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Willa of the Wood (Willa #1)

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Escape into the story of a brave and unusual girl brimming with the ancient powers of the forest. From Robert Beatty, the author of the #1 New York Times best-selling Serafina books, comes a thrilling new series filled with the history, mystery, and magic of the Great Smoky Mountains. Kirkus Reviews described WILLA OF THE WOOD as "A moving, atmospheric journey of hope." Mov Escape into the story of a brave and unusual girl brimming with the ancient powers of the forest. From Robert Beatty, the author of the #1 New York Times best-selling Serafina books, comes a thrilling new series filled with the history, mystery, and magic of the Great Smoky Mountains. Kirkus Reviews described WILLA OF THE WOOD as "A moving, atmospheric journey of hope." Move without a sound. Steal without a trace. Willa, a young night-spirit, is her clan's best thief. She creeps into the cabins of the day-folk under cover of darkness and takes what they won't miss. It's dangerous work--the day-folk kill whatever they don't understand--but Willa will do anything to win the approval of the padaran, the charismatic leader of the Faeran people. When Willa's curiosity leaves her hurt and stranded in the day-folk world, she calls upon the old powers of her beloved grandmother, and the unbreakable bonds of her forest allies, to escape. Only then does she begin to discover the shocking truth: that not all of her day-folk enemies are the same, and that the foundations of her own Faeran society are crumbling. What do you do when you realize that the society you were born and raised in is rife with evil? Do you raise your voice? Do you stand up against it? As forces of unfathomable destruction encroach on her forest home, Willa must decide who she truly is, facing deadly force with warmest compassion, sinister corruption with trusted alliance, and finding a home for her longing heart.


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Escape into the story of a brave and unusual girl brimming with the ancient powers of the forest. From Robert Beatty, the author of the #1 New York Times best-selling Serafina books, comes a thrilling new series filled with the history, mystery, and magic of the Great Smoky Mountains. Kirkus Reviews described WILLA OF THE WOOD as "A moving, atmospheric journey of hope." Mov Escape into the story of a brave and unusual girl brimming with the ancient powers of the forest. From Robert Beatty, the author of the #1 New York Times best-selling Serafina books, comes a thrilling new series filled with the history, mystery, and magic of the Great Smoky Mountains. Kirkus Reviews described WILLA OF THE WOOD as "A moving, atmospheric journey of hope." Move without a sound. Steal without a trace. Willa, a young night-spirit, is her clan's best thief. She creeps into the cabins of the day-folk under cover of darkness and takes what they won't miss. It's dangerous work--the day-folk kill whatever they don't understand--but Willa will do anything to win the approval of the padaran, the charismatic leader of the Faeran people. When Willa's curiosity leaves her hurt and stranded in the day-folk world, she calls upon the old powers of her beloved grandmother, and the unbreakable bonds of her forest allies, to escape. Only then does she begin to discover the shocking truth: that not all of her day-folk enemies are the same, and that the foundations of her own Faeran society are crumbling. What do you do when you realize that the society you were born and raised in is rife with evil? Do you raise your voice? Do you stand up against it? As forces of unfathomable destruction encroach on her forest home, Willa must decide who she truly is, facing deadly force with warmest compassion, sinister corruption with trusted alliance, and finding a home for her longing heart.

30 review for Willa of the Wood (Willa #1)

  1. 5 out of 5

    Noha Badawi

    Absolutely fantastic! The perfect mix of adventure, fantasy and excitement. Thank you Disney Hyperion for my advance reader copy {full review}

  2. 4 out of 5

    Mlpmom (Book Reviewer)

