Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Review: Willow by Julia Hoban (ARC)

Total: All Five Stars (!!!)

{From Back Cover}

Seven months ago, on a rainy March night, Willow Randall'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.

Now seventeen, Willow has left behind her old home, friends, and school - numbing the grim reality of her new life by secretly cutting herself. But everything changes when one of Willow's new classmates, a boy as sensitive and thoughtful as she is, discovers Willow's secret and refuses to let her destroy herself.

Behind The Grade:

I'm not one of those bubbly, bright people who likes to start reviews off with phrases like "I was hooked from the first line," and yet, when faced with Julia Hoban's to-be-released YA debut, this is the only thing that comes to mind.

It was mind-blowing.

While, sure, Willow could technically be defined as a cutter, she's so much more than that. Even though the book is told in third person, the spotlight never strays from our unlucky heroine, Willow. Somehow, Hoban manages to give clear insight into Willow's thoughts and everything she thinks - about herself, her parents' death, those around her - is so well backed-up, I found myself nodding along to her justifications. So: characterization? Spot-on.

Second: plot movement.

This is a love story of the top tier. Willow's relationship with Guy is fresh and interesting - never do they stray into boring couple's territory. Partly because Willow isn't looking for anything romantic - in that sense, she's great for girls to look up to. Today, teenagers are surrounded by books and movies telling them they should fall into a fast, dizzying, love-at-fist-sight love, but Willow takes it slow and, in this, acts like a normal girl would.

Rather than be bored by the lack of car crashes or magic spells, it's so easy to get lost in Willow's world, that I found myself trying to go slowly and savour her every thought. For someone who's typically a speed-reader, this was obviously a great thing for me.

Third: wrap-up. The ending was perfect. I wish I could share the ending line, or even the last chapter, because it was so amazing, but I wouldn't want to spoil you.

Willow will be availible in hardcover on April 2nd. You better be getting it!


YA Book Realm said...

Oh I can't wait to read it when it comes out! I loved your review, totally pshyced about this one!!

Just Blinded Book Reviews said...

I recently read that and I feel the same exact way!

Great review!

BookChic said...

I'm reading this book now. :) It's really good, like you said! Great review.

Hope. said...

Gahh! I know! I've recently read it, too, and I seriously LOVED IT. It almost had me crying during class when I was reading it, lol.


Kelsey said...

Ah, I LOVED IT SO MUCH! I read it awhile ago, but I'm not posting my review until April. But, AHH, It's one of my favorite's now. And Julia is SO nice! It's an excellent book.

Shooting Stars Mag said...

I'm so glad everyone seems to love Willow. It sounds amazing and what a great review Gabbi!

I got my copy today and I'm really stoked to start reading it...might take me a bit though, just b/c the review will be posted in April so I don't want to rush! :)


YA Book Realm said...

^ ^ ^ All of you guys are making me want to read it even more. Thanks a lot guys. lol


The Book Obsession said...

I cannot wait to read this book!
Happy New Year!

Carol(ina) said...

I really want to read this book but I'ma have to wait til April when the book comes out seeing as Penguin ran out of ARC's. But great review!

MJRose said...

I have an arc and am reading it now and it is that amazing!!!!!

Aysha said...

OMG I just ordered mine....u can pre-order it on Amazon.com!!!!!!! Im so excited!!!!!