Saturday, January 5, 2013

Blood Wounds by Susan Beth Pfeffer

Published: Sept 2011
Publisher: Harcourt Children's Books
Pages: 248
Copy Provided by: Library
Summary: 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? 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.

I wasn't sure what to expect from this title.  It was actually the author's name which attracted me.  I've been meaning to read Susan Beth Pfeffer's Last Survivor's series for a long time.  There were many faucets of this novel which would be great for an ISU project.  Willa is part of a blended family where there are the "haves" and the "have nots".  Unfortunately, she is one of the "have not" family members.  The relationships and family dynamics in this novel are fascinating and complex.  Lots to pick apart here if you are a high school student looking for a short and easy novel to read.  

One of the things I was surprised about in Blood Wounds was the impact of Ms. Pfeffer's words and the brutality of Willa's story.  This is not for a younger audience.  Willa's estranged step-father brutally murders his current family and there are details about the murders.  It triggers Willa's need to be accepted in a family and re-evaluate her current role as a sister and daughter.  Another dynamic to this story mentioned briefly was cutting.  When I was in school, this was not something that teens did but I am finding more and more mention of it in teen reads nowadays.  Blood Wounds describes Willa's physical release of pain and stress as she cuts.  There is much disparity between her and her step sisters both in love and in money.  She feels like she is not truly a member of the family and the issue comes to light as she re-connects with a step-brother she has barely known.


  1. I really liked Blood Wounds. It was definitely darker than I expected it to be but I like books like that.

  2. This was a unique read, I think. I liked how everyone was so happy -- life was perfect -- but just underneath the surface, everything was really not at all "OK." She did a great job telling the story. Here’s my review if you are interested.