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In the Middle of Nowhere (Willow's Journey #1)

In the Middle of Nowhere (Willow's Journey #1)

3.8 43
by Julie Ann Knudsen

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Butterflies. Little, fluttering butterflies. That's what fifteen-year-old Willow Flynn feels in the pit of her stomach every time the mysterious boy is near. But Willow has other things to contend with as she deals with the tragic loss of her father, as well as her emotionally preoccupied



Butterflies. Little, fluttering butterflies. That's what fifteen-year-old Willow Flynn feels in the pit of her stomach every time the mysterious boy is near. But Willow has other things to contend with as she deals with the tragic loss of her father, as well as her emotionally preoccupied mother, while being uprooted to a new house, a new school, a new life, far away, on an island, in the middle of nowhere.

At the beginning of the school year, the sickly, but cute Michael sends Willow the first of many cryptic notes during homeroom. He stares at Willow and gives her the creeps. Michael never returns to school after that, but Willow ends up connecting with the poetic boy on-line where they strike up an unusual friendship.

As Willow attempts to fit in and find her niche in the ever-cliquey high school world, she is further confused by Michael who strives to win her over and mend her broken heart. But will he be able to, especially when his own existence remains so uncertain?

Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
". . . its engaging, nongimmicky realism is a throwback to the days when YA fiction wasn't overrun with lovesick werewolves, mermaids or other fantastical figures." -- Kirkus Reviews
Laura Christine
"This story will stick with me for many, many reasons for a long, long time."

Product Details

Julie Ann Knudsen
Publication date:
Willow's Journey , #1
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
File size:
370 KB

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Meet the Author

Julie Ann Knudsen received her B.S. degree in Technical Writing from Clarkson University, but found that she preferred writing creatively, especially after penning the play for her children's drama club for many years. She lives with her husband and three children in Connecticut.

