G. Bianco, 2019
What would you do if your tormentor lay dying on the side of the road and you were the only one who could save them? Tough question, I know, but this is just one of many situations Willow Krimble must face in her life. Originally published as a web novel, Giuseppe Bianco’s A Girl Named Willow Krimble focuses on the titular protagonist as she tries to navigate middle school bullies, a prosthetic leg, and a newly discovered ability to heal people.
Willow lives with her mother and older brother, Wyatt; she loves hanging out with her best friend, the feisty and sarcastic Razzel, and she has a close relationship with her grandmother. Seems pretty normal, right? It might be if the two most popular girls in middle school, Shayla and Snella, didn’t taunt and remind her on a daily basis that she was born without her left leg. Forced to maneuver through obstacles most teenagers would not need to tackle, Willow is suddenly blessed (or cursed?) with the unusual power to heal others through touch. Ever selfless, Willow’s desire to help the injured and sick thrusts her into a world where she is given immense responsibility, putting the needs of others before her own, all the while trying to maintain her secret. Willow’s adolescent journey takes her through an emotional cyclone where she finds joy and purpose in helping an array of patients from an old man with Alzheimer’s to a mauled animal in a pet store. But Willow soon finds out there are limitations to her ability and, no matter how hard she might try, she cannot save everyone.
When I say that this is a book that anyone can read, I truly mean anyone! I first read this book when it was published in 2011, then I read it again in 2012, and just continually find myself rereading it over and over again throughout the years. The characters are well written, and the plot will keep any reader intrigued from start to finish. Additionally, themes of spreading kindness to others, being grateful for what you have, and not to compare yourself to others, all converge together to create a cute and funny middle grade novel.
There is a bit of irony to the fact that a girl who is disabled has the power to heal others; however, it only highlights Willow’s caring and selfless nature as she progressively becomes more aware of the people around her and the hardships they struggle with. The joy and sorrow Willow feels translates so well to the reader and makes her such a fun and relatable character to read about.
Overall, this book was so heartwarming and might even bring on some tears at certain points! This book is amazing and sends a great message for kids, teens, and adults alike! Willow is a girl that everyone in the world should meet and I cannot wait to see what may be next for her!
Hi! My name is Elisa and my bookshelf is quite literally overflowing! Join me in my journey of reading as many books as humanly possible!