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Book Reviews
April 17, 2009 posted by Nikki

Willow – Julia Hoban

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 of 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.

Before I say anything else, let me say that this is a very intense novel. I’ve never been a cutter but one of my friends at school dabbled in it for a while. I didn’t understand her and I don’t really understand Willow. I can’t get my head around the concept of causing oneself physical pain to ease inner pain. That, however, doesn’t mean that I didn’t sympathise with Willow in this novel. If anything, my inability to understand her position only stimulated my desire to keep reading, hoping that the novel might help me understand her by the end. As a non-cutter, I can’t say that Willow actually provided me with any greater understanding of why cutters do this to themselves. I can, however, say that after reading this novel I stand behind Guy’s (her male friend that intervenes) decision to do everything in his power to help her, to show her that there are other ways she can release her pain.

Guy is an interesting character. He hardly knows Willow yet it is very clear that he feels some kind of draw to her immediately. I often wondered if he hadn’t fallen for her immediately, would he have been so interested in saving her? I would like to think that he would have, but how will we ever know?

On that note, I’d just like to say that this isn’t a teen romance. Guy does not come in and sweep Willow off her feet and then suddenly she is cured of her cutting. Guy suffers greatly through his initial friendship with Willow and struggles with his conscious a lot through the novel. He’s a strong character that simply tries really hard to show Willow that she doesn’t actually want to hurt herself that way. Willow saves herself. Guy just shows her that she actually wants to.

Julia Hoban will strike a chord with many teens and adult readers everywhere with this one. Whether or not cutting is something you understand, you’ll be unable to stop reading. If for nothing else, you’ll want to know whether Willow actually destroys herself. I’m not going to tell you what happens because I think that would ruin the read for you, but I am going to tell you that this is one hell of an uncomfortable read. I hope that someone somewhere reads this and realises that whatever they’re going through, it doesn’t have to be a lonely one. There is help out there, even if you think you don’t need it or you don’t want it.

Willow speaks for itself. I don’t feel like I need to, or even that I should comment on its contents or outcomes. Read the novel and decide for yourself.

Rating: : ★★★★☆

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57 Comments

  • This book is wonderful. =] Love it.

    • i read it 6 times and love it totalyy have been 1.25 years since i cut and this book helped me get over it and sometime i catch myself about to cut and that book pops into my head and my boy freind keeps reminding me

  • I haven’t read it yet but I know it won’t desappoint me!

    • o it won’t I am not a “fast reader” but i am a book worm and I read it in a day… One of the best books i’ve read in a while:) Bravo Julia Hoban

  • I’ve been wanting to read this for a while. Reading this review has just made the desire even greater. Thanks! Haha.
    My bank account is going to be sooo empty after I hit up Amazon.
    Great review. Keep it up. :)

  • I liked this book alot i suggest it to anyone it kept me from putting it down.

  • this book is amazing,
    i loved it. :]

  • I read the book it was amazing! No one needs to go through pain alone, there is always someone out there who is always going to be there

    • so right i wish my bf gave me his number b4 we were going out so i could call him he literaly cryed at night cause he hated to see me suffer

  • I have just started reading willow and i find it intense and interesting. so far i can’t seem to put it down. It is odd reading it because my name is willow but i find it very interesting. and the review was great

  • I cryed at the last page because i did not want it to end.

  • i really enjoyed this book. i usually don’t like reading but something about this book caught my attention.i really encourage people to read it .. but what is most surprising it that im only 12yrs old .. Nd i had somewhat connection with book :)

    • hey hun, im not sure what aspects of it you connected with, but i just wanted to say this. Never think of yourself as “only” something, especially not with age. I’m thirteen and people think im 20. One of my best friends is fourteen and shes been through more than most adults ever will. And also, try reading more. You might find more connections.

  • I personally love this book. The emotion in it makes it a novel that you simply cannot put down.

    As a teen who self-injured in the past for several years, I usually can’t stand books about people who self-harm, because the characters are so unrealistic, which just frustrates me. This was not the case with Willow. Although it was difficult to get through because I still struggle with my addiction, I can easily say this is one of my favorite books.

    • Scars is a other good book(:

  • it was a wonderful book just similar to my life story SIGH this book will always be my favorite book of all time

  • I really would love to read this book! I wish I had it I need to find some place that sells it!

  • i love this story i am 16 and i love it i wonder if there was a continued serice that would love that.

  • I am reading this at the very moment. And it is amazing! I dont want to put it down! I recommend this to everyone.

  • this book is intense. i can relate to this becuz i grew up i na very troubled home. and began cutting at the age of 14..i m not a reader myself however something really caught my attention when i read the review on the side of the inside of this book. um i only checked it out at my highschool library so i want ot go to barnesand noble to buy a copy hoping theyll have it. i did not want it to end. ireally think they should make a second sequal to this. or better would be a movie.rated pg 13.i think it would make a great amount in money wise if a movie based on this book was created. so many people who read or even heard of this book would very much be 1000 percent up for seeing the movie.but thats of course just my personal opinion.

  • I just adored this book. More than adored, it spoke. it sang. I’ve been rereading it in bits and pieces for the past few weeks after reading it. No other books are really sticking the way Willow did. As a former self harmer, I was blown away by the realism of the way Hoban described Willow’s addiction to pain. while i read it i found myself saying ‘YES that’s EXACTLY how it is’ again and again.
    one of the best books ive ever read, with some of the most believeable main characters I’ve ever met (Guy is an amazing dude, not to perfect, but just right. He looses his temper, he gets impatient, he doens’t always get what she’s talking about, he’s human. i love him.)
    this is a book I recommend for ANYONE and EVERYONE. please, read into a cutters world and realize we’re not all posers looking for attention.

