Friday, June 5, 2009

Book Inspection: Willow by Julia Hoban

Plot Sketch: Willow was out to dinner with her parents one night, both of whom were antrhopology professors. They had a little too much to drink and asked their sixteen-year-old to drive them home. She agreed, but didn't anticipate how difficult it would be in the torrential rain. She lost control of her vehicle and her parents died. In the aftermath of this trauma, Willow has moved in with her older brother, his wife, and their baby. She is going to a new school. She's lost contact with all of her old friends because she feels there is no way they could possibly understand her. She's burying her emotions and has turned to cutting to stifle them. That's working out just fine for her until she meets Guy. Guy is in to her, but not her cutting. This is their story.

Verdict: I Heart It!! Julia Hoban weaves an ultimately uplifting story out of dark and depressing content. Willow is powerful and moving and special and amazing. Not only did I relate to Willow, I felt like I understood her pain. I had to deliberately make myself take breaks to eat. While I was eating, I couldn't help but want to read more. I kept reading not because I felt a need to help Willow through her pain, but because I was intrigued by her journey of restitution and allowing herself to be whole again. Willow is important not only for teens, but adults also. The content is on the more mature side, and should definitely be discussed with a parent, even if you're an adult. I mean, I discussed it with my mom, and I'm 27. No matter what your age, Willow will make an impression. I don't think many people have the talent to write a gripping novel about this type of subject matter. Well done, Julia. I recommend adding it to your library and plan to keep my copy for if/when I have a teenaged daughter of my own.

Regarding the cover, some people have said that it doesn't fit the book. I really disagree. I think the cover is the perfect graphical metaphor for Willow's story.

The Gauntlet:

At what location does most of the story take place?
I don't know where! It takes place mostly in a University town near a river.

What is the main character's name?
Willow Randall

Does I Heart Monster like the main character?
I can't help but like her. I relate to her on many levels. I empathize with her. I admire her strength.

How long did it take I Heart Monster to finish the book?
1 day

Did I Heart Monster get stuck at any points in the book? If so, why?
Not at all.

Is this a good read for Monster?
Not for Monster, but it might be a good read for some men, especially if they're interested in the psychology of teen girls when coping.

What, if anything, would I Heart Monster change to make the book more interesting?
There was some strong language that I didn't appreciate, but understand why it was used. The situations were meant to be serious and forceful, but I wish the language would have been cleaner.

What was I Heart Monster's favorite line?
"What's the weather like in Kuala Lumpur?"

How many chapters were in the book?
16, and at times they were a little long.


Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: Dial
Publish Date: April 2, 2009
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0803733569

Acquire It:



Staci at Life in the Thumb has a contest going on to win a copy of Willow. Comment on the interview for an entry. Hurry it ends today. Part 1 Part 2

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