As you read the reviews on Bookshop Talk, you'll notice that every review is positive. No, we're not a bunch of literary
pushovers who love everything we pick up; we just see no point in telling you about a book if we didn't like it.

February 23, 2011

PICTURES OF HOLLIS WOODS by Patricia Reilly Giff, 2002

Pictures of Hollis WoodsHollis Woods has been in so many foster homes she can hardly remember them all. She even runs away 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 plans to take Josie with her. Yet behind all her plans, Hollis longs for her life with the Regans, fixing each moment of her time with them in pictures she'll never forget. (Inside flap)

Reviewed by Kelly McCreery - book lover and reader extraordinaire

Sometimes a great book just finds you. I'm not sure how it happens, but every so often I pick up a book and just buy it. I have no rhyme or reason to it, but the moment I open that book up, the moment the first words leave the page, I fall in love with it. I know it is a book meant just for me.

I got that same feeling the day I read Pictures of Hollis Woods. It is a powerful, moving story of a young girl named Hollis Woods, who has been moving from foster home to foster home for her entire life. When Hollis finally feels like she has found the one thing that she has been missing in her life, she runs from it, and that's where the story begins. The story alternates between present day and flashbacks - the pictures that mean the most to Hollis, the life that she longs for most of all.

Hollis' story, while fictional, is raw and emotional. Patricia Reilly Giff has such a wonderful way of putting words to paper. Her attention to detail is what really got me into the story- the colors, the smells, the sounds. The way the grass feels and the wind blows. I was standing with Hollis at the base of the mountain. I felt, at times, like I intruding on a private moment in someone else's life.

It's a story that has stayed with me for many years. The characters mean something to me. I feel an overwhelming urge to protect Hollis and Steven and Josie. And I'll admit it- I am very selfish with this book. For some reason, I find it hard to recommend it to people. But maybe that's why I love it - I have taken real ownership of it, which is a true sign that a book is special. This book is a gem and a must have for anyone.  

Market: Middle Grade
Language: None
Sensuality: None
Violence: None
Mature Themes: foster care, Alzheimer's

Book formats:

To learn more about the author, visit: Patricia Reilly Giff

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I loved this book so much, Kelly! It really is gorgeous. Thank you for a tremendous review!