ya-Yas to their children and on to the grandchildren. Some I could do without, while others left me wanting much more.

The final part of the book tells of a huge, happy, hilarious, and moving multigenerational gathering, including a Christmas pageant done with the wonderful mix of goofy abandon and one of a kind style that makes me love the Ya-Yas and envy the lifelong friendship that shaped the lives of Vivi, Caro, Teensy, and Necie, their families, and the readers who mentally shout “Ya-Ya!” right along with them.

I’m glad I read it, but it did leave me longing for a whole novel like those final pages. The young Ya-Yas are cool. Their families are interesting throughout their lives. But the four aging ladies with their still indomitable spirits are what made me such a fan in the first place. I want to spend more time with them.