Willow by Julia Hoban
Posted April 13, 2009on:
Good If…You’re looking to read one of the best YA books out there.
Summary (taken from Amazon):
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.
You’ve been living under a rock if you haven’t heard about this yet. There’s a whole blog dedicated to it, a ginormous contest going on, and most bloggers have at least talked about it in one form or another, usually to gush about how much they love it. Let’s just say that I’ve already jumped on the bandwagon.
The characters in this were some of the most dimensional ones you’ll ever find. Not only did they each have their own personalities and quirks but their interactions and relationships with each other were incredible. By far, my favorite character was Guy, who is not only the most sensitive guy I’ve read about but also one of the most realistic. Everyone should aim to have someone as supportive and down-to-earth as him in their lives. The relationship Willow had with her brother was also a favorite part of this novel for me. I don’t have an older brother (or sister) so I’ve never been in a similar situation but to me, it just felt so natural and as I was reading, I kept hoping for a turning point in their relationship and when it finally happened, I felt it was perfect.
Cutting is, obviously, a main point of this novel but I don’t want that to sway anyone from reading this. Yes, it’s there, and yes, there’s some pretty intimate scenes where she does cut herself but the cutting could very easily be replaced with a number of other things (bingeing, purging, crying, and other methods of self-harm come to mind). This isn’t a story about “Oh, poor me. I lost my parents and now I cut myself.” It’s about loss, love, and how sometimes it takes a little push from a stranger to overcome your greatest fears.
Nothing else I say can ever come close to doing this book justice. It’s one of the best books I’ve ever read and by far the best book I’ve read since reviewing. I first read this around Christmas and it’s stuck with me so much that I’ve even reread it a few times. I really can’t think of anything I didn’t like in this (though the tense it’s written in did take some getting used to) and I’m recommending it to anyone and everyone. Put it this way – I’ve got the ARC but I’m still buying myself another copy so why shouldn’t you?