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.
Just Like Real Life!
a review by EGZ
What caught me about this book when I found it at the store was the teaser itself. I don't often read realistic fiction and this was one that caught my eye right away.
Willow- Willow is the main character in the story. As the teaser tells you she was driving her parents home seven months ago when the car went out of control and she lost her parents. She moves in with her adult brother and his family and finds herself hiding her feelings from her family and herself, by cutting.
Guy- Willow runs into Guy at the library she works at and keeps running into him, and soon it becomes much too hard to lie to herself, is he really just a guy, or something more.
David- Willow's older brother who works at a local university. Ever since the death of their parents both Willow and her brother haven’t been able to speak of the deaths, making Willow even more isolated.
This is one of my favorite realistic books of all time. The emotion fixed into it is so hooking and moving that I couldn't put it down. Highly recommended for both teens and adults!
A Captivating Read :3
Reader reviewed by Khunsa
A happy ending is what everyone looks forward to when they come close to finishing the book. But what about a SATISFYING ending? An ending that leaves you not knowing what happens but a sense of hope towards what will happen? Willow, by Julia Hoban, is that type of book. The story is about a 16 year old girl named Willow, whose life is changed on a rainy night. Her slightly drunk parents asked the teen to drive home that night. What happens? They crash. Her parents die. And she survives. And then comes along the guilt. Overwhelmed by her parents' death as being her fault and thinking she ruined her older brother's newly wed life as well as his just started parenthood, Willow becomes a cutter to ease the pain. Along comes Guy. I don't mean A guy. I mean Guy, as in a person. When he discovers that Willow is a cutter, he is shocked, starts having sleepless nights, and tries to always find Willow to make sure she is still alive. Upon Willow's urging, he, against his better judgement, does not tell her brother. But soon, Willow and Guy start to bond over the twisted secret they share. He, always trying to find her and pleads her to stop cutting and she, trying to cope with her feelings of guilt, pain, and in her opinion, undeserving happiness with Guy. A meeting about making sure Willow's not dead turns into coffee dates, library escapades, and opening up their hearts to one another. This is a story about the dark path of coping with loss and a sense of hope that love can light the way out of the darkness.
important and special
Reader reviewed by Jillian R
months ago, Willow was driving the car that took both her parents'
life. Stricken with grief, guilt, and the drastic changes in her life,
Willow seeks to find refuge and solace. She finds this in a metal blade.
Willow is a cutter. She is unable to stop, as her whole life falls
apart. And then she meets a boy named Guy, and maybe -- just maybe --
he can teach her how to change everything, if only she would allow
novel has two important and great strengths; its ultimate message and
the main characters. The message reaches out to a vast number of
people, going through a difficult time -- who feel as if their life has
gone down the drain. Those who seek refuge, but can not find it. Those
who feel there are no other solution. We can all pretend, fool, and
blind ourselves into thinking these people and these kinds of
situations don't exist, but the fact is, they do. This book shows that,
we never really know what's going on in everyone's lives, behind closed
doors. And the message is delivered by none other than the main
Willow is extraordinary to me; complex, believable, real, and strong -- despite everything.
other main character, Guy, is also someone that I personally look up to
from now on -- perfectly flawed, but strong and kind-hearted. He shows
compassion and understanding, which are both traits we subconsciously
As for the writing, I found it to be incredibly
real. The prose is beautiful, and the dialogues between the main
characters are believable, that I feel like I am really listening into
an actual conversation. Never did it seem that the author was trying a
bit too hard and/or pushing it too far.
That being said, I give this
credible and realistic novel a 5 star rating. It is a sad book, but to
me, it also is in a way, quite uplifting. It is an emotionally moving,
touching, and sometimes overwhelming story. It is the type of book that
has the power to inspire and quite possibly, make a significant change
in someone going through what Willow did. I think any book that can do
this needs and deserves to be read.
Reader reviewed by The Library Lurker
Willow is that book that you can't
put down, but you don't know why. It's not full of action and suspense,
there's not great mystery to solve, but something compels you to keep
reading. And reading. And reading. I think that something that kept me
reading was the honesty of the story. The way Julia Hoban took such a
hard subject, cutting, and told it so honestly and unflinchingly was
amazing. Not to mention grief and sadness Willow faces after her
parent's death. That someone could write these things so well amazes me.
I'll admit, I've never understood why people are compelled to physically
harm themselves. It just seems so...illogical to me. But by reading
this novel I have a bit more of an understanding and can empathize with
those people a bit more. Willow is smart, she's grown up the daughter of
two professors, but when they're killed in a car accident where she was
driving, the only way she can handle her grief is to cut herself. Take
her emotional pain and turn it in physical pain.
her secret. She convinces him to not tell her brother, who she's living with
now, but he doesn't go away. Now that he knows he feels that it's his
responsibility to look after Willow. It's this way that they get to know
and trust each other, slowly falling in love. I really liked Guy. I
definitely have a new imaginary crush. Who wouldn't like a guy who
reads? He's also just so sweet. He's always there for Willow, no matter
what. I love them together.
everyone needs to read it. You won't be disappointed.
Reader reviewed by Erica
Release Date: April 2, 2009
Rating: 5 stars
Seven months ago, on a rainy March night, sixteen year- old Willows 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 boyone sensitive, soulful boydiscovers Willows 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 girls struggle to cope with tragedy, and one boys refusal to give up on her.
