Friday, May 8, 2009

REVIEW: Willow by Julia Hoban

Willow coverGenre: Fiction, Young Adult
Pub Date: April 2009, Penguin Group
Format: Hardcover, 336 pages
Source/FTC Disclosure: I purchased my copy of this book. I was in no way compensated for this review and my opinions are my own.
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.


This was another book that has been receiving so many positive, glowing reviews, one almost has to approach reading it with a healthy amount of skepticism. For me, the skepticism was gone just a few pages into the book and I was swept into the story without ever looking back. I read this book in one sitting this past Sunday, pausing only to grab some dinner, which I ate while reading. I have never read a book about cutting or cutters, nor do I know any cutters in my personal life, so I was not expecting to feel so much connection to the story or the characters. In fact, I originally didn't think I wanted to read this book because I wasn't sure I cared to read about this subject matter. Little did I know...

Julia Hoban's writing doesn't let you stay disconnected from the story--nor do her characters. Honestly, this book is just as amazing as the other reviews out there have portrayed it to be. The story is beautifully written and I found myself tearful (and even laughing at times) on several occasions. One of my favorite scenes (minor SPOILER ALERT--sorry!) is after Guy gives Willow his phone number, asking her to call him if she is getting ready to cut herself again. Although she never thought she would, after a particularly upsetting event with her brother, Willow calls him, unable to speak at all. But Guy knows it's her and simply stays on the line and lets her know that he's there. Guy is a big sweetheart, and while I find it hard to believe there really is a teenage guy (sorry) like him out there, you can't help but love him even if he seems a bit too good to be true.

Willow really is a powerful, moving story and I'm so glad I stepped out of my normal comfort zone to read this book.

5 stars

Other reviews of Willow:


  1. I don't know about this one. Doesn't seem like something I would like, but because of your great review I might check it out.

  2. Hi,

    Thanks for stopping by my blog. This book looks fantastic -- thanks for the great review.

  3. This looks really good.

    BTW I LOVE the look of your blog!

  4. Wonderful, emotional review. I'd love to read this one!

  5. This does sound like a really powerful story. I've heard lots of positive reviews on it. Nice review Melissa.

  6. Great review Melissa! I have my copy of Willow waiting to be read and I can't wait to get started =D

  7. I have just recently seen reviews of this. I think I am going to have to add it to the list! It looks really good. :)

  8. Couldn't agree with you more, thanks for adding my review to your list.
    Even though I shed tears over some scenes in the book, it was not a depressing read at all.


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