Review: Willow by Julia Hoban

on Nov 28, 2014
Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

Genre(s): Young Adult / Contemporary Fiction

Blurb: If she let herself, she'd drown in a world of pain..

Review: Willow is a touching and unique tale of a young womans struggle with self-injury. 

From the very first page the reader is drawn into the world of Willow, it is a world filled with shame, suffering, guilt, and pain. Willow lives with an unfathomable weight on her shoulders, and her extreme answer to her heartache is to cut herself. My heart bleed for this incredibly authentic character. Her journey felt real, and served as a reminder that there are many who face this problem in reality. 

The book is written in third person limited, a point of view I don't usually care for, but which greatly compliments the story and offers a moving look at Willows everyday pains. This choice of POV prevents the reader from feeling bored and gives a more objective look at Willow's life. 

Guy is a stand out young adult male lead. He is quiet, thoughtful, far from seeming perfect or popular. His quickly becomes a steady confidant and friend for Willow. He is there with her as she reveals the reasons behind her actions, and as she overcomes the lure of the razor blade and pulls herself up from the bottom. I greatly admired the progression of Guy and Willow's relationship. It was interesting to see them start as friends and slowly fall in love. As Willow falls in love with Guy she opens up to the many emotions that she has been blocking since her parents death, her difficulty is evident as she comes to grips with her changed reality, finally admitting that her parents are gone and her world will never be the same.  

Throughout the book Willow has a difficult relationship with her brother, David. This wasn't always the case, and only changed when their parents died. Ever since then they have been stuck in silence or on occasion stilted, awkward short conversations. The resolution between them was truly beautiful and revealed the pain that they both were feeling, other truths that went previously unspoken and how much they both really loved each other. 

Not since Thirteen Reasons Why have I read a book in which a teens emotional distress was so profoundly written. While I feel I could write more on this story, I'll save the spoilers for future readers to discover for themselves. 

About the Author: Julia Hoban is a woman of many talents; She writes, designs her own clothes and handbags, and attended graduate school for physics and philosophy. She lives with her husband in New York City, and is working on her next novel (and outfit). 

Interested in this book? Find it online! 


A Message from the Reviewer: 
Hello, everyone. I greatly enjoyed Willow and I hope my review was enjoyed as well.
However, there are friends, family, coworkers, even strangers on the bus who are living every day with a reality far too similar to Willow's. If you are struggling with self-injury or know someone who is, I encourage you to check out TO WRITE LOVE ON HER ARMS - this non-profit movement is dedicated to presenting hope and finding help for people struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury, and suicide. TWLOHA exists to encourage, inform, inspire, and also to invest directly into treatment and recovery.
You were created to love and be loved! <3


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