Friday, December 23, 2011

Blood Wounds by Susan Beth Pfeffer

Edition: Hardcover, 248 pages
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin, Harcourt
Release Date: September 2011
Genre: Contemporary fiction, thriller, family drama
Other Books By Author: Life as We Knew It, The Dead And Gone, This World We Live In
Overall Rating: 3/5

Synopsis from Goodreads

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.

After having read Pfeffer's The Last Survivors series (i.e. Life as We Knew It), I was looking forward to her new book. Blood Wounds sounds like a contemporary story of a dysfunctional family but it's much more of a almost sinister thriller. Having gruesomely murdered his young family, Willa's father threatens not only Willa and her mother's safety but the pasted-together lives of Willa's stepfamily. Expected to push the terrible event and move on, Willa is unable to without first knowing what her mother fled from all those years ago. Battling torment herself, Willa's trip back to her roots allows Willa to see her life and family in a new perspective.
I didn't expect this book to be so much of a edgy thriller...and a murder like that? Gory. At first I didn't think I'd like Blood Wounds and although it was not a light, "happy" story, in the end, it was a very emotional story of forgiveness and putting the wrongs to rights. Willa is, like I mentioned earlier, a tormented girl. She has grown up not knowing her father or that he was very psychologicaly unstable. Her mother tries to save Willa from the same fate by covering up the past and making sure Willa feels loved by her stepfamily. Things seem happy at Willa's house but as you read on, you come to realize things are never as they seem. 

Pfeffer does an excellent job of bringing to light what it means to make amends with a truly dark circumstance. Because of the somewhat depressing plot, Blood Wounds is not for every reader. I can see readers being put-off by the lack of content or development of the characters or even the "dark" themes of the story. However, I believe the message, perhaps, was suppose to be much more powerful than the content. With this said, I would recommend to intrigued readers ages 14+.

Content Awareness
Ages 14 & up for references to a very gruesome murder. Willa goes over the pretty graphic details of what her father did and how each member was killed. Also, Willa cuts herself around the beginning of the book.

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