GIRLWOOD by Claire Dean


by & illustrated by
Age Range: 12 & up
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Despite its genuinely gorgeous cover and illustrations, this story and its characters never come to life on the page. Twelve-year-old Polly loves the woods around her Idaho home, where her dad has moved to a cabin and her grandmother Baba gathers wild plants for healing. Polly’s older sister Bree, deep into drugs and boys, disappears, and over the winter Polly and Baba leave food and clothing for her in a secluded part of the forest called Girlwood. Polly has a lot to cope with: mean girls at school, her best friend’s betrayal, her parents’ separation and the developer who plans to bulldoze the forest to build a gated community. There is way too much telling rather than showing and an overabundance of preaching about plant life and ecology, all of it overlaid with Polly’s ability, never fully integrated into the story, to see people’s auras and the wood fairies of her father’s stories. The Lessons are writ large, but the tale itself is a wisp writ small. (Fiction. 12+)

Pub Date: May 19th, 2008
ISBN: 978-0-618-88390-5
Page count: 304pp
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1st, 2008