Book View: Diamond Willow

Book View: Diamond WillowDiamond Willow by Helen Frost
Published by Farrar Straus & Giroux (BYR) on April 2008
Pages: 128

There’s more to me than most people see.

Twelve-year-old Willow would rather blend in than stick out. But she still wants to be seen for who she is. She wants her parents to notice that she is growing up. She wants her best friend to like her better than she likes a certain boy. She wants, more than anything, to mush the dogs out to her grandparents’ house, by herself, with Roxy in the lead. But sometimes when it’s just you, one mistake can have frightening consequences . . . And when Willow stumbles, it takes a surprising group of friends to help her make things right again.

Using diamond-shaped poems inspired by forms found in polished diamond willow sticks, Helen Frost tells the moving story of Willow and her family. Hidden messages within each diamond carry the reader further, into feelings Willow doesn’t reveal even to herself.

Short & Sweet:
Told in verse, Diamond Willow tells the story of Willow in verse and then her ancestors in animal form in regular prose. Willow lives in Alaska and is finally allowed to make a sled dog journey on her own, twelve miles to her grandparents. On the way back, there is a fallen log and one of her dogs becomes hurt and may be blinded for the rest of her life. This novel was well written, with smaller messages within the poems that are bold and show what Willow is thinking as the novel goes on. The integration of Indian culture adds to the story, various animal ancestors helping guide Willow on her journeys. I loved the shifts in point of view throughout this book. Also, the hidden messages within each page from Willow's point of view really let readers glimpse into her emotions and feelings throughout the story.

Final Verdict:
An easy and moving read, it should appeal to struggling readers and those who enjoy stories in verse.


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