Monday, May 9, 2011

Pictures of Hollis Woods, by Patricia Reilly Giff

Side note- this wasn't supposed to be my next book! But the weather was so nice that I took a break outside this week and grabbed the slimmest Newbery book I could find on the shelf to keep me company. But I'll be resuming my trek through the 1930's very soon!

Hollis Woods was named for the forest in Queens where she was found abandoned. Now twelve years old, she's been in and out of more foster homes than she can count. She's always in and out of trouble, skipping school and not getting along.

She is finally placed with Josie. Josie is quirky and kind and easygoing, and Hollis loves living with her. But she can never feel completely at home with Josie. A talented artist, Hollis draws the things and people she sees in her new environment. But her memory keeps drawing her back to the Regans, a family she spent a summer with. She fit in well with the parents and their son, and was very happy with them. She had thought that she was the missing piece in their family, and that all of them together would complete the picture of a perfect family she'd always carried in her mind. But like she'd done with every family before, Hollis ran away from them and refused to return.

For the first time, Hollis finds that she may also be forced to leave involuntarily. Josie is aging and becoming forgetful. Hollis decides that she needs to run one more time, and take Josie with her, to keep her new fragile family together.

The book is written in alternating chapters- one in the present, one in the past, helping you gradually understand who Hollis is. Patricia Reilly Giff very skilfully portrayed Hollis as a girl who has been toughened by her years in foster care, but who is also very vulnerable and sensitive (and sensitive to what she sees around her). The emotions she feels are described clearly, making Hollis accessible to a wide range of readers. We also find out why she left the Regans when she felt so at home with them; I just didn't want to be a plot spoiler!

I discovered while searching for an image of the book cover that this was made into a movie in 2007! Has anyone seen it? Was it any good? The cast looks like it has lots of potential.

1 comment:

  1. So I watched this movie last night. It's amazing how Hallmark has a knack for taking great ideas and turning them into unmemorable family films, alas. It got general plot points right, but also had to add things due to how they portrayed the characters. Ah well.