Written from the vantage point of a ten-year-old and spanning until she is sixteen, in The Book of Polly, Willow Havens shares her angst with the reader in a humorous and revealing way. Willow’s mother was over 50 when Willow was born and her mom is very secretive about her past. Her older brother and sister are grown up and long gone, so Willow is left to her own devices. Her biggest worry is her mother dying since she is an older mother. Willow deals with typical teenager woes like young love and trying to be cool even though she is poor and her mother is not mainstream.
Hepinstall offers the reader a vast cast of characters, each with their own history and idiosyncrasies. The varied characters keep the story moving along and the reader interested in what Willow’s mom’s past holds. Willow is a likeable character dealing with a lot and the reader will connect with her. Hepinstall’s writing is descriptive and this reviewer found many passages that were written beautifully. The story is unpredictable; the characters are diverse, but very human and flawed and it is easy to be pulled into the story. Read this one, laugh, and be glad your teenage years are behind you.
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