    Not having been familiar with this author's other novels, I had zero expectations going into this, other than to have a great time. With the cute cover and fun sounding synopsis, I was sure, if nothing else, that was exactly what I was going to get. Can I just say that I love all the heart in this book? It was so much fun but it was so much more than just a good read. It has meaning and feeling. I loved the unexpected depth of Willa's love for her people and her woods. The setting was perfect and Not having been familiar with this author's other novels, I had zero expectations going into this, other than to have a great time. With the cute cover and fun sounding synopsis, I was sure, if nothing else, that was exactly what I was going to get. Can I just say that I love all the heart in this book? It was so much fun but it was so much more than just a good read. It has meaning and feeling. I loved the unexpected depth of Willa's love for her people and her woods. The setting was perfect and so picturesque that it felt like you were transported right into the very heart of Willa's story. I loved Willa's adventurous heart and her strong spirit. The twists were a nice surprise, in fact the whole story was a delightful surprise and one I'm so very glad I took the time to read. It truly makes me want to pick up the author's other work and check it out as well. *ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.*

  3. 4 out of 5

    J.D. Dehart

    Willa of the Wood by Robert Beatty is a beautifuly written book that can reach a wide range of audiences. Avid upper elementary readers would be swept in by the engaging central character of Willa, as well as the magic that punctuates this story. Middle school, high school, and even adult readers would find similar positive connects to the narrative, as well. What is more, there is a sense of place that grounds this and the rest of this series. As someone who has spent time on at least three occa Willa of the Wood by Robert Beatty is a beautifuly written book that can reach a wide range of audiences. Avid upper elementary readers would be swept in by the engaging central character of Willa, as well as the magic that punctuates this story. Middle school, high school, and even adult readers would find similar positive connects to the narrative, as well. What is more, there is a sense of place that grounds this and the rest of this series. As someone who has spent time on at least three occasions exploring Asheville, North Carolina, and the Biltmore Estate, the book brought back memories of the grounds and the forest and mountains surrounding this area. Willa of the Wood would take a center stage in my classroom or school library, and would be recommended reading for my students. I would also extend this invitation to others looking for a quality read that shines as an example of young adult literature.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Emery

    I recieved a copy of Willa of the Wood as part of the review team. Willa of the Wood wasn't only one of the best books I have ever read, but but one of the most meaningful. Willa is very determined to keep her wood safe. She loves the wood with all her heart, because it is one of her best friends. Willa ever since she was little she was taught to hate humans. They were cutting down the wood, her home. Soon Willa learned to love the thing she hated most. I would recommend this book to anyone who I recieved a copy of Willa of the Wood as part of the review team. Willa of the Wood wasn't only one of the best books I have ever read, but but one of the most meaningful. Willa is very determined to keep her wood safe. She loves the wood with all her heart, because it is one of her best friends. Willa ever since she was little she was taught to hate humans. They were cutting down the wood, her home. Soon Willa learned to love the thing she hated most. I would recommend this book to anyone who loves a page turner and suspense.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Valerie

    This is the kind of story that draws you in and holds you captive! It's the kind of story I would have loved as a youth. Willa loves the woods. She protects them from the humans even as she steals from them. That's how she survives. Raised to belief deeply in the magic and strength of the Smoky Mountains, her world is not flat, not round but mountains. The author has a magical style that draws you in and has you wondering about what people believe compared to what is. It's one of those books tha This is the kind of story that draws you in and holds you captive! It's the kind of story I would have loved as a youth. Willa loves the woods. She protects them from the humans even as she steals from them. That's how she survives. Raised to belief deeply in the magic and strength of the Smoky Mountains, her world is not flat, not round but mountains. The author has a magical style that draws you in and has you wondering about what people believe compared to what is. It's one of those books that's beautiful in its ability to make you think. Willa grew-up believing one thing about her people and about the humans. But life isn't always what one has been taught. And figuring that out what it is really is the point of growing up. Willa is a well developed character with a deep love of the animals around her. She is compassionate and strong. A small woodpecker she helps and the wolves who help her are put a small example of her adventures. But it is strangers coming together that really makes this story come alive. A magical journey to see that others have a different (not bad) way of doing things. As the twists and turns of this one conclude, it's been a satisfying journey. I haven't read this author before so I didn't have any expectations. I'm glad I took the time to check it out and enjoy the magic in it's pages. It's definitely a good one for middle grade but could be enjoyed by all ages.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Cristine Mermaid

