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Blood Wounds

3.27  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,451 Ratings  ·  277 Reviews
Blood can both wound and heal . . .

Sixteen-year-old Willa is fortunate to have a happy blended family. But a frantic phone call from Pryor, Texas, shatters the calm. Willa’s birth father has murdered his second wife and daughters . . . and the police think he’s on his way east to hunt down Willa and her mother. As this disturbing tragedy inevitably exposes family secrets t
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Hardcover, 256 pages
Published September 13th 2011 by Harcourt Children's Books (first published January 1st 2011)
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Newbery 2012
88th out of 141 books — 715 voters
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Lindsay
Sep 07, 2011 Lindsay rated it it was ok
Willa's life in the beginning is awesome. A freaking holy grail of a blended family. Particularly with her stepfather, Jack, and his ex-wife, there seemed to be a real sense of 'do what's best for the girls', the 'girls' being Willa's two stepsisters. I was actually really happy to see that kind of compatibility for a blended family happen in a book. Made me think it could be real.

Too bad it was a setup.

Blood Wounds, in case you can't tell by the mugshot cover, is not a happy times book. In fa
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Megan
Dec 11, 2011 Megan rated it it was ok
I've finally realized that while author Susan Beth Pfeffer may be good at creating amazingly complex situations, she is not so good at writing well rounded characters who experience growth or change as a result of the situations she puts them into. In Blood Wounds protagonist Willa is a seventeen year old living with her mother, stepfather and step sisters. Although "step" families are so common today, Willa's not-by-blood family is the focal point of much drama (despite the fact that Willa's mo ...more
Jackie "the Librarian"
Killer dad on the loose! Yes, this book has an awesome hook, and a serious amount of bloodshed. If you get queasy at the thought of blood, avoid! But that's only half the story, with the other being dysfunctional family, with a quiet but prickly girl, Willa, stepping up to an unusual situation. The two stories fit uneasily together, and the underlying metaphor couldn't be more heavy handed.

Willa is a cutter, which explains the title. Her perfectly happy (yes, that's meant ironically) blended fa
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Kristy
Aug 02, 2012 Kristy rated it liked it
Shelves: realistic
Hi, my name is Kristy and I'm addicted to Susan Beth Pfeffer.

This week has been a gobble fest for me, I'm at the beach and have yet to read a "beach book", but who cares right?!???!!

This book is nothing like the Life or Someting like it series.. at all.


This book is about a girl who never knew her father or her step-brother and sisters. A Father who is a killer. Digging into your past. Finding out if your past defines you. Figuring out no family is perfect. Acceptance. Peace. Fear. Regrets. Makin
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Kat Heckenbach
Apr 20, 2013 Kat Heckenbach rated it it was ok
I read through some of the other reviews for this book before settling in to write mine--I sometimes do that out of curiosity, and lately out of worry that I'm going to be the first negative review if I didn't like a book. This was one of those cases--but I was relieved to see I wasn't the only reader who had issues with this book.

On the surface, it seems like a really deep and relevant book. But that's the problem--the whole thing is surface. None of it gelled for me, and the story and characte
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Josiah
Feb 07, 2012 Josiah rated it it was ok
"No saints in this world, sweetie. Just different kinds of sinners."

—Faye, Blood Wounds, P. 164

Susan Beth Pfeffer has a way with suspense. She can make readers feel as if the cold-blooded killer could be hiding around any corner, or could outwit even the most well-planned security net to burst through the door at any moment and commence his murderous rampage. And, for the first seventy pages or so of Blood Wounds, that's just the sort of tense, suspenseful writing that we get, loaded with all
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Asheley
Sep 10, 2011 Asheley rated it liked it
In a nutshell, I liked this book. The pacing is great. The story is entertaining, even with the serious themes it carries. It carried my attention well and was easy to digest.

I do have a few additional thoughts, however, that I would like to share:

1. Willa. Willa has been through so much in this story...from being a part of a blended family, to feeling inferior to her (much wealthier) stepsisters and always having to rearrange her life around their activities, to finding out that she has sibli
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Rebecca Weimert
Mar 03, 2012 Rebecca Weimert rated it really liked it
Rebecca Weimert
Contemporary Realistic Fiction

Willa lives with her mother, stepfather, and two stepsisters. Always feeling left out Willa cuts herself to relieve the stress she feels in her home. Willa’s mother worked hard to give her a good family life, but her past comes back to haunt her. Willa’s biological father has murdered his wife and children and is coming for Willa, but is caught and killed by the police. The horrible deaths of her family shakes Willa’s world and she is not sure who sh
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Connie
Oct 25, 2011 Connie rated it it was ok
Shelves: teen, never-finished, 2011
I was so disappointed w this book. I gave it a lot longer than I normally would with a book because I love this author's previous works, but I realized halfway through last night that it was more of a chore than a pleasure to read.

