November 15, 2008

WIlla by Heart by Coleen Murtagh Paratore

Willa by HeartOh, it's Willa-Time Again.

After successfully saving her beloved Bramble Library, Willa is back for more. Change has fallen upon Bramble and Willa is not quite sure where all that leaves her. Sure, her mother is happily married and she's planning on finally stop calling her stepfather 'Sam' and actually calling him Dad; Joey Kennelly is her boyfriend (why, they are the most compatible couple in Bramble Academy!) and summer will arrive soon.

But then, everything begins to change slowly, mostly when Mariel, a new girl, shows up to wreck Willa's word. The town's theater company is putting on "Our Town" and Willa thinks she and Joey are perfect for the lead roles, until Mariel gets the part of Emily and now she is going to kiss Willa's boyfriend on stage! It doesn't help that Joey and Mariel are friends, which sends Willa into a couple of jealous fits. Stella, Willa's Mom, has big news of her own, Sulamina Mum (one of Willa's friends and the minister at Bramble United Church) has news too.

Oh, and the Blazers are back (along with 16 bridesmaids).

Bramble is changing, and so is Willa.

It's such a joy when you start to read a book and you know immediately, right from the first page, that you're going to love it. That's exactly what happened to me with this book. Of course, I'm guilty of being a Willa fan, but it doesn't matter, trust me. It just takes a few sentences, where Willa is describing sunrise on the Cape and you're instantly in love.

I'm glad to see Willa grow up, and make mistakes. She's still true to character, a nice, lovable girl, but that doesn't mean she's perfect or that she doesn't feel the less savory feelings - like jealousy or anger - but, Willa is Willa, and she ends up doing the right thing even when, as she learns in Willa by Heart, it's not always easy. In fact, sometimes, doing the right thing is right down hard.


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