Earlier this year I had the opportunity to read and review Willow
. This is a story about a girl who feels that she is to blame for her parent's death. The way Willow deals with her emotions is to cut herself. Beautifully written and executed, this book is one of the BEST YA novels out there. I have had the chance to get to know Julia via emails that we've exchanged and interviewing
her for my blog. I missed out on an opportunity to meet her a few weeks ago in Grand Rapids due to my son's football schedule!!! One of the main reasons I wanted to meet her was to see what she looked like!! Well, she's posted a Love Letter to Book Bloggers that has her gorgeous face on it!! and I'm totally over-the-moon to see my name within her letter!! I would like to share her letter with you today and to let fellow bloggers know that authors do read our words, are truly thankful for the time we invest in our book reviews, and know that we have a powerful forum going on out in book blogging land!!
When BookTrib ap
proached me last week asking me to write a post expressing my thanks to, and admiration for, the many bloggers I have gotten to know this past year, I jumped at the chance. After all, I owe them all a debt of gratitude that I can never repay.
Surely writing an extended thank you note is little enough recompense for all that they have done for my book, WILLOW.
So I sat down to write, full of excitement, extravagant phrases rich with praise dancing in my head … and then I froze. How could I possibly express my feelings towards this extraordinary group of young women? Anything I could say would sound so trite and insincere, hardly an appropriate thank you for all that they have done. Because of them, WILLOW, an underdog of a book if ever there was one, has succeeded beyond my wildest dreams. Surely a book about a cutter who falls in love while discussing Claude Levi-Strauss was most unlikely to capture the imaginations of many, and yet, through the efforts of the bloggers, WILLOW is reaching a greater audience than I ever thought possible.
And then it hit me. WILLOW is not really a book about a cutter so much as it is a book about relationships. It is about four relationships specifically: Willow’s fractured relationship with her dead parents, and her living brother, her relationship with Guy which allows her to heal those damaged relationships, and her relationship with books which allows her to connect with Guy and start the healing process in motion. In fact, the love of books is really a meta theme of WILLOW, one that informs every aspect of the novel. For Willow, a life without books is simply one not worth living. Without this love of books, Willow as a character would never be able to overcome her situation, and WILLOW as a book would simply not exist.
How magical then, how synchronistic, how RIGHT it is that WILLOW’S success is through the efforts, energy, and commitment of other young women whose life is about the love of books! It is truly extraordinary, and yet, upon reflection, I don’t think any other path for WILLOW in the world was possible, certainly none would have meant so much to me personally.
It would be impossible for me to mention all the wonderful bloggers who have helped speed WILLOW on her way. They are far, far, too many to mention, but I do hope that by singling out a few I am able to capture the spirit of that amazing community. To my darling Kristi of The Story Siren, the kindest person I know, to the amazing Lauren Becker of Shooting Stars Magazine, who started it all. To Kelsey of Just Blinded Book Reviews who always makes sure that WILLOW has some new book friends. To Staci of Life In The Thumb, who not only championed my book, but in her daily life as a librarian fights to find an audience for work that might otherwise go unnoticed. To Shesten of I Heart Monster, who introduced WILLOW to the west. To Tirzah of The Compulsive Reader who made such a wonderful trailer for WILLOW, to the wonderful Miss Swiggett of The Page Flipper (who has her own book coming out soon!) To Harmony of Harmony Book Reviews who continually surprises me with her generosity, to Erica, and Beth Fish both of whom I am just getting to know, to Alea of PopCultureJunkie whom I am privileged to call a friend both in and out of the blogosphere, and to the countless others whom I am so in awe of, I won’t say thank you, but I will say that I hope that your new year is blessed with just such magical outcomes!!