Saturday, October 23, 2010

Willow by Julia Hoban

I first heard about Willow from this website after I read If I Stay I love these books. They are so well written, the characters are so real and deal with issues that touch kids today.

Willow is a seventeen year old who is trying to cope with the death of her parents- a death she feels she caused. Willow is now living with her brother and his wife and baby, but things with them are difficult too. She has been taken away from everything she knows- her school, her family, her friends. The only way Willow has to deal with her pain is to cut herself with razors. This is the only thing that makes her feel better.
Then, Willow meets Guy, a boy who cares enough to learn about Willow and who really wants to make things better for her. But, Guy cannot understand why Willow feels the need to cut herself and he finds it very challenging to deal with all of her emotional needs.

This story tells the journey of Willow and her healing to not forget the past, but to be able to live with the past. Willow's voice was so strong and compelling. The author Julia Hoban seems to really understand why some people feel the need to hurt themselves. The other characters around Willow are also very true and believable.

This would be a great book to pair with Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson. Although there was one scene that has some sexual references, I think it is a book appropriate for grade 7 and up.

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