Sunday, September 27, 2009

Willow: Julia Hoban

SUMMARY (Courtesy of

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.


Overall, not too bad. Sometimes I felt like things moved way too quickly and were disjointed between scenes but Willow's internal struggle and reasonings were well crafted. Its a hard topic and not easily broached but I thought it was done with taste here. It not only showed the effect cutting has on the person doing it and the psychological need for it- as well as the inability to properly explain it and the knowledge that until you are in that dissociated state of mind, it makes no sense- but also the way it effects others. The ending in my opinion was bitter sweet and I really liked the closing line although I felt there wasn't a full sense of closure.

This is one of those books that is mental more than anything which I did like. The writing pulled me in, making me feel what Willow did and I didn't find it repetitive or boring though I know a lot of mental stories tend to do that to readers.

There were a few scenes that were just outright powerful that will stick with me because of the way they were written, the content of them, and their role in the story. Watching Willow grow, both through herself and by interactions with others was moving and I really think this book should be read by any kind of teacher or educator- the cutting content is something many do not understand but it will show how to be helpful and compassionate towards the person rather than judgmental. It isn't just about recognizing the signs of a cutter- it is also about how to approach them and how to help them get past it. Understanding their need and reliance for cutting is the biggest part of the battle and I think this book, whether intentionally or not, will help people to do that.

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