In her book Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life, Anne Lamott says, “For some of us, books are as important as almost anything else on earth. What a miracle it is that out of these small, flat, rigid squares of paper unfolds world after world after world, worlds that sing to you, comfort and quiet or excite you. Books help us understand who we are and how we are to behave. They show us what community and friendship mean; they show us how to live and die.”

My hope is that this is what books become to you—as important as almost anything else on earth. This blog is about helping you find the miracle in these small, flat, rigid squares of paper while you are in middle school and beyond. Once you read alongside me, you are forever a member of my tribe of readers. No matter how you old you are, when you need to be reminded of the power of a good story, you will find me here, waiting to place one in your hands.

Friday, November 25, 2011

BLOOD WOUNDS by Susan Beth Pfeffer

copyright date: 2011
primarily marketed for: young adults (middle/high school)

Although Willa’s life is not perfect, she has always believed she is part of a “happy family.”  Until something happens to change that. 

Willa lives with her mother, stepfather, and stepsisters.  She has never really known her biological father, who her mother ran away from when Willa was young.  She has never wanted to know him because of the way he treated her mother.  He has never been part of her life.  Until now.

Willa gets news one day that her biological father is suspected of having killed his new wife and two daughters.  His third daughter is missing, and so is he.  The police believe he is on his way to find Willa and her mom. 

This sounds like the makings of an action packed thriller of a story, right?  But it’s not.  Instead it is a touching coming of age story set against one of the most gruesome and dramatic plots I’ve ever read.  The story of Willa’s biological father comes to a climax about halfway through the book, and the rest of the book focuses on how Willa picks up the pieces of her life and puts them back together—a task that proves impossible after what she’s been through.  Her life will never be the same.

Willa experiences the kind of circumstance that will undoubtedly draw you in.  The book is edgy and pulls no punches in describing the impact of the events on Willa.  In fact, there is one scene that I had to skim through because it was too gruesome to read and absorb every detail. 

If you start this book, keep in mind that this is the type of story that needs to be seen through to the resolution.  If you are not prepared to travel with Willa as she grows and changes in the face of horrific events, you will miss the heart of the story and could end up just experiencing disturbing scenes. 

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