In Julia Hoban’s powerful debut novel about loss and grieving, we meet Willow whose emotional pain of her parent’s death is too much for her to bear.  She masks that pain with a physical pain – cutting – it has been her savior for many months helping her cope. I picked up Willow on Friday and by Sunday I had the book finished.  The first few pages hooked me and from that point it was hard to put down.

Willow lost her parents in a tragic accident.  It was a stormy night and her parents asked her to drive home because they drank a little too much.  Even though Willow is not blamed for the accident, the guilt and the loss she feels is overwhelming.  Too overwhelming. People cope with loss in different ways.  Some people cope using healthy methods while others cope with using destructive tendencies.  Willow falls into the second category.

She does a pretty good job of hiding her cutting from her family and classmates but one day a young man named Guy stumbles upon her secret.  He really wants to tell her brother but agrees not to though from that point on he makes it a point to not let her self-destruct. A bond is formed and love among the ruins even starts to blossom.  Slowly Willow learns to face her pain, the question that remains is if the love and support she desperately needs be enough or will the love affair with the razor continue on?