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Review of Willow by Julia Hoban

by - October 25, 2010

Willow's parents died in a car accident in which Willow, with only a learner's licence, was driving. Devastated by grief and finding no-one to turn to, not even her Brother, she finds comfort in her razorblades, which she uses to blot out the pain of seeing her parents die. Leaving all her friends behind to move into her Brother's home, she stops bothering to call them, becoming more and more dependent on her razors. She feels that her Brother blames her for the accident and the fact that her avoids looking at her or speaking about anything that isn't trivial secludes her even more.
Guy meets Willow at the library and finds her intriguing. After discovering her secret he feels both powerless to help her and unable to tear himself away from her. Will he be able to pull her away from the comfort of the razor?

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This is one of the most depressing books I have ever read. But it is uplifting too. The book is written entirely in the present tense, which the Author doesn't seem to have a good grasp of, so a few of the sentences don't quite fit.
Willow doesn't seem to have the same taste in books as most YA yet this seems to be normal. Tristes Topiques anyone? Going by the blank faces I'd guess you've never heard of it either.
The psychological side, in the mind of a self-harmer, is very accurate, to the point where I wonder if the Author has self-harmed in the past. She thinks of everything: all the emotions, the addictions, how to hide it etc.
I'd describe this books as a 'dark, emo, coming of age story'. Although it is rather depressing I did enjoy it quite a lot. I would have loved there to be an epilogue, about a year or so later where Willow's more normal and everyone's happy and singing about rainbows... but that's just my oddness.


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