    • I read the book and its very good…sad that i cant find it :/ but i hope to find it in the near future:) and i totally agree with you

  • I just adored this book. More than adored, it spoke. it sang. I’ve been rereading it in bits and pieces for the past few weeks after reading it. No other books are really sticking the way Willow did. As a former self harmer, I was blown away by the realism of the way Hoban described Willow’s addiction to pain. while i read it i found myself saying ‘YES that’s EXACTLY how it is’ again and again.
    one of the best books ive ever read, with some of the most believeable main characters I’ve ever met (Guy is an amazing dude, not to perfect, but just right. He looses his temper, he gets impatient, he doens’t always get what she’s talking about, he’s human. i love him.)
    this is a book I recommend for ANYONE and EVERYONE. please, read into a cutters world and realize we’re not all posers looking for attention.

  • i absolutly love this book :)

  • By far, my favorite book. Willow is a beautiful story. And Guy just makes everything the more perfect. VERY intense book by the way.

  • Hey can you remember what Willow wrote inside the cover of The Tempest book she gave to Guy?

    • For Guy,
      Oh brave new world that has such a person in it…

    • that was so cute

  • All I can say is forget Edward Cullen or Jacob Black, and hello Guy :)

  • I just started reading Willow and it has me hooked. I never want to put the book down. I believe that allot of people should read this book. Its the type of book that sticks with you. I keep wondering if Willow will over come her pain.I think of Willow as if she’s a real person same with guy.

  • Willow is such a great read, It has me hooked. I thank the girl at target who read it 3 times and recommended it to me.

  • Willow was a great book. I can really relate to what is going on in this book.

  • I loved this book because i could really relate with it I too am i cutter but I’m getting help thanx to my wonderful bf who cares what i do with my life.

  • wow i love it cuz she cutas her self and becomes new

  • I loved, loved, LOVED this book! It was amazing! the characters are very complex, and induvisual. I give WILLOW a well earned 5 stars!
    If you haven’t read this book, a highly recommend it!

  • Response to: Andle Says:
    March 16th, 2010 at 5:29 pm
    I really would love to read this book! I wish I had it I need to find some place that sells it!

    Find it here: http://search.barnesandnoble.com/Willow/Julia-Hoban/e/9780142416662/pwb=1&

  • I am in the process of reading it all my friends want to read it and I don’t blame them so far it’s really good

  • wow. this sounds like a great book. Actually…I’m a cutter myself….so..idk. but i’ll try and find time to read it.

  • Omg..this is an totally incredible epic book!!
    I would recomend it to anyone!! Guy is my favorite character. <3

  • This makes me feel so not alone… This is a kind of book nobody else can decribe better!

  • i absolutely loved this book, as a former cutter i understand how willow is adicted to the pain. i also like when Guy refers to the razor as her lover. the whole time i was reading this i was saying YES!!!this is exactly how it is! this book says the things i never knew how to say.it also helped me get over some of my problems, though i am still struggling with self-injury, i feel like im not alone. i recommend this book to ANYONE who wants a realistic look at a cutters world.

  • This book is my fav….absolutly amazzingg..I’m 14
    Its lyke the best ever and guy is amazziing and I’m in luv w him…I read it 4 timesss…and I think ill go read it agin noww..

  • @maddie
    The thing she wrote on the back cover was so sweet..it said:
    For Guy,
    O, brave new world with such a person in it..<3 ( without the <3)

  • hey guys, thank for the fantastic info.

  • This was a great book :) enjoyed it!

  • I finished the book last night, and the book was so immensley painful for me to read. (That’s positive). No book gave me such emotion in any way like that before. I was disappointed after it ended, I want there to be a second book! I also must say, I am myself a cutter. That’s what made it so painful to read, knowing that I dealt with that pain and those thoughts. I had to take breaks from reading it, because for me, it was a little triggering. I truly love the book though. It was so painful, yet beautiful, and I just loved it. Simply loved it. Thank you for writing such an amazing book, Julia Hoban!

    Love,
    Abby

  • I just finished reading this book, and it was incredible! Julia Hoban really captured the emotion and pain of a “cutter.” She started her character with a sick, and miserable girl who blossoms into someone strong and capable of true love. I absolutely enjoyed reading this, and I hope to see more of Willow and Guy in a sequel <3 I would loooovvveeee seeing how their relationship grows.

  • wauuuu m encanta est libro pero creo k el final es in concluso ojala hubiera mas tng ganas de sabr k pasa!!!!!

  • does anyone know when the movie comes out? and im 15 and i read this book 7 times its SUPER good

  • i love this book
    wish u could make a second part with willow and guy
    nd the movie
    wish the luck

  • as a cutter? is this book triggering?

    • As a.cutter of 4 years, it is triggering. But with help, you can overcome it.

  • This novel really impacted me. As a teen who has stopped cutting for half a year now, it really helped me continue clean when times got rough and the temptation to cut came up again. It’s such a great book! I recommend it to everyone looking for support in stopping self-harm or just looking for a good book to read. It is amazing! :D

  • THIS BOOK IS SEXY!

  • this book is so stupid!!!!!!! what kind of person cuts herself

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