Willow, by Julia Hoban, does a good job with a very difficult topic – cutting behavior (self-injury). Seventeen year-old Willow recently lost her parents and has begun cutting herself in secret in an attempt to cope with her enormous grief. “Cutters” are often viewed in the same way as people with other psychiatric illnesses — with fear and disgust rather than compassion and empathy. Through Willow, Hoban helps to change this perspective as she walks us through the desperation and deep sadness that underlies cutting behavior.

— Lisa