Thursday

Willow by Julia Hoban

On a stormy night, Willow takes the wheel and her whole life is forever changed. Both her parents are killed in the accident and Willow has to move in with her older brother, his wife and their young daughter. She feels the weight of the world is on her shoulders - she's emotionally overwrought, heavily grieving and feels guilt towards her part in the accident. To top it off, she also feels that her brother secretly blames her for their parents’ death and no longer loves her.

She finds that the only way to relieve herself when her emotions just become too much is to "cut" herself with a razor. But she is eventually found out by a classmate named Guy. Although Guy promises not to tell on her - he also can't just walk away from her. Instead he tries to get closer to her to find out what leads a person to hurt themself in such a way and to try to help her out of the dark place she's in.

This is the first time that I read about "cutting" in such detail and although a bit on the descriptive side, it was not overdone or gory. On the other hand, Willow's pain is so real that you can actually understand why she would feel the urge to cut herself... even if you don't actually agree with it, you almost feel as if it is acceptable. It's as if her pain will consume her if she does not find an outlet to let it out. From the moment you start reading this book you become so emotionally attached to these characters (i.e. Willow; her brother, David; Guy) that you fly through the pages just to see what happens. If they can forgive each other? If they can forgive themselves?

The book is written in the third person, and I really commend Ms. Hoban for having written it this way. It somewhat gives you a detached feeling but at the same time you feel as if you are looking at Willow and Guy from above. Catching a glimpse into a painful part of a young woman's life.

This novel is not just about cutting - it is about love, hope and forgiveness. Although it touches on such a heavy subject, it is not overwhelming, instead it is told in a very unique and graceful voice.

Willow is a beautiful story, compellingly told and is by far one of the best YA novels I've read in quite some time. It is a very powerful piece that I highly recommend to older teens as well as adults.

11 comments:

bermudaonion said...

I loved this book too! Willow and Guy were both such great characters.

A Bookshelf Monstrosity said...

Thanks for the post. Willow sounds like a wonderful read. It's on my wishlist :)

Michelle said...

This is a fantastic book. I really enjoyed it. :)

Crystal said...

I have been wanting to read this one. It sounds really amazing.

Jessica (BookLover) said...

This is another book I've been meaning to read. I'm so glad I read your review. Now I wish I had it in my hands. :)

Juju at Tales of Whimsy.com said...

Great review. Sounds like a heavy but interesting read.

Natalie W said...

This ones been on my must read list. Sounds like a great book!

Alexia561 said...

Great review! Have heard nothing but good things about this book, but still haven't made up my mind if I'm going to read it or not. High School was painful enough the first time around!

Kailana said...

I really liked this book! She did a wonderful job on it. :)

Beth F said...

This was one of my top reads for the year.

Bunny B said...

I've read so many great reviews on this! Gonna have to get a copy soon :)

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