Friday, May 29, 2009

Important Book- A Must Read for 2009! Willow by Julia Hoban

by Julia Hoban
Published: 2009
Genre: YA
352 painful, gritty, raw, and very real pages

Synopsis 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.

My Thoughts:

Willow is going to be one of those books that you will talk about for days, even weeks later, after you finish it. There's no sugar-coating or glossing over the harsh reality of Willow's destructive behavior. And I think that's why I was so drawn into the story. I couldn't for the life of me understand why someone would want to hurt themselves in order to feel better. Crazy huh? Hoban does this though, she make you, the read, understand what is going on with Willow and why she chooses self-mutilation as the way she deals with her feelings. I'm sure a lot of parents will shy away from the topic of this book. Some may even feel that their teen shouldn't read this because it might make them want to "cut" themselves. People, that's just plain silly!!! I had to fight to keep Cut by Patricia McCormick, on my middle school shelves. I fought for it because I know of students who do this behavior or have friends that engage in cutting. Reading about it does not make someone do those actions. Instead, it educates that person and helps them to understand that they need to find a different way to express their hurt, anger, and repressed feelings. Willow takes Cut to the next level and really gets into the psyche of a young person who is overwhelmed with guilt, grief, and other unspoken feelings. Yes, it is gritty and painful, but it is so important for you, the reader, to complete this journey with Willow. To see that in the end she does reach out for help, but to get there is hard, oh so hard. For me, this book will put a spotlight on a subject that no one really wants to acknowledge--CUTTING. This is the book that will be the turning point to starting conversations with other teens, teens talking to their parents, parents talking to their teens, and even teens reaching out to a trusted individual for help. To me, Willow will be ranked right up there with the classic, Speak, and ten years from now, we'll still be talking about it, passing along copies to someone, and heralding the brave writing that Julia Hoban has accomplished.

Interested in hearing from the author herself?

Come back tomorrow when I host a Q&A with Julia. I sent her 9 questions which she so graciously answered and I will highlight 5 of those questions on Saturday. Sunday I will feature the remaing 4 and because I BELIEVE in this book so much I'm buying a copy to offer as a giveaway.

Giveaway Rules:
  • All comments from the 3 posts will be entered for the book drawing.
  • I'm opening it up for international.
  • Please just make sure that I have a way to contact you if you win!!
  • If not, I'll draw again.
  • Last day to enter will be Friday, June 5th at 10:00 pm est.

Other Reviews:
Presenting Lenore
Look at that Book


  1. Absolutely amazing review, Staci! I'd love to be entered for the giveaway, but even if I don't win I have a feeling I'll be getting myself a copy before long.

  2. Thanks for highlighting this book. I was looking around in the Non-fiction YA section and I was amazing at the number of books on such disturbing subject matters. Its easy to forget how much pain children/teenagers can be in. I'm glad that there is fiction and non-fiction to help out.

  3. Great review Staci. I will be reading this important book. Cutting is not just a young persons issue, I have a friend that struggles with this behavior.

    Looking forward to your interview.

  4. Wowwwwwwwwww....this book sounds AMAZING!!!!! LOVEEEEEEEEEEEE that U are hosting a Q&A with the author too!!! That's WONDERFUL...will be around to catch that! :):):):):):):):):):):):)

  5. Great review, and yes it sure sounds like one of those books you will continue talking about, and truly should talk about.

    Giveaway, yes please :)

  6. Great review Stacy! I have heard so much about this book. I have emailed back and forth a bit with Julia, and she is a sweetie. I'm looking forward to your interview. Is this your first?

    Please enter me also please:)

  7. Yes, Jenny Girl it is my first and I'm really excited about it!

  8. Thanks for highlighting this book. I can't wait to see the author interview. I know an adult who cuts herself, so I'd love to know more about this topic.

    Please enter me!

    jgbeads AT gmail DOT com

  9. I have been wanting to read this and would love to win a copy! Thanks for the great review and giveaway. I will be back to hear from the author.

    shelcows AT gmail DOT com

  10. Count me in! This book sounds really good! If I don't win I will have to see if the library will buy it!

  11. I want to read this book so bad! Every review I've seen so far was really good, and I love when an author decides not to sugarcoat difficult issues! I'll definitely be looking again for the interviews!

    I can be join at :
    infiniteshelf at gmail dot com

  12. I love your intensity and honesty in your reviews, especially this one! Your students in the school library are so lucky to have your passion for the books that are on the shelves!

    This sounds like a powerful and painful book. I am finding myself drawn to YA books lately as there are amazing books being written and my son will be soon at the tween stage. I can understand the concern from some that kids will get ideas from these books but if it's reality it will help them understand this issue. I think that it's so important to also know what your child is reading so that you can discuss it with them. As other commenters have said here, this seems to be an issue affecting adults as well.

    Thanks for this giveaway, please add my name to the drawing!

    Looking forward to reading the author interview!!

  13. Your review was great. It's so important to keep books with such socially and psychologicaly relevant topics available for teens to read. I am proud of you for fighting for your beliefs.
    Love to be entered in this giveaway.

    waitmantwillie AT hotmail DOT com

  14. Great review! Sounds like a wonderful book.

  15. I agree that this is such an important topic for kids to read about, cutting seems to be on the rise. I have Cut on my library shelf waiting to be read, and look forward to reading this one at some point, too. Thanks for the review.

  16. Don't enter me in your giveaway, I just wanted to say that I'm in the middle of reading Willow right now, and I too, believe that it is an important novel with important themes that everyone, not just young people, should read.

  17. This one has been on my radar for awhile now. Glad to hear that you enjoyed it so much! I'll definitely be picking this one up :)

  18. A wonderful heartfelt review. This is on my reading list for the YA challenge and I'd love to win it but I'll be getting it regardless!

  19. Don't enter me. I had to order this book because none of our local bookstores (there are 5) ordered it. Can you believe that? I'm really looking forward to reading it.


Hello Friends!! I want to take this moment to say thank you. Thank you for taking the time to visit my blog and thank you for leaving me a comment.

* Because of the excessive spam I have decided not to allow anonymous users to comment.

Happy Reading!