    I was feeling down and looking for something fantastical and ethereal and my co-worker/friend lent me this ARC. I read it within a couple of days. It is an amazing tale of a creature that is tied to nature and lives a magical life of being able to communicate with and interact with the woods and all that live in it. However, this is not a sweet fairy tale. It is violent and brutal and cruel at times. I actually was a bit surprised that it was considered Juve because while I highly recommend this I was feeling down and looking for something fantastical and ethereal and my co-worker/friend lent me this ARC. I read it within a couple of days. It is an amazing tale of a creature that is tied to nature and lives a magical life of being able to communicate with and interact with the woods and all that live in it. However, this is not a sweet fairy tale. It is violent and brutal and cruel at times. I actually was a bit surprised that it was considered Juve because while I highly recommend this, I would definitely mention this to anyone purchasing it. That said, Willa is a delight. She is brave and charming and sparkly and I very much cared what happened to her. The story is action packed and centers around her making discoveries about her past, her family, and her family ties to witchcraft (woodwitches). There were so many amazing moments, from her talking to the trees that cradle her to sleep to her blending into the woods and becoming part of them to the descriptions of the Smokey Mountains and how they breathe life into the world with their morning fog. There are also strong themes of love and belonging that were incredibly moving and heartwarming without becoming cheesy . It made me want to go run away and live in the woods...enchanting.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Ava Welch

    I received a copy of this book for an early review. I really enjoyed this book. I really like how Willa is a very strong, and brave girl even through the tough times. I think that Willa is a very inspirational character all throughout the book, from start to finish. This book will make you hungry for more!!

  8. 4 out of 5

    Theresa Grissom

    Thanks to Netgalley for an ARC of this book. If you loved Serafina, you will love Willa. Not as scary as the Serafina series but just as interesting and intense. Can't wait to get my hands on a hardback of this and share it with students at school!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Alyssa Barton

    I received an advance proof of Willa of the Wood. A phenomenal book, Willa of the Wood has deep characters, a complex plot, and a mysterious world that has us all gripped at the first pages. This thrilling book gives readers an inside look at a unique girl that has a few tricks up her sleeves. We see how strangers can become family, an underdog can rise, and how the truth always prevails. Other than some grammatical errors that can be fixed quickly, this magical book ranks up top with the Harry P I received an advance proof of Willa of the Wood. A phenomenal book, Willa of the Wood has deep characters, a complex plot, and a mysterious world that has us all gripped at the first pages. This thrilling book gives readers an inside look at a unique girl that has a few tricks up her sleeves. We see how strangers can become family, an underdog can rise, and how the truth always prevails. Other than some grammatical errors that can be fixed quickly, this magical book ranks up top with the Harry Potter series.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Megan Hillard

    There is no one — again I say, no one — who can write the mountains of NC like Robert Beatty. I just… Willa of the Wood fully captured the essence of the Great Smokies. The sense of wonder that you get when watching the mists weave through the mountains and knowing that, like the tide, this has stayed the same throughout generations and centuries and millennia. The smoke always moves to both hide and reveal, and all we can do is watch and revere. My experience with this book was pretty A+ all aro There is no one — again I say, no one — who can write the mountains of NC like Robert Beatty. I just… Willa of the Wood fully captured the essence of the Great Smokies. The sense of wonder that you get when watching the mists weave through the mountains and knowing that, like the tide, this has stayed the same throughout generations and centuries and millennia. The smoke always moves to both hide and reveal, and all we can do is watch and revere. My experience with this book was pretty A+ all around. I got a signed copy at the B&N in Asheville on the way to Murphy, NC, where we visited the Cherokee reservation. I started the book sitting on a porch, overlooking the Great Smokies. I was totally feeling this book, and it did not disappoint at all. At times it crossed over into more literary fiction, which was quite unique in an MG book but it worked. Just be warned: this is much much slower than the likes of Percy Jackson, much more character driven and introspective. This style is not better or worse, per se; just different. SO. Willa is my child and I love her. She is brave and resilient and wise beyond her years and she made me feel all kinds of feels. The whole subplot with her and the man Nathaniel brought a smile to my face — there are multiple kinds of grief portrayed in this novel, but also multiple types of healing. I also looooooove what Beatty did in terms of the family we’re born into and the family we choose, and how neither is more or less valid than the other. (view spoiler)[ALSO!!!! I AM ALL FOR NATIVE REPRESENTATION AND THERE ARE THREE *STUNNING* CHEROKEE CHARACTERS WITHIN THESE VERY PAGES ANDDDDD I LOVED THEM ALL!!!! <3 (hide spoiler)] The Faeran society was very fascinating. I loved their connection with nature, with the soul of the world (if you will). It fit with the epic backdrop of the Great Smokies. The plot and character arcs were extremely well done, and foreshadowed so subtly there was one of those awesome AHA! moments when everything just…fell together. ‘Twas marvelous. So yes!!! Give this little gem of a book the love it deserves y’all. WILLA OF THE WOOD was great and smoky at times and did my emotions with the rise and fall of a mountain and I loved every second. <3

