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Willow

Average Rating 4.5
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

29 out of 29 people found this review helpful.

A Powerful Book About A Teenage Cutter (Reviewed by TheBookworm)

Willow
By Julia Hoban
Pub. Date: April 2009
5 out of 5 stars
PG-13 Sexual Content, Sensuality, Brief Profanity, and Violence (cutting)
Recommended

Seven months after the accident that claimed Willow¿s parents lives, she is no longer sufferin...
Willow
By Julia Hoban
Pub. Date: April 2009
5 out of 5 stars
PG-13 Sexual Content, Sensuality, Brief Profanity, and Violence (cutting)
Recommended

Seven months after the accident that claimed Willow¿s parents lives, she is no longer suffering emotional pain. Instead, she is inflicting physical wounds upon her own body with the help of a razor. She knows it would cause her brother and his young family even more pain to learn of her secret cutting, so she keeps her scars hidden. But when a boy at her new school discovers her revolting addiction, her secret becomes at risk. He won¿t let her destroy herself. Maybe this guy, who seems just as sensitive as Willow, can save her from her lonely, guilt filled world of pain. As conflicting emotions battle, the pleasant numbing sensation of the blade is always at hand. How can Willow possibly stop cutting if it¿s the only thing holding her together?

Willow was a powerful book that was entirely phenomenal at expressing the perspective of a teenage cutter.

The main character, Willow, was a chaotically layered mess of colors. Her naked canvas of pain was hidden under many layers of conflicted feelings. She then misinterpreted feelings and words by twisting them to look like vile consequences of her killing her parents. She viewed everything this way because of her warped sense of guilt. The intensity of her guilt and hope were remarkable and extremely well wrought by the author. Willow was an extraordinarily real person.

This book was told in the form of third person (as in ¿he¿ ¿she¿ ¿it¿), yet the main character was somehow the narrator. The book¿s style was set up in tune with Willow emotionally and physically¿ from the outside looking in. Be it an accident or planned by the author, the book¿s set up in relation to the main character¿s views collaborate perfectly. This effectively made the book and characters all the more cogent.

One fact bothered me considerably though. How could Guy and Willow both get each other and understand each other¿s most intimate thoughts, but are somehow unable to say I love you? Willow admitted to loving Guy a few times in her thoughts but neither of them ever stated it out loud. When they had sex it made their relationship superficial. The moment when Willow finally breaks down and they both truly get each other would have been all the more pure, real, earnest, and beautiful if they would have simply said, ¿I love you¿ instead of having sex.

Willow could be looked at as a book of pain, but more accurately a book of healing.

I recommend this book, but because of its disturbing topic I suggest it be read by older teen readers.

Date Reviewed: January 20th, 2009

For more book reviews and book information check out my blog at www.inthecurrent.blogspot.com

posted by TeenageCritic on January 21, 2009

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Most Helpful Critical Review

11 out of 40 people found this review helpful.

Too Stereotypical For a Book About Self-Harm

I will admit, Willow did a fair job at explaining how people deal with grief and the loss of loved ones. But the fact that the narration screams "It's Not Willow's Fault!" over and over again outshone the other great themes that could have made the book better. Not that...
I will admit, Willow did a fair job at explaining how people deal with grief and the loss of loved ones. But the fact that the narration screams "It's Not Willow's Fault!" over and over again outshone the other great themes that could have made the book better. Not that conditions such as Willow's are to be blamed on them, but the whole book never once does Willow account for any of her self-destructive actions, and neither does the narrator.

Also Willow's condition was described in a very superficial way. "I cut so I can control the pain I feel," is an odd description for mutilating her body. The fact that Willow continuously referred to herself as a "Cutter" was also a put off. The name sort of glamorizes deliberate self-harm, which is stereotypical and slightly gross.

All in all, Willlow had great potential, yet in some areas it fell short. Willow's interaction with other people and her growth during the book was very good, but there were some glaring issues I had with it.

posted by Natalie_Elena on April 17, 2010

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 17, 2010

    Too Stereotypical For a Book About Self-Harm

    I will admit, Willow did a fair job at explaining how people deal with grief and the loss of loved ones. But the fact that the narration screams "It's Not Willow's Fault!" over and over again outshone the other great themes that could have made the book better. Not that conditions such as Willow's are to be blamed on them, but the whole book never once does Willow account for any of her self-destructive actions, and neither does the narrator.

    Also Willow's condition was described in a very superficial way. "I cut so I can control the pain I feel," is an odd description for mutilating her body. The fact that Willow continuously referred to herself as a "Cutter" was also a put off. The name sort of glamorizes deliberate self-harm, which is stereotypical and slightly gross.

    All in all, Willlow had great potential, yet in some areas it fell short. Willow's interaction with other people and her growth during the book was very good, but there were some glaring issues I had with it.

    11 out of 40 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 2, 2010

    Annoying in More than One Way

    Besides the third person present tense, which I've never seen done and found most annoying, there was one huge aspect of this book that bothered me: One of the characters found out about Willow's cutting, and DID NOTHING. He was oh-so-upset about it, of course, but he told no one and just advised Willow to stop. Highly unrealistic and troubling, for me as a reader. I waited for the plot to begin for over half the book, but all I got was Willow moping around and thinking about how much everyone hated her, how much of a freak she was, and so on. I can understand how losing your parents would be life-altering, but to write a book about it, something needs to happen. All that plus the cliche teen romance, and I would not recommend this book.

    3 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 8, 2011

    Not as good as it could have been

    I had high hopes for this book going by the overview and the reviews and both let me down. I wanted to like this book, I really did, but the more I read, the more I disliked it. The relationship between Willow and Guy seems off. It is never clear whether they're friends or not and then all of a sudden, they...well, I don't want to give it away for those that might want to read this anyway, but I just thought it was odd. I also didn't like how it ended. It was just too abrupt for me. I expected to turn to the next page and read more, but that didn't happen and I was left asking "That was it?" The author had a great theme going here, and the plot started off good, but somewhere along the line, it fell flat and didn't reach it's full potential.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 8, 2011

    Potential

    It was a good book with a nice but cliche plot. When I read it, it was just like I couldn't really feel how the character was feeling. I'm in a very similar situation but I think it would've made it better if it wasn't told from a narrator but from Willow's perspective. The book was okay, but the situations with her and Guy were pretty unrealistic in all. Most of the time you don't just meet someone and instantly see them everywhere you go. I liked the scenes with them talking, but what got me to start not really liking them is that Guy seems to have a sudden and very rude outburst during pretty much all of them about her cutting. And I don't think it's very realistic in almost any of the conversations. From someone who does cut, this book had a pretty poor perspective on the issues brought up.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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