“Blood Wounds” by Susan Beth Pfeffer
Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Contemporary
Source: ARC from my former workplace
Summary from Amazon:
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.
I picked this book up because the summary intrigued me and scared me. It’s an interesting idea. Having someone you don’t really know completely shatter your life in a few hours? I’ll read about it. It’s also terrifying because things like that happen in “real life” far too often. I’ve seen enough Law and Order episodes to prove it. 😛
The story actually ended up being fairly interesting. It follows Willa from before the murders to after the murders while she tries to piece things back together. I mean, how in the world do you “get back to normal” after something like that? I don’t think you can. I always find it fascinating to mentally compare how fictional characters something to how you would do something in his/her shoes.
While the ideas of the story were interesting, the execution wasn’t great. Everything felt unnatural and forced. I get that Willa experienced a traumatic event but bossing her parents around and letting her have her way seemed a bit excessive and unrealistic. The tension between Willa and her step sisters/dad was really bizarre. Did they really not get how unfair it is for them to get everything they want and Willa gets nothing? Are they really that oblivious?
Then there was the issue of cutting. I know cutting is a very serious issue but the way the book dealt with it made is seem like it was a small issue. It almost seemed like the author felt like the book wasn’t dramatic enough so she needed a little something extra to make it dramatic. That bothered me a lot.
The writing was enjoyable and smooth. I was able to plow through it in an afternoon. The story did keep me glued so that was nice.
The bottom line? Eh. Interesting idea but I wasn’t into the story.