Monday, March 17, 2014

Book Review: Pictures of Hollis Woods

This Newbery Honor Book was recommended to me by my mom. Patricia Reilly Giff writes award-winning books. She has great talent, for sure.

Hollis Woods was named for the woods in which she was found abandoned as an infant. A note requested that she be named Hollis Woods. For some reason, this detail made me think that the birth mother was going to show up in the end of the story to reclaim her child. I was wrong.

Hollis is a runner. She's run from the last five or six foster homes she's had. She'll probably run from this new one with an elderly artist who carves wood. But Josie is interesting, if not quite all there in the memory department, and she allows Hollis to be who she is. Hollis begins to love the old woman, but she also continues to remember the last family she fell in love with. Things didn't go so well with that family and the story comes out through a series of pictures Hollis brings to mind throughout the story.

The story weaves in and out through time with Josie and pictures drawn from times with the Regan family, a home where she really felt she belonged. But things transpire to keep her from remaining with the Regan family and things will transpire to keep her from remaining with Josie, but this time Hollis wants to run toward her foster parent instead of away.

It was a fun little book. I loved how the author pried the story out in increments. Hollis was an endearing protagonist and her struggles were heart-rending. It was an excellent middle-grade read and was apparently made into a Hallmark Hall of Fame Movie, as well.

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