Customer Reviews for

Willow

Average Rating 4.5
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(485)

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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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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 21, 2009

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

    Willow<BR/>By Julia Hoban<BR/>Pub. Date: April 2009<BR/>5 out of 5 stars<BR/>PG-13 Sexual Content, Sensuality, Brief Profanity, and Violence (cutting)<BR/>Recommended<BR/><BR/>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?<BR/><BR/>Willow was a powerful book that was entirely phenomenal at expressing the perspective of a teenage cutter.<BR/><BR/>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.<BR/><BR/>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.<BR/><BR/>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.<BR/><BR/>Willow could be looked at as a book of pain, but more accurately a book of healing. <BR/><BR/>I recommend this book, but because of its disturbing topic I suggest it be read by older teen readers.<BR/><BR/>Date Reviewed: January 20th, 2009<BR/><BR/>For more book reviews and book information check out my blog at www.inthecurrent.blogspot.com

    29 out of 29 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 8, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Willow by Julia Hoban

    Seven months after the accident that took Willow's parents lives, Willow is no longer suffering emotional pain but physical pain by secretly cutting herself. She is living with her older brother and has left behind everything that was part of her old life to survive her new one. But when she meets Guy, she has to ask herself how. How she could possibly give up her razors when they're the only thing holding her together.
    I think I related to Willow so well not because I cut, but because I have a friend who used to, and I know how it can affect you; I understood how Guy felt. I know a lot of people say they don't believe someone could really be that good, be that nice to a complete stranger, but I like to believe that just meeting the right person can help you out of whatever you are in.
    Would I Recommend this Book? Yes.

    21 out of 21 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 17, 2011

    I Also Recommend:

    Very good read

    The book is definitely a must read. Hard to put down

    13 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 13, 2010

    You Must Read "Willow"!!

    I just finished reading Willow and that was the BEST book that i have ever read in my entire life(so far)!! Willow is a perfect book for people who love intense romance. At some parts of the book I found myself crying! Julia Hoban uses present tence in this book that made me actualy feel zoned out and I could see a movie playing out in my mind. This book is amazing and you have to read it!! Willow is about a teenager girl who killed her parents in a car accident, because she was driving them home from them drinking 2 much at dinner. Willow survived the car crash and has to live with the guilt of "murdering" her parents. She faids that pain/guilt down by cutting herslef. Her fore-arms,legs,even her stomache. Then, she meets Guy, a boy that is sensative and tries to help her over come her love to razors. If you want to know more...you have to read the book! :)

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 27, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Going In My Top Favorites

    I absolutely loved this book. The story was something to think about. This girl is coping with the loss of her parents and she feels like she is the one who murdered them. She is struggling through these new feelings and torment she puts herself under , and through all of this, Guy is able to help her. He is an amazing character, and I think he is my favorite in this book. I don't think that there was one boring part in this book;everything had me wanting to read just one more chapter. For me, the characters were refreshing. And this story was amazing.

    6 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 29, 2014

    I Also Recommend:

    I don't want to talk too much about the plot itself because I th

    I don't want to talk too much about the plot itself because I think this is one that's best discovered as you read, as you let it reveal itself to you. Reading Willow was definitely one of the most enjoyable reading experiences I've had in a long time. Every time I had to put the book down I daydreamed of picking it back up and re-joining Willow's world. The characters in Willow are real people with complex emotions and personalities. So many books are just full of stereotypes but Willow is full of character's so lifelike it's hard to believe they aren't actual people. I also really love the world that the author has created for these characters. I couldn't help wishing that I was one of the people hanging out in the library that Willow worked at or enjoying the park or a walk through the city. I wanted to be there in that world. To say that it was spectacular would be an understatement. To say that I had a hard time putting it down, widely understated! Yet, why? Because in all seriousness, reading a story about a `cutter' didn't really appeal to me. However, the book was well written with very engaging characters. There was humor, there were parts where I had to close the book and cry, and there were parts that were so subtly triumphant that I cheered. All types can appreciate this book, which should become a classic of teen literature. Having read this book from cover to cover in one sitting showed just how good it was.    

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 22, 2010

    AWESOME!!!

    okay so im a cry baby so everytime i read this book i cry but willow is a very strong and powerful book i really really want there to be a sequel but anywayz i read this book in like a day wen i got done i read all of my fav partz in it again i think this book can appeal to all genderz it iz romantic but it izn lovey dubey every second of the book like some bookz are i reacomend this to anyone who likez romantic and powerful bookz im not saying i think about cutting myself but this book really helped me i also recomend this book to anyone who feelz like they dont fit in or belong this book will help get you through it BYE!!!! ~~smoochez~~

    5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 20, 2012

    Made me....feel

    What i look for in abook if for it to give real emotion not just words on a page and thats what i felt. Also this book teaches a bunch and is real touching i wish there was more.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 14, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Absolutely Amazing

    I picked this book up by chance (usually I like science-fiction and classics), and when I started reading it, I couldn't put it down. Cliche`, I know, but it's true. I read straight through it.

