Author: Julia Hoban
Publication Year: 2009
Genre: Fiction, Young Adult
Source: Borrowed from the library at my school
From the cover:
If she let herself, she’d drown in a world of pain.
Seven months ago on a rainy March night, Willow’s parents drank too much at dinner and asked her to drive them home. But they never made it – Willow lost control of the car, and both of her parents were killed. Now the only way she knows how to survive and control the pain is by secretly cutting herself. But when Willow meets Guy, a boy sensitive and complicated as she is, she finds it hard to keep the secret that’s written all over her body.
I’m having a really hard time figuring out how to talk about this book. Willow was such an emotional experience for me that it’s hard to separate how I feel about the issues from how I feel about the novel itself. I don’t really think that I can do this story justice with a review, but I’m going to try.
Hoban has written a book that goes deep into the psyche of her main character, giving the reader a first-hand look into the way that a cutter thinks and feels, particularly the pain of Willow’s specific situation. Willow’s emotions were realistically portrayed as raw and extremely intense, as were the reactions of Guy and the grief of Willow’s brother, who she moved in with after the accident. Even though the novel focused on Willow’s story from her own perspective – meaning that the actions and words of other characters were seen through the lens of her beliefs – we could still see how they were handling the challenges they were faced with, as well.
This is definitely a book that I would recommend. It was an intensely emotional experience for me, one that I won’t soon forget, and that will stay with me for a long time. I hope that you get the same feeling reading Willow as I did, and that you learn something about the nature of cutting and self harm from the point of view of someone who is struggling with it. I hope that Willow can put a face to the experience for anyone who reads this book looking for understanding, and that people who are currently self harming can relate to her character.
Most of all, though, I just really hope that you’ll read this book! Really. It was fantastic.