  11. 5 out of 5

    Kasey Giard

    Willa of the Wood is the first book by Robert Beatty that I’ve read, though I think I own two of his other books. Judging from the writing style, I really want to read more. I liked the way the scenery seemed to come alive and the deep emotions Willa feels through the story—her longing for companions and her internal wrestling over the wrongness of what her tribe has asked her to do. One of the most powerful characters is Willa’s grandmother. Even though she can’t walk, she has this powerful pres Willa of the Wood is the first book by Robert Beatty that I’ve read, though I think I own two of his other books. Judging from the writing style, I really want to read more. I liked the way the scenery seemed to come alive and the deep emotions Willa feels through the story—her longing for companions and her internal wrestling over the wrongness of what her tribe has asked her to do. One of the most powerful characters is Willa’s grandmother. Even though she can’t walk, she has this powerful presence and a fierce love for Willa and the goodness of the old Faeran ways. It’s this love and wisdom that Willa carries which gets pitted against the fears of her people, and Willa has to decide which way is right—being governed by that fear and allowing it to rule her actions, or daring to love not only her tribe members, but those very different from her, too. I loved the theme of family and adoption in the story, too. Willa feels like an outsider among her Faeran tribe members, and she desperately wants to have meaningful, lasting connections with others. Her journey to find a community where she belongs totally resonated with me. The story as a whole is a bit dark, to be honest. I’d say it’s probably better suited to older elementary school readers and middle school readers might also enjoy it, too, even though the writing style and characters’ ages feel geared a little more toward the eight to twelve range.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Marzie

    I received a Digital Review Copy of this book from Disney Hyperion and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Reader, they had me at river otters. Willa of the Wood is the engaging story of a young girl possessed of forest magic. Like so much of what Robert Beatty has given us in the past, this heroine is a source of hope and inspiration, set in an atmosphere of mystery, wonder, and strife. This is a book for children growing up in our present day, in which children are encouraged to question I received a Digital Review Copy of this book from Disney Hyperion and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Reader, they had me at river otters. Willa of the Wood is the engaging story of a young girl possessed of forest magic. Like so much of what Robert Beatty has given us in the past, this heroine is a source of hope and inspiration, set in an atmosphere of mystery, wonder, and strife. This is a book for children growing up in our present day, in which children are encouraged to question social order and norms and come to their own conclusions about what is good and right and fair. Is hatred of others or of the different ever the right path? Willa learns to question this thought. A wonderful children's story with a sense of suspense, this was a delightful read. Plus, OTTERS! I can heartily recommend this book.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Nori

