Willow by Julia Hoban

One last book read on my sister's nook. This is one I hadn't planned to read but she really insisted and I had to read it fast to get it done in time so she could have her e-reader back. This is the epitome of how our general reading preferences differ. I love epic fantasy and adventure, which she has read a few more than me oddly enough, but she really loves young adult and very sad books. This one is both YA and sad.

From Goodreads: 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.

It was a bit better than I expected and a nice break in that the novel isn't in first person. The novel does involve self-harm, as the description mentions and from the very beginning of the story. So, it may be hard for some people to read. It was even hard for me at some points but overall I handled it and I'm sure most would too.

Characters: Willow is the main character, obviously, and even in third person the story is told from her point of view only. She is very distant and the third person helps create that feeling. Normally, I say that third person isn't distancing but in this case, it had to be for the story. At times I didn't feel close enough to the main character but I had to keep reading to know what happens. The one I had the hardest time with, was the boy named Guy with his knight in shiny armor mentality. There are a few times where I didn't really believe his character and one time where I really didn't believe. It was like "really, you are going to say that is a way you can protect her, really?" I won't say what I'm referring to because I don't want to give anything away but if you read the novel I think you will see what I mean. Overall, though, the characters weren't too bad. Seeing them through Willow's eyes and then seeing how she wasn't quite right about her assessment's brought the story more to life.

Story: The story was a little slow in spots and I wondered where it was going to go because it wasn't quite obvious even though the end made total sense. It was emotional but also had some funny moments, which makes sense as well. When I studies Shakespeare, it was always the tragedies that had the most humor because tragedy and humor accentuate each other in story telling. I started to care for the main character, though it wasn't easy in the beginning, and how her relationships with others developed, especially with her brother. It is a tamer story if comparing to one with action and adventure, but it's an emotional journey.

Overall: It's a sad, distant book that is a decent read. I hadn't planned to read it but I am a little glad that I did listen to my sister. It's not my usual style but it's good to branch out from time to time.

Dawn's Verdict: 8/10



L'Aussie said...

Hi Dawn. So you persevered on the e-reader huh? I agree it's good to branch out and force yourself to read what you normally wouldn't. It sounds like this was totally worth it.


Dawn Embers said...

Denise - I made it through the e-reader usage. It wasn't bad, though I haven't lost my love for paperback. But I do need to maybe get an e-reader for myself. Mom might get me one some day but it will take some work on my part. Willow was a decent read, indeed.

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