    Willow had a happy life before her parents died. She had it hard back then- or at least she thought. Back then, the worst thing she could think of happening was for her parents to pull out her baby pictures in front of a boyfriend. Now she just wishes they would- if only they'd come back.

    To escape from feeling the pain of losing both of her parents- with her behind the wheel, no less- she cut herself. She prefers razors. But she meets a boy named Guy... a person who walks into her life unsuspecting, thinking Willow was just an interesting and sad girl. But she came with her huge package, her burdens, her self-mutilation.

    This book-- I'd recommend it for any teenager, whether they have problems or not. If they cut- this is great inspiration. If they don't- they may get ideas from it. About if and when they walk into a cutters life, that they don't flinch. Just be there for them.

    FIVE STARS, DEFINITELY.
    -rated by a fourteen yr. old.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 26, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    One of the best books I have read!

    I bought this book yesterday, and started reading as soon as I got home. I read until 3am because I couldn't put it down! I finished it in about 5 hours! It was amazing! I can relate to Willow because my father died and I feel responsible, and I also cut. I loved how their was a love story mixed in with it. The book was so real and relatable. I'm sure I will be reading it again! AMAZING!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 31, 2010

    Best Book EVER!

    This book was absolutely amazing. When reading it, if I replaced Willow's cutting with burning, then it's the story of my life. Every single emotion and thought that she felt I could relate to. Because of this book, where Willow tries to look at her cuts and scars the way Guy would see them, because to her they don't look bad, I asked an adult to help me overcome my addiction to self-harm as a way to deal with my emotional pain, and am now on a process to healing. THANK YOU JULIA HOBAN. This book is INCREDIBLE.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 31, 2010

    Breathtaking

    I couldn't set this book down when I took it on a road trip.
    My friend had read it and said it was good, but we were never into the same books. I picked it up out of boredom and curiosity, and was amazed. It lets you in on a girl's struggle with life in a whole new way I would have never looked at it. It was breathtaking, and definitely worth the read, even a reread. It's a new type of novel with a strange romance added in it like I've never seen before. You won't regret buying this book.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 28, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    BEST BOOK I HAVE EVER READ

    this was the best book ever. i could not put it down at all. i was hooked on the first page. Hoban did a really good job i dont even know how to describe it. i will be reading this book again very soon because i love it so much.

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 2, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Willow

    What an amazing book, I'll say.
    About the struggles through a teenagers life who had problems of her own and how she handles them. The characters are enriching and even easy to relate to on some references at times, but what is for sure is that this is a fun and unforgettable read. The struggles Willow goes through is as if she's taking you along with her, letting you in on her insights. Highly recommended.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 19, 2010

    Amazing!!

    This Book was sooo good, i can't even believe how good. I was scared i wouldn't like it but boy was i wrong. It was so emotional and so well written and thought out. I wish i could find a guy like Guy, he was so amazing, and what willow was going through and how she felt and her brother david felt. I can't even describe how good it was, but you definately need to read it. The end was great, my only complain is that it wasn't long enough!!!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 4, 2010

    Amazing

    a must read book for all teens!

    2 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 7, 2015

    Beautiful story.

    This is by far my favorite book. Everything about it is just perfect.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 7, 2012

    I Also Recommend:

    Fabulous, gave a great message to teens.

    Fabulous, gave a great message to teens.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 25, 2012

    Breathtaking

    It is really hard to put in words how much I like this book and why and what I liked about Willow. One of the first things I liked right off the bat was the cover. At first, I didn't look closely but once I did you could tell it was really imaginative and it represented the novel really nicely. You could tell the cover is a picture of Willow, the main character, cut up (double meaning) and then trying to be put back together, which is what Willow ends up slowly doing with Guy, a boy she meets at the university library where she works at. I also like how this book was written and Hoban's writing style. Written in third person, the book is really eye opening and the way Hoban writes the book gives of raw, deep emotions. This book really shows the emotional turmoil people can experience when a loved one dies and how that effects those around you and yourself. The issue in this book is actually a possibility that a lot of kids and young adults do or think about doing, especially if your in the situation Willow is when her parents die. Throughout this book, Willow herself really develops and grows as a character, and so does Guy once he becomes involved with Willow's life. While this novel does have a complex plot the novel still flows well. The one thing I really like is that while Guy discovers Willow as a cutter, he does not try to immediatley change Willow. The problem does not come with an immediate solution, which is what would exactly happen in real life. Willow does not have the perfect fairytale ending everyone experiences in some examples, such as the Barbie Movies, and that is what I think I like the most about this book becuase it is realistic. It is not a book where you will find this horrible conflict and then Guy comes along and then, just like that-problem solved! I definitley reccommend this book. I only give 5 stars to a book if it changes my perspectice on something, and this is a perfect example of a book that did. Read this now, you will not regret it. And you might be a little more thankful for what you have, whether it is a goldfish or your grandparents.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 16, 2012

    A must read

    So much emotion!
    I wanted it to go on forever!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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