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review: “willow” July 24, 2009

Posted by Katie in reviews.
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Willow by Julia Hoban.
Dial // Hardcover // 336 pages.
Reviewed from library copy.

I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to get through this book. This is such a hard subject to read about, and I have a queasy stomach. I shouldn’t have worried. Hoban’s writing and characterization make this a captivating read.

After a tragic car accident that kills both her parents, Willow moves into her brother David’s house. She blames herself for the car accident because she was the driver and has a hard time adjusting to her new life. Willow also has a secret — she cuts herself to deal with her pain. When a fellow student, Guy, finds out about it, Willow’s world will change all over again.

This book is well-written, and I expect that it will find places in a lot of teen libraries. I think it’s more believable than Patricia McCormick’s Cut, if only because the majority of teens who cut are undiscovered, the majority of teens who cut keep it a secret. Like Willow.

I was angry at Guy because he knew and he didn’t do anything about it. But then I think back to when I had friends who cut and that when I didn’t have the ability to do something about it, I just stayed and listened and tried to support them/tried to counsel them into stopping. My problem with Guy was my own anger at myself, at my 15-year-old self.

I think that the most powerful things that books can do are offer further insight into our own lives. I think that’s why this book was such a great read for me — because I could not only sympathize with Willow, but because I got so angry at Guy.

Other reasons to love this book definitely include Willow’s complex relationship with her brother David. I love books that handle sibling relationships realistically and I think this book was spot-on.

SWAN catalog




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