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Book Review: Willow by Julia Hoban

by Briana on March 31, 2009 · 26 comments

Since I’ve started blogging, I haven’t had much time for another one of my hobbies – reading. While, Willow is not a book I would have found on my own since it is targeted for young adults, I’m glad it was put in front of me. Once I started reading it, I could.not.put.it.down. It was a quick read for me but not an unemotional one.

Willow by Julia Hoban is about a 17 year old young woman who has recently lost both of her parents in a car accident. She is tormented by guilt and begins cutting herself to cope. Cutting is a disorder you rarely hear about and it was painful and sad to read about the cutting. A classmate named Guy discovers her secret and forces her to let someone “in.”

While the cutting was painful to read, it was more painful and raw to read about how Willow mistakenly believed her brother blamed her for her parent’s death. Again, this was another book I was bawling about when Willow said “She would never be anyone’s daughter again.” How she believed she would never be number one for anyone again like you are with your own parents.  One would believe the author had experienced the pain of losing a parent at a young age.

Living with her brother and his wife, Willow hides her self mutilating secret from her family but can not hide it from her classmate. After Guy discovers her secret, he refuses to allow Willow to self destruct. He is there for her when she needs it no matter how uncomfortable it makes him. Guy and Willow share a bond with their love of eccentric books and their love story is intertwined with the grief and guilt Willow feels about the loss of her parents.

One thing this book did leave me with was desiring more information about Guy. Not much about his story is told. Why is he compassionate beyond a normal teenager?

This book is written in third person, which is my preferred narrative for reading fiction. It is also a book beyond cutting. Really, anyone with any kind of self destructive behavior can see some of themselves in Willow.

I recommend this book to mature teenagers because of the graphic scenes of the cutting throughout the book. It is available April 2nd from Dial Books. I look forward to more books from Julia Hoban.

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