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In the Middle of Nowhere 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 43 reviews.
PureJonel More than 1 year ago
This story was absolutely heart wrenching with simultaneously being extremely heartwarming. I don’t think I have ever read a story in which the author manages to combine both of those emotions so seamlessly. It is also an extremely well written novel, allowing you to immerse yourself completely within the pages of the book. Knudsen’s sentences flow together so seamlessly that you cannot help but transition smoothly from one place to another. This makes it easier to empathize with the plight of each and every character in the novel. Each and every one of these brilliantly developed main characters are dealing with some sort of issue or catastrophe. I found it amazing that I never felt sympathy for the characters. There was no “oh poor you” feeling brought forth by this work. It was a refreshing change. Knudsen does, however, manage to evoke empathy in the reader, pulling you further and further into the story as you identify with the characters. I also enjoyed the fact that the struggles, challenges, and catastrophes faced by the characters are real events. Knudsen pulls on the challenges facing every day teens, including drugs, alcohol, sex, cliques, death, illness etc, and uses them as trials through which the characters prove themselves. None of the characters ever face a challenge that could not realistically be faced in the real world of normal human beings. The characters realistically display real emotions, evoking similar ones in the reader. Knudsen’s descriptions are also phenomenal. Everything is very vivid without being overstated. You can picture the island on which the characters reside, but it is not larger than life. It suits the novel perfectly. She also works all necessary back-story into the novel without stopping the forward progression of novel for large periods of time. I could not believe how caught up I was in this novel, or how much emotion it evoked in me as a reader. For once, it wasn’t solely the characters in the novel feeling, but me as well. It was brilliant.
Tami-IntotheNightReviews More than 1 year ago
I was fortunate to receive a free copy of In the Middle of Nowhere as part of an author interview and giveaway on Goodreads.  In the Middle of Nowhere tells the story of Willow who, along with her Mother and Brother James, moves to Pike’s Island, a small island in the Gulf of Maine’s Casco Bay. Willow’s father died unexpectedly five years earlier and Willow and her family are forced to move when her mother loses her job, and has to rely on the generosity of her brother for a roof over their heads – hence the move. Willow tends to keep to herself and endures the freezing cold ferry ride to school each day. As the new girl in school she catches the eye of Michael, a ‘mysterious’ fellow student who seems to spend more time out of school than in it. She also forms a loose friendship with Tessa, and In the Middle of Nowhere tells the story about the development of these relationships as well as Willow’s life at home. To be honest, I really didn’t warm to Willow. She made some incredibly poor choices and was extremely selfish a lot of the time – of course, she’s a 15-16 year old, so in that sense she was a great character. The first couple of ‘mistakes’ she made I cut her some slack, but after that I was kind of amazed that she would continue to make really silly choices. Tessa was an interesting character who I actually felt quite sorry for. She was clearly lonely and looking  for the attention that she wasn’t getting from her parents. The relationship between Michael and Willow was quite sweet, but I would have liked to have had more direct ‘contact’ with Michael. He was a little bit absent for big chunks of the story, which for me, made the relationship aspect with Willow a little bit vague. He seemed like a genuinely nice guy and I would have liked to have learned a lot more about him. I liked the ending and felt that Willow had actually grown a little bit, particularly in the relationship with her mother. It will be interesting to see what direction the next book in the series takes as there are plenty of opportunities for a great story from where it finished. Overall, In the Middle of Nowhere is an easy, sweet read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Dont ask any questions of what its about jst read it. Its sweet and yet sad. You will so fall in love with Micheal Cooper. READ IT!!!!!!! ~Sk8rGrrl
M_McRoberts More than 1 year ago
This was a well-written story about a girl who stumbles into trouble simply because she is still too disillusioned with life after the death of her father and the upheaval her family faced after his death. The situations and events in the story are realistc situations a girl in high school might face - from ending up at a party and ending up so drunk she doesn't remember the events that are chronicled in the resulting photos to getting caught sneaking out to meet friends when she was supposed to be babysitting her brother. The love story is sweet and touching, but begs more development. This book seems to need some fleshing out in the middle and the burgeoning relationship could only benefit from including another 50 to 100 pages. I like the author's voice; it is clear and honest and represents the groups present in high schools pretty accurately. The only thing I thought was out of place was the swiftness with which a relatively good girl took steps that would have previously been out of character if not for the influence of the lonely rich girl she befriends.
Hazel_G More than 1 year ago
Simple but moving! A story of family and love… The Review: I liked this book and though it got some low ratings I went in with an open but cautious mind. The story was touchingly sweet yet very sad in some places and bright in others. The emotional facet of the book was strong however it was seemed slow to start and somewhat stalled in the middle. It follows a year in the life of Willow Flynn as she tries to start over in a new life with her mother and brother after the tragic death of her father and the loss of her mother’s employment. Her family life is strained as she feels alone, seeking out new friends, not all of which are healthy or wise choices and coping with her distracted mother and game obsessed younger brother. Everyone is trying to deal with the loss and new situation in their own way and not all those ways are constructive. Where the story seems to stall is where Willow is going through her weekly routine of school, homework, checking her online page or sleeping. She does have the occasional adventurous night out which always lands her trouble of some sort and her budding relationship with Michael is captivating but I wished there had been more. Michael is established in the very beginning of the book and makes a very charming introduction, making the reader notice him immediately. I was instantly