    Originally posted to Nori's Closet (http://noriscloset.blogspot.com/2018/...) I loved this. Robert Beatty is truly proving himself to be an amazing middle grade author. I loved Serafina. And I had high hopes for Willa. I was not disappointed. I immediately got lost in this beautiful forest of the Great Smoky Mountains, again. I could not put this book down. There’s something magical about this author’s writing style. He just pulls you in and refuses to let you go. Willa wasn’t as instantly loveabl Originally posted to Nori's Closet (http://noriscloset.blogspot.com/2018/...) I loved this. Robert Beatty is truly proving himself to be an amazing middle grade author. I loved Serafina. And I had high hopes for Willa. I was not disappointed. I immediately got lost in this beautiful forest of the Great Smoky Mountains, again. I could not put this book down. There’s something magical about this author’s writing style. He just pulls you in and refuses to let you go. Willa wasn’t as instantly loveable as Serafina. I came to love her over time. But, her heart is just as big and her bravery just as strong. Beatty knows how to write girls who belong in Gryffindor. That being said, my heart was always pounding. There’s always some kind of danger coming and it was never easy to stop reading. The setting was everything. I loved that the forest became its own character. The trees were alive. The animals and creatures had their own system of respect and love. I was fascinated by the wolves who helped her and the bears with their secret healing water. There may have even been a cameo or two of a certain wildcat. And I loved that too. I also could not help myself from making current day connections. I was reading about Willa discovering human children in cages around the same time I was getting news of immigrant children being separated from their parents and placed in cages of their own. It’s eerie how related this book is to current events. Willa was brought up not to question her leader or her “pack.” She was brought up to fear humans because they killed whatever they did not understand, including her parents and twin sister. Yet, something bothered her about this treatment of children. Despite a lifetime of teachings, she knew this was wrong. There’s always a little darkness to Beatty’s books. The first Serafina book involved the kidnapping and possible murders of children. This one has its own darkness. One that revolves around hurting and starving innocent children. Of course, Willa has to go against her people, her leader, and everything she was taught to believe to do what’s right. This book is loaded with kid power. It’s also about Willa connecting with a family that is not hers by blood. She goes back to the humans she steals from in the beginning. She saw compassion in the eyes of her attacker, and grew to love an unlikely family. And that’s a powerful message too. Willa learns to see good in everyone. Not all humans are the same. Everyone has at least a little good in them. This book is about compassion, love, family, and acceptance. It’s about doing the right thing, even though that can be incredibly difficult. It’s about grief and forgiveness too. Really, the more I talk about this book now, the more I love it. If everyone who read this can soak up even a fraction of its goodness, the world would be a better place. I give this a 10/10.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Kimberly Q

    My daughters and I had the privilege of pre-reading Robert Beatty's newest book Willa of the Wood. We all enjoyed the book immensely. My youngest daughter loved the character of Willa and how the author developed not only her "abilities", but also her compassion and kindness. She also enjoyed the way that the animals also cared for their own families and for Willa. I loved the way the author drew you in to the story with his writing style and his descriptive phrases. You could imagine you were i My daughters and I had the privilege of pre-reading Robert Beatty's newest book Willa of the Wood. We all enjoyed the book immensely. My youngest daughter loved the character of Willa and how the author developed not only her "abilities", but also her compassion and kindness. She also enjoyed the way that the animals also cared for their own families and for Willa. I loved the way the author drew you in to the story with his writing style and his descriptive phrases. You could imagine you were in the Great Smokey Mountains with Willa as you read each page. The climax of the book was very good. I never would have guessed the way it all came together in the end. I would highly recommend the book for middle school children up to adults. My daughter told me that she kept wanting to read another chapter. Even as an adult, I felt the same way.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Emmaline Neas

    I received my Willa of the Wood copy as part of the early review team for Robert Beaty. I began reading the book intently trying to dive right into the story line...as the story begins we meet this brand new character Willa, and she’s a little fireball...brave, and fearless, she conquers what she goes after! The novel twist and turns and we realize she is not what we first thought...and the mystery keeps unfolding, the events that move us through the storyline are breath taking and surprising... I received my Willa of the Wood copy as part of the early review team for Robert Beaty. I began reading the book intently trying to dive right into the story line...as the story begins we meet this brand new character Willa, and she’s a little fireball...brave, and fearless, she conquers what she goes after! The novel twist and turns and we realize she is not what we first thought...and the mystery keeps unfolding, the events that move us through the storyline are breath taking and surprising...however as you near the end of the book, you find that you cannot turn the pages fast enough...the story is beyond your wildest dreams. My Review: The beginning of the novel left me stunned at this new character and how surprisingly different she was from everything I had read about, she became a very different type of hero than I had expected but one I quickly wanted to support! The novel moves at a very nice pace at the beginning of the novel steady enough to get the idea...but fast enough to keep your attention...the middle of the book slows down quite a bit to allow you time to process a great wealth of information, which is very important to the final chapters, and then the climax and conclusion are riveting with the novel pressed firmly against your nose you will begin to turn the pages faster and faster until The End....I’m hoping that there will be a second book, because the ending left me wanting to know much more about Willa! My Recommendation: I feel that this novel definitely reaches the middle school audiences the best, there are some very vivid descriptions that I feel like would be best for 12 and up to read with that in mind this book is very unique and one that I highly recommend! And if you like it check out Robert Beauty’s other series: Serafina. Check out my other reviews at: bookcriticblog.simplesite.com

