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Willow

Average Rating 4.5
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(36)

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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 41 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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  • Posted March 21, 2012

    A well executed story.

    I read Willow several months ago and kept putting off the review because I had mixed feelings about sharing my thoughts. I can identify with the main character, Willow, who is a cutter. Inflicting physical pain on yourself gives you an emotional pain release. It's something you have control over. In Willow's case it's the only thing she has control over. Willow stumbles upon Guy and through his relationship with her she learns to accept who she was and who she has become. This is a truly emotional story, but not for everyone. I admire Julia's ability to make you feel the pain of the razor as Willow cuts herself and makes you want to reach through the pages and comfort her. A well executed story.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 6, 2012

    An emotionally honest book:

    Willow is a powerful, moving story. One of the most gut-wrenchingly sad, yet heart warmingly beautiful books I have read. Julia Hoban's writing didn't let you say dissconneced from the story nor do her characters. I found my heart breaking as I saw the relationshio between Willow and her brother David blossom within the coming pages. I went from hated David with his actions and agreeing with Willow to awing at everything David did or said. I hated that in the end you were left hanging in not knowing if they really were on good terms now. But I did know that they probably never would be. The ending was good. Julia didn't fast forward through years to show how things have changed or how the issues had been resolved but she did give the reader a glimpse of light that Willow was taking a sep in the right direction. With that, this book was raw and real. It was a true account of the feelings a teenager goes through, and what action a family must goes though to recover, Willow by Julia Hoban is a great book.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 6, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Nothing special.

    After reading about three pages of review on how good this book is, I still don't understand what's so wonderful about it. It was written very mediocrely. First off, Willow was the typical cliche, overdramatic girl who falls in love with a boy too perfect to really exists. I felt no strong connection to any of the characters. It could have been better if it was in first person and you could understand what Willow was thinking, until waiting for the last couple of pages to understand. The transitions where HORRIBLE! One second she's in the park and the next she is on another day making her way to her old house. I'd like to really just jump in the book and kick Willow for being so selfish, redundant, and irksome.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 21, 2013

    Hey

    One of the best books ive ever read. Anyone on?

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  • Posted February 2, 2013

    This book was OK and there's one main reason for that. I felt th

    This book was OK
    and there's one main reason for that. I felt that Guy was totally insensitive and out of line. I remember reading one part where he talks about being annoyed with having to keep this secret.  That infuriated me.  Oh, sorry having to keep someone's self-harm secrets is SUCH a BURDEN to you, Guy. Ugh. He did nothing, too.  He didn't help Willow in any way.  Other than those instances with Guy (which were constant) I really liked the plot and the Willow's character. I was just so annoyed and appalled by Guy's reaction and non-actions that it ruined the rest of the book for me.

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  • Posted September 5, 2012

    It was ok it did get kinda boring and there is sex in it to warn

    It was ok it did get kinda boring and there is sex in it to warn anyone who dose not like reading that kinda stuff and i feel its not really appropriate for teens.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 19, 2011

    Depends on what you're interested in

    Willow is very well written, I can't deny that. The author knows how to grab your attention and keep you reading. You WANT to know what happens next. The plot was alright, though a bit too predictable. A typical damsel in distress and her shining knight comeing too save her, though the author keeps the book flowing. I loved the way the author puts the reader in the main characters mind as she goes through her transformation as a person. However, i do have a problem with the characters themselves. I felt the main character was a bit too closed minded, paranoid, and a little unbelievable at times. I couldn't connect with her in any way whatsoever. The "friend" she soon falls in love with is a bit to unrealistic as well, being not only cute but is kind and gentle and pretty much clueless. This book is not for everyone though. If you don't like blood, depression, of the cutting of body parts DON'T read this book.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 9, 2011

    Good read.

    I loved the book! But, there are a few tings I didn't liked about it. For one it focuses on the fact that she gave up cutting for Guy and that she wouldn't have done that by herself. I from experience know that it can be done with out the knight in shining armor to save you. Other than that I loved the book.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 1, 2011

    interesting topic......

    cutting..... its a discusting habit for freaks who cant keep their emotions in check. oh and the book was good.

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 23, 2011

    It had it's ups and downs.

    This book was both good and bad for me. It the beginning it was good and it had me laughing (in parts I'm not sure i was suppose to). The ending is what got me, it didn't completely confirm that she was going to stop. I didn't like that there was that chance that she might go back. Other than that it's a good enough book to read.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 22, 2010

    Willow Is The Girl Next Door

    I started this book not knowing what it was about and then BOOM! It was clever and good at disguising the problem Willow has. I wanted to jump into the book and slap her but then the boyfriend does it for me. I'm 22 and I still blushed when they had sex. It was definitly a realiztic veiw of "um do you have...uh..you know" Great

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted December 21, 2010

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