Friday, March 15, 2013

A Review of 'Pictures of Hollis Woods' by Patricia Reilly Giff

"Hollis Woods
is the place where a baby was abandoned
is the baby's name
is an artist
is now a twelve-year-old girl
who's been in so many foster homes she can hardly remember them all.  Hollis Woods is a mountain of trouble.  She runs away even from the Regans, the one family who offers her a home.

When Hollis is sent to Josie, an elderly artist who is quirky and affectionate, she wants to stay.  But Josie is growing more forgetful every day.  If Social Services finds out, they'll take Hollis away and move Josie into a home.  Well, Hollis Woods won't let anyone separate them.  She's escaped the system before; this time, she's taking Josie with her.

Still, even as she plans her future with Josie, Hollis dreams of the past summer with the Regans, fixing each special moment of her days with them in pictures she'll never forget.

Patricia Reilly Giff captures the yearning for a place to belong in this warmhearted story, which stresses the importance of artistic vision, creativity, and above all, family."

This is another book that I read for my YA Lit class.  I'm sad that it is coming to a close very soon...

It's a very quick read.  I finished it in 2-3 days without losing sleep over trying to finish it (day three consisted of over a hundred of those pages read).  Patricia Reilly Giff has a very easy-to-read writing style and I think that that really helped the story move along.

What was really frustrating for me was the fact that certain things weren't explained or shown in the book, or at least it felt that way.  For example, the author keeps saying that Hollis is mean and that no one likes her, but she gives us no evidence to support this.  It's beyond me why no one likes Hollis.  Sure, she's snotty sometimes, but what twelve-year-old isn't?  It is beyond me why she has no friends.  It frustrates me when authors think that just because they say something is so in their story that it is so.  In a way, that's true, but then you have to convince your readers that what you're saying is truth.

I also hate it when Hollis keeps saying that the accident is her fault.  I don't think that this is her fault and I don't think this is Steven's fault.  Sure, Hollis probably shouldn't have been on top of the mountain and Steven shouldn't have been driving at age twelve or thirteen, but in the end, neither of the two had any intention of this accident happening.  No one pushed the car over the side of the mountain.  I'm struggling to place blame on either of these characters because I'm not convinced that either are completely responsible.

Maybe these are things that I wouldn't think about or wasn't supposed to think about in middle school... (this is a middle school-level read).

Luckily, there are some redeeming features that made this book less annoying.

For example, the Regan family.  They were so loving and forgiving of Hollis.  We know that from the beginning of the book all Hollis really desires is a family.  And the Regans are just perfect for her.

Overall, this book is definitely meant for a younger audience, so if you're in middle school or are simply looking for a book with a happy ending, this would be a good read for you.

I give 'Pictures of Hollis Woods':
Thanks for Reading!


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