  16. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

    I was NOT expecting this book to mess with my emotions so much! Coherent thoughts later.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Rives

    I read an advance proof of this book. I loved it! Parts of it reminded me of Tolkien ("The Hobbit"). Willa's connection with and defense of nature as well as her ability to harness its power made for a very compelling, suspenseful story. Books like this are essential in a country where our leaders deny climate change and seem determined to dismantle all of our environmental protections.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Ashley

    *Disclaimer: I received this from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.* This book was heartbreaking, magical, and beautiful. Robert Beatty has a way of creating stories with such strong characters, and excellent world building and this book is no exception. There was a bit of mystery in this book, and I did not see the plot twist coming at all. I adored Willa, she was such a strong female character who stood up for what she believed in. I also loved the new relationships that she created. *Disclaimer: I received this from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.* This book was heartbreaking, magical, and beautiful. Robert Beatty has a way of creating stories with such strong characters, and excellent world building and this book is no exception. There was a bit of mystery in this book, and I did not see the plot twist coming at all. I adored Willa, she was such a strong female character who stood up for what she believed in. I also loved the new relationships that she created. I can't wait to read more from this series and to see what happens to Willa next!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Yvonne Richard

    I had the great pleasure of being part of the review team for Willa of the Wood. I was worried that Willa of the Wood would not live up to my expectations as I really loved the books by the author and their setting at Biltmore Estate, however it was amazing! As I began reading Willa of the Wood, I felt myself drifting off to the Smoky Mountains of North Carolina. I could feel myself walking up and down the mountains and smell the pine trees and the wet dewy mornings. As Willa snuck into house of I had the great pleasure of being part of the review team for Willa of the Wood. I was worried that Willa of the Wood would not live up to my expectations as I really loved the books by the author and their setting at Biltmore Estate, however it was amazing! As I began reading Willa of the Wood, I felt myself drifting off to the Smoky Mountains of North Carolina. I could feel myself walking up and down the mountains and smell the pine trees and the wet dewy mornings. As Willa snuck into house of the homesteader, I felt as though I was seeing through her eyes and experiencing everything with her. Her interactions with the forest creatures big and small were so vivid I could not put the book down. As Willa stood up for herself while at the sametime making her enemy look the fool, I could see myself in her. I feared for Willa and her mamaw as the leader of the clan showed his true colors. I cheered for Willa each step of the way as she attempted her escape. Nathaniel and his ways made me thankful for the kindness of strangers. Willa made great sacrifices throughout the story but she never sacrificed her heart.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Crystal M

    kind of dark for a kids book, tbh! violence, death of multiple characters, and death of a society as a whole. Setting: 1800s, appalachain woods Genre: fantasy set in the real world themes: environmentalism, the danger of "us vs them" mentalities in desperate societies, self-sacrifice, the grey area of morality protagonist: Beaty always writes the most badass female protags! she's tough, brave, and soft. misc thoughts: Beaty likes to incorporate animals as characters into the plot, and in general, I' kind of dark for a kids book, tbh! violence, death of multiple characters, and death of a society as a whole. Setting: 1800s, appalachain woods Genre: fantasy set in the real world themes: environmentalism, the danger of "us vs them" mentalities in desperate societies, self-sacrifice, the grey area of morality protagonist: Beaty always writes the most badass female protags! she's tough, brave, and soft. misc thoughts: Beaty likes to incorporate animals as characters into the plot, and in general, I'm not a fan of that, but thats just a personal taste thing. I also was thinking/hoping that he would incorporate more of his previous series ("serafina") into this series bc it was kind of branded that way, and was a lil bummed that those characters didnt really show up as much as I'd liked. age range: 10 and up