Every author has a dud occasionally and I'm sad to say this is hers. The main character's voice is very immature - she sounds more like 12 than 16. This may have been intentional but in the end, everything here just felt off.
Amy
Jan 01, 2016 Amy rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Grade: D

Willa's biological father goes on a rampage killing his wife and daughters, and the police think he may be coming from her. Her mom is a wreck and stepfather flies her two step sisters to their mother's fracturing the family Willa believed was so solid. Now she wonders whether her family will ever be whole and happy again, or if they ever were.

BLOOD WOUNDS scratches the surface of some difficult issues and provides easy answer and explanations for complex problems. Susan Beth Pfeffer wro
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Moirai
Jul 03, 2015 Moirai rated it liked it
I don't know what to think of this book.

Once I started reading it, I needed to know what was going to happen. It starts out with this awesome family, where no one fights, everyone is happy, and the whole family tries really hard to make Willa feel like she fits in. Obviously this family is a little TOO perfect. I immediately needed to figure out what I wasn't being told, what secrets were being kept. As I kept reading, I kept getting hints about the mom's past. Hints at a secret past life that s
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Wendy Hines
Jan 16, 2012 Wendy Hines rated it really liked it
Willa Coffey is a quiet girl who doesn't expect much. She lives with her mom, step-dad Jack and her two step-sisters, Alyssa and Brooke. Jacks ex-wife Val makes sure that Alyssa and Brooke have everything that money can buy and Willa is usually left on the outskirts looking in. Her mom and Jack cannot afford those things for Willa. She doesn't express her discontent, but instead hides in the basement and cuts herself.

When she receives a phone call from her mom's best friend while she is home al
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Melissa Railey
Nov 06, 2011 Melissa Railey rated it really liked it
I normally wouldn't have picked this book up but it was written by Susan Beth Pfeffer and I loved her Life As We Knew It books. I recommend those books to just about everybody I come in contact with (so if you haven't read them, go out, get them and read them. They're terrific.) Blood Wounds centers on Willa. Willa is part of a blended family and has two stepsisters who she likes but also envies and resents. Her stepsister's mother pays for them to go to fancy schools, travel and compete in very ...more
Leann
Feb 02, 2012 Leann rated it really liked it
Willa is a part of a blended family that appears to have it all. She and her two step sisters seem to get along great and she loves her stepdad as if he was her real dad. But then one phone call changes all that when she finds out her biological father has murdered his second family. The police think that her father is headed to kill her and her mother and so Willa and her mom must go into police protection. Willa soon finds out that her mother has held a lot of the truth from her and now her fa ...more
Teril
Jul 21, 2011 Teril rated it it was amazing
Susan Beth Pfeffer is a master story teller in such a unique way, she portrays immense levels of human emotions in her characters.
Blood Wounds will be released later in the year and in it is the story of Willa, a high school aged girl who tries so hard at living the perfect life, that when her past catches up to her it comes in the grisly package of her estranged father and the horrible crimes he has committed against his family.
Susan brings into her story such immense emotion on some normal act
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Wisteriouswoman
Nov 06, 2013 Wisteriouswoman rated it did not like it
It is a terrible book. Why I kept reading it is a mystery to me.

She isn't a likeable character and the way she talks is in an adult voice. Maybe things are different in Texas and middle America, but out here on the coast kids aren't always ready to say 'yes please, no thank you, I'm so sorry', etc.. This is supposed to be a girl in crisis--someone who is cutting. It is an important topic but I never felt the angst.

Everyone is so lovey-dovey especially for a blended family with three teenage gir
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Barbara
Nov 06, 2011 Barbara rated it liked it
Shelves: ncbla, cutting
In this book, Pfeffer turns from a life-changing natural disaster to a more personal disaster with consequences for all those directly involved as well as those who are only the fringes of the event. High school junior Willa seems to have a perfect life. Her stepfather and mother are devoted to her, and she and her two stepsisters get along just fine. If their access to money through their mother means that they have much material objects than Willa, she has never really minded. However, there a ...more
Jessica
Aug 30, 2011 Jessica rated it it was ok
When I read the synopsis for this book I thought I was in for a suspenseful, action-packed thriller. Yeah, I was wrong. I was thinking I would be reading about Willa in a Witness Protection kind of program while her crazy father stalked her and she found out crazy secrets her mom had kept. Hmmm...yeah, wrong again! I was very disappointed in this book. This is not to say that you won't like it but it wasn't what I expected at all.


