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Seven months after killing her parents in a car accident, 16-year-old Willow Randall has moved in with her married older brother's family in New York City, where she grapples with her overwhelming emotions, as well as her brother's silent anguish, by cutting herself with razors. When Guy, a fellow student, learns Willow's secret, they develop a tentative intimacy. The stark clarity of the present tense, third-person narration echoes the numbing effect that Willow achieves through cutting-"Of course any sharp edge could do in a pinch, and Willow has used them all: nail scissors, a steak knife, a man's razor.... But Willow is a purist." Despite explicit descriptions of Willow's wounds, the narrative steers clear of moralization-cutting is characterized as part of Willow's fractured sense of self, rather than part of a larger epidemic. Though Guy mainly serves as a means for Willow to rediscover human connection, and is never as fully realized as she is, his need to understand the girl whose favorite book is Tristes Tropiques but who carries razors in her backpack, is authentically tender. A credible depiction of a grieving girl's struggle toward self-forgiveness. Ages 14-up. (Apr.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.