  21. 5 out of 5

    Destinee Blau

    I just finished reading Willa of the Wood and I cannot wait to read it again with my children! The words and the imagery it created was both beautiful and devastating. I loved seeing the world through Willa's eyes and experiences. What a beautiful story of unlikely friendships, courage, sacrifice, love, and hope. There were many twists and turns throughout. It was a great reminder that there is not just one way of seeing/doing things and if we take the time to learn about others and try to under I just finished reading Willa of the Wood and I cannot wait to read it again with my children! The words and the imagery it created was both beautiful and devastating. I loved seeing the world through Willa's eyes and experiences. What a beautiful story of unlikely friendships, courage, sacrifice, love, and hope. There were many twists and turns throughout. It was a great reminder that there is not just one way of seeing/doing things and if we take the time to learn about others and try to understand their story and perspective maybe we can better appreciate one another. You do not want to miss this adventure!

  22. 4 out of 5

    Penny Wood

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I loved it. It was an amazing read. Would recommend it for my friends.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

    Willa is a Faeran living in the Smokey mountains of northern Tennessee two generations after the revolutionary war. After the death of her parents and sister, her grandmother has raised her, teaching her to cultivate her wood-magic and live self-sufficiently in the forest. As more and more humans settle in the valley, building and clearing land, Willa's clan dwindles. A new clan leader (padaran) has risen to power, and has forbidden the Faeran from practicing their magic, speaking the old langua Willa is a Faeran living in the Smokey mountains of northern Tennessee two generations after the revolutionary war. After the death of her parents and sister, her grandmother has raised her, teaching her to cultivate her wood-magic and live self-sufficiently in the forest. As more and more humans settle in the valley, building and clearing land, Willa's clan dwindles. A new clan leader (padaran) has risen to power, and has forbidden the Faeran from practicing their magic, speaking the old language, or continuing in the old ways of living. As the book opens, Willa is out stealing for the clan. Against the orders of the padaran, she has split off from the group and is attempting to break in to a homesteader's cabin to find treasures to bring back to the clan. When she is caught, and the man does not kill her-- instead he attempts to help her-- she begins to question all she's been told about day-folk. This little seed of doubt causes her to begin to question everything, and her insistence upon thinking for herself and pursuing truth, eventually culminates in her expulsion from the clan. As she builds a new life on her own, she gets to know "the man Nathaniel" and she discovers that her clan leader was far more of a threat to every living thing in the forest than she had realized. She is the only one that knows of the danger, and she knows she has to return to oppose the him and save those he threatens. I've never read any of Robert Beatty's work before and I love that i started with this book. The cover is gorgeous, and the book remains beautiful from the first page through the last. The plot is, on it's face, complex, solid, and engaging, but the nuance of this book is where it really shines. Mr. Beatty talks to his audience (middle graders) as if they obviously understand the emotional, social, and ethical undercurrents of his story. He isn't ever patronizing or didactic. Willa is such a fabulous heroine. She's brave and clever and intuitive, and also impulsive, hesitant, and full of doubt. She's clear-headed and idealistic. The elements of this story are woven together so seamlessly-- Beatty's poetic descriptions of the living forest imbue the book with such an enchanted feeling, and the different threads of connection between the characters are so thoughtfully drawn. I really enjoyed this book, and I am looking forward to checking out other books by Mr. Beatty.