intrigued and wanted to know more about him but we don’t see much of him until the last few chapters because he is out of Willow’s social circle due to his illness. I wished the author had of spent more time constructing his and Willows relationship. I would have loved to see them do more together. The theme of the story was very well done! By the end of the book I was an emotional wreck and was skittish to read the last few pages because I was scared of what the ending would hold. The tension between Willows family was well played out and her character growth from beginning to end was noticeable. The Wrap Up: All in all, there were amazing parts and there were slow parts. This story was a tale of love, life, death and teen angst.. hard lessons, ugly truths and the beauty when you let yourself compromise and open yourself to love. I really wish there had been more events to carry this story forward and more development of the love interest, Michael because that’s what I felt was at the heart of this story. It just wasn’t explored thoroughly, but I do get where the author was trying to take the story and I liked it nonetheless. I’d definitely suggest this book to anyone wanting an emotionally well written but quick read. And I’d be most interested to see a second book with these characters because in no way has their story ended. NOTE:: I read this as a R2R with We ♥ YA Books! from Goodreads. As always, a special thank you to the mods and author for allowing me to participate.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this book. I reccomend this for anyone who likes a good romance mixed in with a ton of mistakes and new families. I could not stop reading.
princess_sara More than 1 year ago
This was an enjoyable book about a couple of teenagers. Willow is the voice of this book, and it is her story of what she goes through the first year of moving to a new place after her dad's death. She meets a boy on her first day of school that throws a paper airplane poem at her head. First she is annoyed and then she starts to get to know this strange boy that is never at school. His name is Micheal, and I really liked him, even though he wasn't in the book as much as I had hoped. Willow makes a lot of teenager mistakes, and was quick to give into peer pressure with her new friends. This kind of bothered me, as she kept doing stupid things. This is why I mostly recommend this book to teenagers. It was an enjoyable book with a few lessons learned. And thank goodness it did not end how I was afraid it was going to end, and I liked the epilogue surprise.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
PagesofComfort More than 1 year ago
This book, like many others, has been sitting on my Kindle forever. I was kind of in between books and at the gym, so I decided to start this while biking (my new favorite workout!). I finished it pretty fast because it was a quick read. It wasn't my favorite book, but a light read for me. There were definitely some heavy topics in this story, but they didn't feel that way while reading, which was nice. It was just a story about a young high school girl who's trying to find her way in a new school. She has a lot of things to work out for herself and we get to take that journey with her. I'm honestly not sure if I'll read the next book in this series. It's not because I didn't like it - I did; there's just so many other books out there for me to read, and since this was just okay for me, it's not a series I want to jump in to. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I could relate to the main character and enjoyed reading this rather short story. I would definitely recomend reading this :)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anyone want to lend this to me , and I'll lend you one of mine? Seems....cheaper that way.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Please can someone lend me this? sengel@isd507.k12.mn.us thanks!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great read! Short & fast.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was a great book i enjoyed reading it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Tell me what middle school is like here.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was able to get it for free, although I would probably buy it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was amazing i loved it i wanted to read the secound book admideantly but i couldnt ao i got the sample hoping some day i get the book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A fascinating read about love, loss, and a boy who writes poetry
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is well written and all around a great story
Francisco_Torres More than 1 year ago
This book started very slow. This is the story a Willow, an average girl who just moved to Pike's Island after her father died. At some points, the book seemed slow and uninteresting; it seemed to lack a good storyline. Another thing that bother me is how selfish her and her mom seem to be at times, and neither of them realize it.  Michael, her love interest is a big mystery for most of the book. At some times I even forgot that he existed. But by the end of the book, it seems to pick up a bit, making things a bit clearer, and leaving opening for a sequel. One thing that really bothered me is how chapters ended so suddenly and then the next one would start so abruptly. Overall, it's a pretty ok book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was just spectacular and I just loved it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Lacy0 More than 1 year ago
I received this book free of charge from the author in exchange for an honest review. IN THE MIDDLE OF NOWHERE, tells the story of Willow Flynn, a high school student who moves to a tiny island called Pike’s Island, in Portland, Maine. Willow’s father has passed away and her mother and little brother James have moved from Massachusetts to her uncle’s summer house on the island because her mom lost her job and they couldn’t afford their house anymore. Willow has a hard time adjusting to life on the island and her new school. She must take the ferry across the bay daily to reach Portland High School. She struggles to let anyone close enough but finally makes a few friends and meets a strange boy named Michael Cooper, who upon meeting her sends her a poem. At first she is creeped out by him but decides to give him a chance and learns she has a deep connection with Michael. She also learns the secret that Michael is hiding. She struggles to understand her mom and her engagement to her new boyfriend Brian while trying to deal with normal teenage pressures and mistakes. As her feelings for Michael grow she must face her fears of loving someone, especially someone who could leave her. This book is wonderfully written and pulled me in from the beginning. The emotion is deep and real and it totally drags you in. I could not put this book down and can not wait to read the next book in the series.