Title: Blood Wounds
Author: Susan Beth Pfeffer
Publisher: Harcourt Children's Books
Publish Date: Sept. 12, 2011
Source: Around The World ARC Tours
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.
When I read the synopsis for this book I thought I was in for a suspenseful, action-packed thriller. Yeah, I was wrong. I was thinking I would be reading about Willa in a Witness Protection kind of program while her crazy father stalked her and she found out crazy secrets her mom had kept. Hmmm...yeah, wrong again! I was very disappointed in this book. This is not to say that you won't like it but it wasn't what I expected at all.
Willa is living with her mom and step-dad and two step-sisters. Her family is very happy and seems to have it all. Plus, they get along great. Until the one night when Willa's real dad goes on a killing rampage and comes after Willa and her mom. Then secrets come out and Willa has no clue who she really is anymore.
I found this book to be extremely unrealistic is so many ways. There are a ton of unanswered questions that never get resolved. Why in the world did Willa's father kill his family? Why was he coming after her? How did the police know he was coming after her? Why did Willa feel this extreme closeness to a family she never even knew?
The story starts out with Willa's mom's best friend calling in a panic wanting to make sure that Terri (Willa's mom) is okay. When Willa finally gets ahold of her mom's friend, she is told that "Budge" has done something bad and her mom may be in danger. Then the police show up. Since no one is able to get ahold of Terri, the police go ahead and tell Willa that her father has killed his current wife and three daughters and is now on his way to find Willa. There are no parents there and Willa is forced to deal with this herself. Yeah, police don't do that. I know...I married to one. There is always a parent/grandparent or even a neighbor there.
There is a very short section with Willa and her mom in police protection. There is no suspense, no action, no scary stuff. It's actually quite boring. Then, Willa's father is caught (which is yet another weird, unexplained and unrealistic scene) and that's the end of the exciting part.
Willa is then adamant that she attend the funerals of her father's family. Why? She wasn't even aware that they existed but she felt such a strong bond towards them? I find that hard to believe. But she heads down to Texas and finds out that she will inherit everything that there is to inherit. Again, I am not sure how the laws work in Texas but I know here (in Washington) a step-child is not entitled anything from the step-mom unless she's in the Will. Just because her step-sister died last, Willa is entitled to it. Didn't ring true to me.
Then there is the fact that Willa cuts herself. Only, she does it in the first few chapters when she is stressed about her living step-sisters, school, etc. Easy things. Then she has to deal with the extremely stressful, potentially dangerous time and she doesn't cut herself at all. In fact, she doesn't even talk about it and I forgot she even did it until the end. Faced with having to move again during her senior year, she wants to start cutting again. I would have thought she would have needed to cut during all the trauma but maybe I just don't understand because I have never cut.
Willa's character is almost perfect. She is polite, obeys her parents, gives up everything with no problem. Yeah right...she is 16. I'm thinking not. She hardly ever let her emotions go and when she did, an adult, whether it was her parents or her parents' friends would reel her back in. There was hardly any fighting, no major anger, nothing. And when Willa decides to go to Texas, her parents don't want her to but her "grandma" friend volunteers not only to go with her but to pay for it, her parents give up the fight. Then they don't even go with her because her mom vowed to never go back. Really?!
So, I was very disappointed with this book. It wasn't at all what I was expecting or hoping for. The synopsis is a bit misleading and the plot is lacking. The characters are not well-formed at all and there are too many questions left over at the end. But, that's only my opinion. Pick it up and give it a try if you want and let me know what you though!