Saturday, August 4, 2012

Diamond Willow written by Helen Forest

Set in a remote part of Alaska, this story in easy-to-read verse blends exciting survival adventure with a contemporary girl’s discovery of family roots and secrets. The title is taken from a beautiful quirk of nature. When a diamond willow's bark is removed, sanded, and polished, it reveals reddish brown diamonds, the dark center of which are the scars of missing branches. Frost has used this image to craft an intricate family story in diamond-shaped verse. Words in bold reveal a secret message!

Willow Diamond
12-year-old Diamond Willow, named for the tree, prefers to be just "Willow". She is part-Athabascan girl with one good friend, who finds herself more comfortable around her family's sled dogs than with people. Her story takes a heartrending turn on a solo dogsled trip to visit her grandparents, and Willow is soon caught up in an intense adventure that leads to the discovery of a family secret. As she unravels the truth, Willow comes to understand the diamonds and scars that bind her family together.
This is a book that may be best for mature readers.

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