I stayed up until 4am last night reading this book and just had to finish it. I was not expecting it to be what it was so I really wanted to go ahead and put this review up right away. This is an early copy I received on Netgalley but that in no way, shape, or form impacts my review. I hope you guys enjoy!
Willa of the Wood by Robert Beatty
Release Date: July 10, 2018
Move without a sound. Steal without a trace.
Willa, a young night-spirit of the Great Smoky Mountains, is her clan’s best thief. She creeps into the homes of day-folk under cover of darkness and takes what they won’t miss. It’s dangerous work-the day-folk kill whatever they do not understand–but Willa will do anything to win the approval of the padaran, the charismatic leader of the Faeran people.
When Willa’s curiosity leaves her hurt and stranded in the day world, she calls upon an ancient, unbreakable bond to escape. Only then does she discover the truth: not all day-folk are the same, and the foundations that have guarded the Faeran for eons are under attack.
As forces of unfathomable destruction encroach on her home, Willa must decide who she truly is. To save the day-folk family that has become her own–and lift the curse that has robbed her people of their truth–Willa will meet deadly force with trusted alliance, violence with shelter, and an ever-changing world with a steady heartbeat of courage.
This is a middle grade novel that I requested on Netgalley mainly because the cover pulled my in. I loved he nature aspect of the book and decided to request it. As it is a middle grade, I was expecting an easy read with not much to it. I was SOOOO wrong.
Throughout this book we follow Willa who seems to never be able to fit in with her culture. Having lost everyone except her grandmother, Willa feels as though she does not belong in her clan since they are so much different from her ancestors. The old Faeran way has been abandoned and Willa and her grandmother are the only two who still speak that language and practice this particular type of magic. The two of them are faced with a lot of repression and discrimination due to their distinct ways.
We get to see all of the amazing abilities Willa posses such as communicating with animals and being one with the forest as a whole to the point where she can infuse dead trees with her own life. This was probably my favorite aspect of the novel. The way the author talks about nature and the animals is just so beautiful and seeing it as Willa does, like everything has a right to live and she is there to exist within the forest without interrupting any living creature.
So many lessons are taught in this middle grade that I really was no expecting. Family, loss, power, deforestation, acceptance, rebellion, and belonging are just a few of the topics that are strongly displayed.
I feel like I can’t do this book justice in just writing this review but all I can say is you won’t regret reading this. If you want to read a magical and powerful book about a young girl who ventures off to learn the ways of the world on her own, having already suffered through so much, go check this book out.
I honestly love being totally surprised by a book. I was really expecting to not enjoy this one nearly as much as I did but now I have a new nook to recommend to friends and family.
What do you guys think of this book? Will you pick it up? What is a book that caught you off guard, for either better or worse?
Thanks for reading!