Blood Wounds by Susan Beth Pfeffer
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Release Date: September 12, 2011
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. (From HMH)
I’ve read Susan Beth Pfeffer’s Moon series last year and loved it so much that when I found out she was coming out with a new book I was all down for it. I couldn’t wait to read more from her and seeing what this story would be all about. Unfortunately though I was left a little disappointed, from reading the synopsis and seeing that haunting cover I expected to get into something dark and intense but I ended up having a hard time connecting with the characters and immersing myself emotionally like I usually do when I read an intense book.
I thought the synopsis was kind of misleading, the part about Willa’s father only takes less than a third of the book and it was very sudden and resolved pretty quickly. The story focuses more on Willa trying to connect with the old town and the family that her mother ran away from, figuring out who her father really was and what would drive him to do such despicable acts. I like seeing the aspects of these different families and the small town where her mother and father came from, how dysfunctional it all was.
Blood Wounds did get my anger boiling, there were times when I wanted to scream at Willa to speak her mind or her mother to snap out of it and do something for her daughter for a change, especially towards the end when things start to change even more for Willa’s family. Willa on the other hand is not an emotional person but hides her feelings and stress deep until she can’t hold it anymore and she has the urge to cut herself for release. I wished that part of the story of Willa’s deep emotional distress and her cutting would’ve had more of an important part of the novel, instead it just kind of gets mentioned a couple of times and it’s pushed to the backburner. I thought that could’ve been really important. I wanted to actually be able to feel a bit more connected to her during those emotional times and I just didn’t, her feelings didn’t pop out of the pages at me, they weren’t really there in my opinion. Even though I liked Willa, most of the characters in the story felt a bit flat, you really only get a few snippets of them and don’t really get to know them much especially Willa’s family. I was often confused at times trying to figure out who was who.
What I liked seeing in this story was the differences between people that come from small towns and bigger ones, the differences in society and psychological aspects of it, and how you may think things look perfectly fine on the surface but they’re really not. How most people have their own demons that they’re hiding but you can’t really see them until they released them or you dig deep. Like I said I didn’t love it as much as I expected to but it was still a pretty good and fast read.