  24. 5 out of 5

    John Yingling

    Everyone needs a friend/reading partner/colleague like my friend Amy. She consistently recommends books that I don't just like, but love, and Willa of the Wood is a perfect example. I'm always happy to see strong female characters in stories, and Willa is certainly that. But she is so much more; she's someone who believes in love, someone who questions accepted practices and beliefs, and someone who is not afraid to stand up for what is right and good, however unpopular that may be. All this tak Everyone needs a friend/reading partner/colleague like my friend Amy. She consistently recommends books that I don't just like, but love, and Willa of the Wood is a perfect example. I'm always happy to see strong female characters in stories, and Willa is certainly that. But she is so much more; she's someone who believes in love, someone who questions accepted practices and beliefs, and someone who is not afraid to stand up for what is right and good, however unpopular that may be. All this takes courage, persistence and steadfastness, and Willa has these qualities in abundance. She has powers, but she uses them for positive purposes, or as a last resort to right a wrong. The story itself is exciting, thought-provoking, full of twists, turns, revelations, and a most lovely look at nature and how valuable and necessary the interconnectedness of life is. The ending of the book had me smiling to myself and was so touching and gratifying. I'm hoping the author doesn't write a sequel, because I thought the storyline ended at a perfect place. Thank you, Amy, and I do hope each of you has someone to open your eyes to the beauty and variety of good literature.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Cupcake Book Lady

    Willa is unlike the other Faeran in her clan; she was taught the old ways by her grandmother, and she can blend into any natural surroundings, especially in the woods, as well as use the magic of trees to aid her. But when she goes thieving alone and is shot by a homesteader, who strangely comes to check on her when he sees she is wounded, the life she has known begins to change. Soon, she finds herself saving forest creatures, even at the expense of disobeying her powerful leader, the Padaran. Willa is unlike the other Faeran in her clan; she was taught the old ways by her grandmother, and she can blend into any natural surroundings, especially in the woods, as well as use the magic of trees to aid her. But when she goes thieving alone and is shot by a homesteader, who strangely comes to check on her when he sees she is wounded, the life she has known begins to change. Soon, she finds herself saving forest creatures, even at the expense of disobeying her powerful leader, the Padaran. Now on the run for betraying her people, Willa must survive alone, and unravel the mysteries of the strange homesteader who wasn’t actually trying to kill her, as she had always been warned, and find how to save her forest from the dangerous outsiders who are chopping down the trees and killing its wildlife. Willa of the Wood is a suspenseful, empowering adventure for older children and teens, and a lesson for all of us to live in harmony with nature and animals and to never allow greed to control our desires. For discussion questions, similar books, and a themed recipe of strawberry blackberry sugar cookies, visit http://hub.me/am8Cj

  26. 5 out of 5

    Anna

    "She had always thought of love as the rarest and most delicate of things, and that there must be a limit to the amount of love that a human or a Faeran could give or feel, a limit to how much love there could be in the world. ... But love wasn't the stone. It was the river. Love was like the glistening stars in the midnight sky, like the sun that always rises, and the water that always flows." Robert Beatty, Willa of the Wood

  27. 4 out of 5

    Elise Peery

    I absolutely LOVED this book. It is most definitely going on my list of top favorites! I was chosen to be part of the review team for this book and I loved every second of it! I could not put this book down and neither will you. I adored Willa's spirit of adventure and her will to keep everyone she loves safe, no matter what. This is absolutely a book I would recommend to anyone who loves adventure and a good plot twist.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Sam Vincent

    I have received this book for an early review. I really loved this book, and it was difficult to put to down. I really enjoyed how this book contains a strong female character, that stands up for herself even when she's fighting against her tribe. This book has twists and turns, and always leads to something unexpected. Even through the most difficult and hard times, Willa never gives up and always fights for what she thinks is right.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Danika

    My daughter received a copy of Willa of the Woods for the review team. This is her review.... I liked this book. I loved the beginning because it was very suspenseful. I did however feel like it dragged a bit in the middle. I liked Willa and her grandma because they were very kind to each other. I also liked Willa cause she helped animals. I also liked the magical element it was cool. If you like suspense I would recommend this book.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Emily

    I received a copy of Willa of the wood as part of the review team I loved this book so much because I loved how strong and brave Willa always was and that it was so important to her to keep her woods safe. I also liked how she was able to befriend a human even though she had been taught growing up that humans shouldn’t be trusted. I thought this was a amazing book it was really hard to put down!

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