Beatty, Robert. Willa of the Wood. Fiction. Disney/Hyperion, 07/2018. 376pp. $16.99. 978-1-368-00584-5. OUTSTANDING. GRADES 4-8.
Willa is a young night-spirit, living in the Great Smoky Mountains and stealing from humans to support the padaran, the leader of her Faeran clan. The cruel master has taught her to fear and hate the white homesteaders who murder her beloved trees, and he forbids her from using her family’s ancient magic. When she is stranded outside her clan’s den, Willa learns that not all humans are the enemy and finds herself attempting to solve a mystery she didn’t know she would ever care about. In Willa, Beatty has created a truly memorable character and placed her in a mysterious and beautiful setting, the same world as his previous series, Seraphina and the Black Cloak (2015). His richly-textured descriptions of nature and magic encourage the reader to sink into the forest along with Willa, rooting for this gutsy and resourceful character.
Lauren Snell, Mill Valley Public Library