Willa is living with her mom and step-dad and two step-sisters. He
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Audrey
Jul 14, 2011 Audrey rated it really liked it
Willa has always felt like she needed to do her best and stay under the radar. Living with her mother in a house paid for by her step-father's ex-wife for Willa's step-sisters, she's always done without while her step-sisters had whatever they wanted. Willa never knew her father, and so it comes as a surprise when she learns that he has just killed the half-sisters and step-mother she never knew she had. Now the country is scandalized by the horror he has brought down upon his family, and Willa ...more
Lisa  (Bookworm Lisa)
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nan
Wow. What an amazing book.

Pfeffer has a gift. She can take readers to the dark places in our souls and back out again. We're changed by the journey, tempered, and drained. Her fiction explores what it means to be a family, to have others to rely on or that rely upon you. And she explores what it means when you are alone and don't have that support. Finally, she shows the moments when kids see their parents as real, as flawed, as loving and as hateful.

Someday, I hope that I will be able to write
...more
Janet
Feb 18, 2012 Janet rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya-lit, 2012
I couldn't put down this book by one of my favorite YA authors. All appears happy in Willa's blended family, but there is a lot going on just under the surface. The book took some turns that I wasn't expecting. I would recommend this for readers looking for a realistic page-turner. some parts will be disturbing to sensitive readers.
Kimberly
May 12, 2011 Kimberly rated it did not like it
Shelves: young-adult, 2011
All tell and no show makes Blood Wounds a dull book.

I was misled by the back synopsis, but even when I shifted my expectations so I knew I was reading a family drama and not a thriller, the book was no good. It failed on both levels.
Laura
Aug 02, 2015 Laura rated it it was amazing
Willa lives with her mom, stepsisters, and stepdad which is the clostest things she can call dad. Her stepsisters can get everything they want and without any effort their mother earnes alto of money and with she can give them all they ever wanted. Meanwhile Willa ha to go the rough way , she cant affort trips tp Europe or even private lessons for singning because she loves choir. All these problmes stress Willa very much and in a way to reales e this she cuts her self never telling anyone, this ...more
Carol Kennedy
Jun 04, 2015 Carol Kennedy rated it it was amazing
Shelves: best-of-the-best
I read this several years ago and was really impressed. The author creates a complex, interesting character in Willa. She is introverted and expresses her feelings very privately. She appears happy on the outside, but she is in real pain, and she cuts herself when her life starts to seem out-of-control. Meanwhile, she is part of a blended family, with a dad, a step-mom, and two step-sisters. Everyone is always talking about how great they all get along, and what an ideal family they are. But Wil ...more
Amanda
Apr 06, 2015 Amanda rated it liked it
Find this and other reviews at [a cup of tea and an armful of books]

Willa has always seen Jack as her father. Although he has been unable to adopt her legally, Jack has provided for her in the way that her biological father never has. Life, for Willa and her mother, Terri, has been better than it ever could have been in the decaying hometown Terri ran away from when Willa was just a little girl. This is all shattered when her estranged father murders his wife and daughters, the sisters she never
...more
Sharon
Apr 22, 2014 Sharon rated it liked it
Shelves: ya
There's a starkness to the writing here that feels kind of oversimplified, but the emotional content of the story is just wrenching. The premise is kind of sensational--Willa's happily ensconced in her blended family--mom, stepfather, stepsisters--when she finds out that the biological father she barely remembers has murdered the half-sisters she never knew she had and is on the loose.

But it's not a thriller--that is just the first part. This is a story about knowing your own value, knowing your
...more
Amanda
Feb 24, 2015 Amanda rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Saleena Davidson
Feb 05, 2014 Saleena Davidson rated it liked it
Blood Wounds is a multi-faceted tale. On the surface it's the story of a girl who's father has gone on a killing spree, and now threatens her new step-family. Under the surface is the story of a blended family, but one that isn't honest and is falling apart under the strain. Under that is the story of Willa, struggling to keep herself together in a family where she feels small and unwanted. All in all, this was a very well told tale that allows the reader to watch as layer after layer is peeled ...more
Segen W
Feb 03, 2014 Segen W rated it liked it
Blood Wounds was not a kind of book I was expecting. It was a very intense book and is also a tragedy. Willa is a girl who gets through all her pain by cutting herself which isn't a good thing since her mom and her step dad don't know about it. Willa goes through some troubling time when she finds out that her real dad killed his new wife and his new baby daughters. I would give this book a 3 star rating because it such a tragedy and it's so intense but the writing in the book is very descriptiv ...more
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Susan Beth Pfeffer was born in New York City in 1948. She grew up in the city and its nearby suburbs and spent summers in the Catskill Mountains. When she was six her father wrote and published a book on constitutional law, and Pfeffer decided that she, too, wanted to be a writer. That year she wrote her first story, about the love between an Oreo cookie and a pair of scissors. However, it wasn't ...more
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