Willow by Julia Hoban
Paperback: 336 pages
Available: February 23, 2010
Genre: Young Adult
Book received from: Meryl L. Moss Media Relations, Inc.
Seven months ago, on a rainy March night, sixteen year- old Willow’s parents died in a horrible car accident. Willow was driving. Now her older brother barely speaks to her, her new classmates know her as the killer orphan girl, and Willow is blocking the pain by secretly cutting herself. But when one boy—one sensitive, soulful boy—discovers Willow’s secret, it sparks an intense relationship that turns the “safe” world Willow has created for herself upside down.
Told in an extraordinary fresh voice, Willow is an unforgettable novel about one girl’s struggle to cope with tragedy, and one boy’s refusal to give up on her.
Cutting is sensitive subject for me, having dealt with this issue with someone very close to me. Knowing just how devastating it is to both the person cutting and those that love them, I will admit I was a little nervous when I first began to read. However it soon became apparent that Julia Hoban not only understands the issues that surround this topic but she also treats the subject with care and sensitivity.
17 year old Willow feels responsible for her parents death. She was the driver of the car in a horrible crash and both of her parents were killed. She withdraws from life, becomes estranged from her older brother—believing that he blames her for their parents death—and sinks deep into depression. At a loss for how to cope with her overwhelming grief and guilt she becomes emotionally numb, and eventually turns to the one thing she feels she can control. She cuts herself.
When Willow meets Guy, he becomes a friend who listens without trying to fix her. Although he wants to take her pain, he recognizes that Willow must be the one to work through what torments her and she can only do that for herself. He simply gives his support, doesn’t judge her, and eventually offers his heart. But the most important thing he does for her is listen, allow her to learn to trust, and eventually love.
Willow is an emotional and powerful story taking the reader on a journey through self destruction and demonstrating the redemptive power of love. Cutting is a painful and uncomfortable subject but Ms. Hoban masterfully tells a story that will perhaps disturb you at times, but will leave you with a feeling of hope.
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Check back tomorrow for a question and answer session with Julia Hoban and a giveaway.