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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

"Blood Wounds" by Susan Beth Pfeffer ~YA Family Dynamics

Overview Blood can both wound and heal . . . 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? But as Willa sets out to untangle the mysteries of her past, she also keeps her own secret—one that has the potential to tear apart all she holds dear.

Particulars of the Book :
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date: 9/4/2012
Pages: 256
Author:  Susan Beth Pfeffer
Genre:  YA fiction/general

About the Author :

SUSAN BETH PFEFFER is the author of many books for teens, including Life As We Knew It, The Dead and The Gone, and the bestselling novel The Year Without Michael. She lives in Middletown, New York.

The Dame's Review:

I'm a fan of Susan Beth Pfeffer's.  I absolutely loved her "Life As We Knew It" post apocalyptic series in the YA genre.  She has a fine eye for the YA crowd, and her books fit easily into the "cross over" fiction that I love to tell my readers about.  "Blood Wounds" is another of these books that YAs and adults will like reading.

Pferrer hits your interest from the beginning chapters as we learn about Willa and her juxtaposition of a dialog that tells us how special/loving her family is, versus the conflicting storyline that shows a family that allows her to be left alone and to forge her own way through a horror show of a personal crisis.  As a reader, I was swept up in this book's ability to keep me "fooled" with the conflicting stories...even to the point of wondering if the author knew what she was doing!  It was genius!  I loved how she brought the whole thing to a head in the later parts.  It's a wonderful ploy and one I don't want to destroy more by giving away here.

The characters in this novel are interesting and well worth investing in throughout.  I found Willa to be a particularly well-rounded and absorbing one.  However, the other characters are less developed than I'd like them to have been.  Her lost half-brother, in particular, was an engaging figure, but only developed in a shallow manner.  And, I thought her mother, though we learn a good deal about her, could have had more depth; as well as her step-father.  Adjunct characters such as a best friend of her mothers is rich and most enjoyable to read in the story.

The plot having to do with Willa's bloody biological father, her own "cutting" that mimicked his psychological bent in a minute way, and the dysfunctional family dynamics she finds herself in makes the book captivating.  This is a book I couldn't read fast enough to suit myself.

All in all, Susan Beth Pfeffer wrote another novel I can recommend to readers of all ages.  There's meat here psychologically for everyone.  The story is fraught with warnings about settling for less than we should as individuals and family members.  There is also good wisdom and advice about the psychological manifestation of "cutting."  The writing style is enjoyable.

4 stars                        Deborah/TheBookishDame



This looks good with all this psychological stuff. I love books like that! Great review!


Not my genre but I like the review and I wanted to stop over and say hi.


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