I Read Banned Books
by Susan Beth Pfeffer
Release date: September 12th, 2011
from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
I received this book on Friday, September 16th and couldn't wait to get started on it. This book is a departure from string of dystopian, fantasy, paranormal genres that I have been reading. Sometimes you just need a more realistic, albeit sad, story. The title Blood Wounds takes on different meanings throughout the book, which I rather enjoyed discovering.
Willa is lucky: She has a loving blended family that gets along. Not all families are so fortunate. But when a bloody crime takes place hundreds of miles away, it has an explosive effect on Willa’s peaceful life. The estranged father she hardly remembers has murdered his new wife and children, and is headed east toward Willa and her mother.
Under police protection, Willa discovers that her mother has harbored secrets that are threatening to boil over. Has everything Willa believed about herself been a lie? As Willa sets out to untangle the mysteries of her past, she keeps her own secret—one that has the potential to tear her family apart.
Willa's voice is raw, emotional, and relateable. I was shocked when her "secret" was first revealed, though, sadly, I think it is more common these days and something that needs to be addressed and not ignored. Willa's life and view of what is true is tossed upside down when she finds out her "blood" father has committed the worst crime imaginable and could be headed her way. What shocks her most is the fact that not only are her sisters dead, but she didn't even know they existed. All she can think about is going back to the town her mom left to say goodbye to the family she never met.
Since Willa has two step-sisters, her life is not the only one affected by the recent actions of her "blood" father. You get a little glimpse of how this event eventually changes her whole family. While her mom and step-dad are against her going back to Texas for the funerals, a family friend understands Willa's need for closure and to find more about that part of her.
While Willa thinks about cutting, which is the "secret" that she thinks she had kept hidden from her family, she doesn't do it while in Texas. To me this is a sign that she realizes she doesn't need it, though she doesn't recognize it until later. Through emotional highs and lows, Willa discovers where she came from and gets to know an older brother she hasn't seen since she was a baby. Once she returns home, Brooke confronts her about the cutting and promises not to tell. When given the opportunity to cut again, Willa decides to seek help from her family. In a brave move, she shocks her family by revealing that she cuts and wants help to stop. Willa starts out as a quiet girl who wants to please everyone and through the emotional tragedy that hit her family Willa discovers that it's okay for a family to disagree and still love each other.
This book addresses emotions and issues teens deal with on some level and I think it can help those who feel alone realize that all they need to do is seek help from those they love. It can also open the eyes of those that love the one who is hurting. Or, I could just be reading too much into the story, but I was not too far into the book when I realized that many teens today should read this book as the subject of cutting is sadly more common or known that it used to be.
I gave this book 3.5 stars and would recommend it you are looking for a real and emotional story. I think this is one that people should read, especially if you know someone or a teenager who is hurting.