With her debut novel, Julia Hoban blows away readers with a gripping story full of emotion, truth, and what could be real life experiences. Willow blames herself for the accident that happened months ago, and expresses and releases the guilt she feels through cutting herself.
Willow is written in 3rd person, and at first it distracted me from the book. But after a few chapters, it made the story so much more raw and emotional and definately suited the book. It made the writing almost detached, and Willow is dealing with so many emotions and so detached herself.
The first page Guy walked into the story, you could feel the romance that would happen between Guy and Willow. The journey and build up to that romance was so sweet, open, and honest. Guy was such a well-rounded character. The fact he cares about Willow and what she's doing to herself, all the while taking action to help her was great. I can relate to some of his emotions he felt towards Willow in regards to her cutting herself, as one of my best friends took up the same escape. I don't think a lot of people realize the seriousness of the issue. As a narrator, Willow was interesting. Hearing her story and emotions she feels toward everything was really enlightening. Julia Hoban nails what I'd assume the emotions that would be going through a sixteen year old's head in that situation.
The end was so sweet. It's not exactly what readers are thinking will happen. This was a book I was addicted to, especially needing to know how it would end.
While Willow deals with such a intense plot, it's not depressing. It's full of hope that Guy expresses towards Willow and helping her through that point in her life. I cannot wait to see what Julia Hoban comes up with next.
Reader reviewed by Bookmark This
Reader reviewed by Kaycee Joy
Summary: According to Willow she has killed her
parents. She thinks everyone knows, that it's written across her face,
and believes everyone at her new school gossips about it. She has been
living with her brother, his wife, and newborn baby. Life is constantly
reminding her that she has ruined her brother's life and she is an
orphan. A simple, little, sharp razor releases all this anxiety within
her. Suddenly, Willow is sharing her secret with an unwilling participant in keeping this secret. She wants her old self back, with a brother that doesn't blame her.
A story of guilt and forgiveness - and love
Reader reviewed by Sara
SEVEN MONTHS AGO on a rainy, March night, Willows 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 seventeen, Willow is living with her older brother, who can barely speak to her. She has let behind her old home, friends, and school. But Willow has found a way to survive, to numb the new reality of her life: She is secretly cutting herself.
And then she meets Guy, a boy as sensitive and complicated as she is. When Guy discovers Willows secret, he pulls her out of the solitary world shes created for herself, and into a difficult, intense, and potentially life-changing relationship.
Favorite characters, quotes/lines: Willow; Guy: He really cared about her& and he was real he didnt stay happy when Willow was being an idiot like some authors make characters do
When I finished this book I felt: It was a really good story, but Im not sure I like how Hoban wrote the book. I think I might have liked it better in first person rather than third; I found it kind of distracting. Other than that, I really enjoyed this book.
Other books to read by this author: this is the authors first book
I would recommend this book to: teen readers& but they should keep in mind that a main theme of the book is cutting& and for people like me (who have weak stomachs) parts of the story might be a bit difficult to read. But there arent very many parts like this in the book.
Willow is a great book on sensitive subject
Reader reviewed by Library Lounge Lizard
even months ago on a rainy March
night, Willow's parents drank too much wine at dinner and asked her to
drive them home. But they never made it-Willow lost control of the car,
and both her parents were killed.
After the accident
Willow leaves behind what she refers to as her "old life" and moves in
with her older brother who is a newly married, young college professor
with a new baby. From the beginning Willow feels like a burden and a
constant reminder of her brothers loss due to the accident she believes
was her fault.
Willow has not been able to cry since waking up
from the accident and her only release from her pent up emotional pain
is to slice into her arms and legs. "You
couldn't really say that something that hurts so badly feels good
exactly. It's more that it just feels right. And something that feels
so right just couldn't be bad. It has to be good."
is also working at the college library while attending the local high
school in order to help her brother out with finances. This is where
she meets Guy, the first person to discover her clandestine activities.
He is devastated by what she is doing to herself and vows to be there
if she ever needs him. What follows is a blossoming romance that Willow
is not prepared to deal with. This relationship along with the guilt
she feels about her brother is the heart of this story.
I really enjoyed this book. I connected with Willow in more of a
motherly sense, my heart was breaking for her! She is definitely a
character you will care about. Hoban's descriptive writing in regards
to Willow's cutting moments is so vivid I literally started to feel
queasy and had to skip ahead! I'll admit that I have a pretty weak
stomach and at times it felt like I was sitting right there with her.
encourage parents and schools to purchase this book because there are
so many fallacies out there regarding why kids self-mutilate. Hoban
does a great job of showing the pain and horror behind the actual
One of the best books I've read recently
Reader reviewed by Debbie
This was an awesome book! Ive been wanting to read it for ages and it
finally came in for me at the library. I started it last night stayed
up late to finish it because I could not put it down. Guy seemed like
the perfect, well, guy. He is so sweet and considerate to Willow
without seeming like a push over. Willow was a little irritating but
totally understandable after what she went through. I think it was
obvious to everyone but Willow that her brother, David, did not blame
her for her parents deaths but the interplay between David and Willow
was still interesting to watch through out the story. Its hard not to
give away too much but this was a wonderful book that I highly suggest
to both teens and adults.
Reprinted here with author's permission.