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Willow Paperback – February 23, 2010

193 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


In this novel that is in part a love story, Hoban takes readers on an intense journey that allows them to see a cutter's painful reality. --School Library Journal

Willow's acknowledgment of the cause of her grief--that she'll never be anyone's daughter again--is a sharp insight, and Hoban's appropriately complex portrayal of cutting makes this a good choice on a crucial subject. --Kirkus Reviews --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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).

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Speak; Reprint edition (February 23, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0142416665
  • ISBN-13: 978-0142416662
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.8 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (193 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #43,769 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

60 of 63 people found the following review helpful By Lemonlight on April 30, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Let me preface by saying both that I have read a LOT of books and that usually I do not care for teen angst. Where Teen suicide, drinking, drug use, or disorder is the theme, I tend to steer clear. The temptation for adult authors writing about teen disorder, is to make their character (and the character's disorder) too... syrupy, too convenient, too rational, too accessible/acceptable to today's teens. I don't like that.

Having said that, I do not know why I picked "Willow" up and scanned the first page. But I did. I don't know why the voice of the main character was so compelling. But she was.

I read the whole book in a little under four hours.

Willow is an extraordinary character. Absolutely real, utterly believable, surprising, refreshing, and strong despite what she does to herself, and despite what has happened to her. That's the amazing thing. Willow is still strong. I would say that you should read the book if only to get to know this character, but there are so many other reasons as well!!

There was humor, there were parts where I had to close the book and cry, and there were parts that were so subtly triumphant that I cheered. All types can appreciate this book, which should become a classic of teen literature. Move over, Speak! Cut, your time is over
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Kristi D. VINE VOICE on April 2, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I'm not even sure where to start this review. I've honestly written this review almost five times and haven't been happy with what I've spit out. I'm not sure I can do this book justice. To say that it was spectacular would be an understatement. To say that I had a hard time putting it down, widely understated! Yet, why? Because in all seriousness, reading a story about a `cutter' didn't really appeal to me. I mean sure it sounded interesting, and I've read books about eating disorders, drugs, so why not try cutting.

So I did.

I totally agree with Hoban's choice to write this novel in third person. Had it not been written from Willow's POV, I know I wouldn't have found it as impressive as I did. I needed that insight, I needed to know why someone would do that to their self. And I hate to admit it but I understood, I empathized, I accepted it. Hoban doesn't dance around the fact, there are some shockingly graphic scenes, but instead of grotesque they are honest and revealing.

And it's not only the characterization of Willow that's impressive. It's the disheartening portrayal of Willow's brother David, and her warped sense of his withdrawal. It's the eccentric relationship between Willow and Guy. It's the secondary characters that have some of the smallest parts but remain prominent in your mind. For me I, couldn't stop thinking about the girl at the restaurant.

Willow is about so much more than cutting. It's about love. Not only first love, but the power of redemption that only love can posses.

Still haven't done the book justice, but I'll leave you with this. Yes, cutting is a painful subject to read about. But Willow was skillfully and uniquely told. Essentially the message is uplifting, even the worst of situations can improve.

Glad I did.
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31 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Libby on June 23, 2012
Format: Hardcover
This is the first time I've ever truly been moved to write a review on a book. After completing this novel, I wondered what other people thought about this book, if other people were struck by how unrealistic and irritating this novel was. I quickly discovered the answer to this was no. The majority of reviews on the website seem to sing the praises of the book, going on and on about how insightful it is. Hence, I was compelled to write about what is wrong with this novel. I have suffered with self injury for a number of years now and have received treatment for it in numerous institutions, meaning I have also met a myriad of people who also suffer from this mental disorder. And frankly, some of the ways Julia Hoban portrayed self harm were offensive to me due to how inaccurate they were. I suppose that was my main qualm with the novel. If you're the type of person who likes unrealistic stories about easily solved mental illnesses and an addiction "similar to heroin" that is of course solved by love in the end despite the fact that this boy's advances would never be tolerated by a self injurer. Ugh. This book is why people misunderstand self harm and quite honestly I hate being portrayed as part of a desperate community that should be pitied. This probably doesn't even make sense. Okay. If you read this thank you because I just had to vent to someone because this book just makes me feel so misunderstood and horribly mistranslated.
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Mint910 VINE VOICE on April 2, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Willow is a real, honest, and emotional book. From the moment you pick the book up, you are invested in Willow and her well-being. Not only is this story about grief and guilt, it is about love and never giving up. It's beautiful.

The characters in Willow are real people with complex emotions and personalities. So many books are just full of stereotypes but Willow is full of character's so lifelike it's hard to believe they aren't actual people. I also really love the world that the author has created for these characters. I couldn't help wishing that I was one of the people hanging out in the library that Willow worked at or enjoying the park or a walk through the city. I wanted to be there in that world.

My only initial concern about reading the book was that it would be sad for me to handle or that the cutting would scare me away. None of those things happened, I think having the deep emotional factor that it has only enhanced the reading experience and made it that much more meaningful. The author's skill is so great that for the first time in my life I feel like I understand the reason that people can do such horrible things to their own body. It's always shocked and saddened me but I had never fully understood it until I heard it through Willow's voice.

I don't want to talk too much about the plot itself because I think this is one that's best discovered as you read, as you let it reveal itself to you. Reading Willow was definitely one of the most enjoyable reading experiences I've had in a long time. Every time I had to put the book down I daydreamed of picking it back up and re-joining Willow's world.
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