My Beautiful Struggle + Willow

Review: Willow by Julia Hoban

Willow by Julia Hoban Publisher: Dial (April 2nd, 2009) Hardcover: 336 pages
Reading Level: Young Adult Buy: Amazon Rating: 5 of 5
Seven months ago, on a rainy March night, sixteen year- old Willow’s parents died in a horrible car accident. Willow was driving. Now her older brother barely speaks to her, her new classmates know her as the killer orphan girl, and Willow is blocking the pain by secretly cutting herself. But when one boy—one sensitive, soulful boy—discovers Willow’s secret, it sparks an intense relationship that turns the “safe” world Willow has created for herself upside down.
Told in an extraordinary fresh voice, Willow is an unforgettable novel about one girl’s struggle to cope with tragedy, and one boy’s refusal to give up on her.
Review: I was a little reluctant to pick up this book. It's not my typical story but the cover grabbed my attention and I wanted to give it a try. First, I will say that I could not put the book down! It brought me in from the first page. Willow was an amazing character who had her life turned upside down after a terrible accident that claimed the lives of her parents. She suffered through the tremendous amount of guilt and life changes following that, and the move into her brothers house. The communicatio n between her and her brother is lacking and misunderstandings occur between them because of it. She suffers alone in the agonizing isolation and guilt she brings onto herself. In her eyes, she deserves to be alone.Then she meets Guy and learns what it's like to have someone care for her well-being. She realizes the behavior of cutting herself is hurting more than herself, and it might be time to stop.
Willows character showed true courage and strength in this book, regardless of what it may seem from the outside. When Guy shows up she is unsure what to think but finds herself being drawn to him. Guy is sweet, sensitive, and caring in ways she had never experienced. Their story brings the reader on a ride of ups and downs, and many twists along the way. We get to know them at a deeper level and the story seems very believable. There are no flowers and butterflies at the end but in this case, that's how it should be.
Characters: Julia has a way of describing her characters that is very raw but at the same time easy to follow and like. I was worried about this being based around a character who was so depressed she may be difficult to truly get to know. That was not the case. Willow is very dynamic and it's easy to see the other side of her trying to shine through. Guy is so caring he brings extra light to the story.
Cover: I love the cover. The slashes are there but you see the beautiful girl underneath… very much like in the book.
I would recommend this book for everyone. It may be difficult for younger teens because of the subject matter but it's also very educational in dealing with individuals who may be experiencing this destructive behavior.

For more information on Julia Hoban or her book:
Penguin / Amazon / LibraryThing / Goodreads

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*If you purchase from Amazon or The Book Depository through the links provided a small percentage of the sales will go to me. Any money from this is used for shipping costs during giveaways.

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