Holly Goldberg Sloan
I've been seeing this book on Overdrive a lot. I looked at it, the cover is definitely eye catching. But it's children's fiction and I have enough on my TBR list - lol. My youngest son chose this the other night as the book for me to read to him. About 2 paragraphs in, he pronounced it "BORING!" and refused to listen to anymore.
Don't listen to him, it's anything but boring. It's a story about Willow, a very special little girl who has some big hardships to get through. I literally sobbed through the last few pages...my poor husband is probably wondering what is wrong with me.
Willow is independent and wickedly smart. She's not great with people, but it doesn't really bother her too much. Sometimes she feels the whole from not having friends, but mostly she just keeps moving forward. Even when she starts a new school, and is confident that she will finally make some friends, she is not thwarted when she realizes that she is still an outsider.
When she stumbles upon an older girl, she decides that she likes her and takes steps to make friends. She actually teachers herself Vitnamese to ease communication. Mai is so impressed, that they really do end up becoming friends.
When her parents both die in a tragic accident, Willow is touched by all the people that step up in her life to help her. She isn't good at expressing it, but she is amazed at all the effort everyone has gone through. The best part, though, is how everyone is touched by having Willow in their life. We see everyone improving by degrees, while hoping Willow finds her old self that she buried with her parents.
Just the way everyone steps up to protect her and care for her, that's what had me sobbing. This story is beautiful, finely sculpted, sometimes very funny, sometimes intensely sad.
It says in the description that this isn't a tragedy, and it really isn't. It's a wonderful tale about overcoming hardship, rolling with change, and stepping up to help people even if they can't ask for it.