Blood Wounds by Susan Beth Pfeffer is a very quick read, wonderful for the reluctant reader in your life, as it’s not a struggle to get through. Willa Coffey, the protagonist, lives a perfectly happy life with her mom, stepfather, and two stepsisters. Everyone in her blended family seems to get along. Life for Willa, however, is interrupted when her estranged father murders his wife and children in Texas, then makes his way east towards Willa and her mother.
Blood Wounds is a book of secrets, from Willa’s cutting to her mother’s buried past. These secrets keep the book fast paced. The pages keep turning quickly with each new reveal. However, I’m not exactly sure there were enough pages for the scope of the story to be maximized. It’s almost as though there is too much stuffed within the pages.
For example, the bit on cutting. Now, cutting is a very real, very serious problem, but it seems as though it’s merely used as a toss away plot device in Blood Wounds and the catalyst for one of the final events. To me, it did not feel like an integral part of the story. Honestly, it was more superficial than anything. I think perhaps I would feel differently if more time in the plot was spent on the cutting aspect.
As for Willa as a character, she is very likable with her shyness and vulnerability. She’s not perfect at all, although she tries to not make waves or cause confrontation, yet festering below the surface is years of resentment for her affluent stepsisters who have many more opportunities and privileges in life than Willa ever will have. I thought Willa’s motivations were sensible and logical, however, I wish the story had shown more of her motivations through action, rather than the narrator telling us.
If you are looking for the next Life As We Knew It, Blood Wounds isn’t it. While Life As We Knew It had well developed characters, plotting, and voice, Blood Wounds really only has pacing going for it. I think it tries to do too much. However, if you go in simply expecting a solid plot and a fast read, I think you will enjoy Susan Beth Pfeffer’s latest.
Disclosure: Received for review via Amazon Vine.
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