cover image Blood Wounds

Blood Wounds

Susan Beth Pfeffer. Harcourt, $16.99 (256p) ISBN 978-0-547-49638-2

Pfeffer (the Last Survivors trilogy) explores how the smooth surface of 16-year-old Willa's home life with her mother, stepfather, and two stepsisters begins to crack when a crisis puts their lives in danger. Willa hasn't heard from her biological father, Dwayne, in more than a decade, but now his name and face are all over the news. It's suspected that he's murdered his new wife and daughters, and the police believe that Willa and her mother might be next. Willa's family flees, but even after it's safe to come out of hiding, Willa is not ready to return home. Shaken by fear and shame, she feels an urgent need to pay tribute to the slaughtered sisters she never met. She travels to the Texas town where she was born, and unsettling memories come to the surface, causing her to re-evaluate her present, comfortable life and question what the future holds. This intense psychological drama, showing the brightest and darkest sides of humanity, offers remarkable acts of courage and disturbing images of domestic violence. Willa's frankly portrayed grief, confusion, and uncertainties will have a strong impact on readers. Ages 14%E2%80%93up. (Sept.)