Third Willow by Lenore Skomal
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
****There are minor spoilers in this post****
I still have no idea why this was on my to-read list. I think I must have entered a giveaway and put it on there, but didn't win, and forgot about it. And the only reason I started reading it was because it was available to read in its entirety from the website.
The book was problematic for me, mostly because nothing actually happens while you're reading. All the action is told in retrospect, in memory, in "thinking back to that moment so many hours ago", which after a few instances can become bothersome but through the entirety of the book is irritating. You get the story in bits and pieces, in all sorts of orders, and through the eyes of the kids who, lord knows if they're even telling it right. Because how far can you trust a child narrator?
Much of the action also seems disconnected from the rest of the story. For example, the stranger in town that the children are scared of, his side story has nothing to do with the rest of what happens, especially since the children all keep silent about what they witnessed and nothing ever comes of it.
Beah's flirtation with being a lesbian doesn't seem to fit either, and neither does her discovery that she's adopted. I suppose the adoption could explain her relationship with her mother, but even that wasn't delved into too deeply. The children's parents show up in the background, without truly affecting the children's points of view. Patsy becomes really good at lying to her parents, who just sit back and take it. No punishment for anything ever gets in the way. And Raz, a background character who has almost no development outside of being smart and gorgeous, simply defers to her father's judgment in everything except one.
The ending was too dramatic for the rest of the story, and I'm not sure I agree with how Hap's situation was handled.
A semantics issue but still bothersome: every now and then the author would slip a little bit of Midwestern drawl into the narration, such as "t'other". It was rare and randomly done, which ended up pulling me out of the story and into a "huh?" type moment. If it were written that way all the way through, it wouldn't have been so glaringly obvious. But it seemed that the author was trying too hard to get the Midwestern dialect into the story.
2/5 stars because I didn't enjoy it, but it wasn't terrible. Just not for me, I guess.
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