January 12, 2012

Blood Wounds by Susan Beth Pfeffer

Title: Blood Wounds
Author: Susan Beth Pfeffer
Pages: 248
Publisher: Harcourt Children’s Books

From bn.com:  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.

Okay, so the above description pretty much covers the plot summary.  I definitely thought that this book was going to be more of a thriller than it turned out to be.  Pfeffer took great care in setting up the family dynamics in the beginning and really laid out how Willa felt about everyone.  We’re then dropped right into the action.  They find out her father killed his family and was on the run, probably towards them.  The family goes into hiding and the initial conflict is, surprisingly (to me at least), wrapped up pretty quickly.  Willa decides that she needs to go to her former hometown to go to pay her respects and go to her sisters funeral.  After that we really start to dig in to the relationships between everyone.  It was very interesting to see how the family dynamics shifted as the story went on.

I really liked how Willa’s memories came to the surface as she revisited the places of her past.  She spent so much of her life sweeping events and memories under the rug that once she started revisiting them, she couldn’t stop.  It changed her whole perspective on the people she had come to know as family and how they treated each other.

I’ve read one of Pfeffer’s other books (Life As We Knew It) and she has this way of putting normal people in these extraordinary circumstances and really showing you who they are and what they’re made of.  I want to say that I enjoyed this book, but I don’t really think that’s the right way to put it.  I’m glad I read it, but the situations in it don’t exactly make it a pleasurable read.

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