Thursday, May 22, 2014

Songs of Willow Frost: Book Review


Going into reading Songs of Willow Frost, I had no idea what to expect from it. I won this book from Random House's Pin to Win contest back in December, so I had just skimmed the summary thinking it would be interesting. I had never read anything by author Jamie Ford before reading this, but I am really glad I gave this book a chance.

One of the biggest problem with literature right now is that there is not enough diversity. This is especially a problem in young adult fiction. Things are starting to change, which is good, because we need to read about different people and see from their perspectives. Sometimes I feel like I am reading about the same 15-year-old white girl in YA, which is why I will flock to John Green for a male perspective or sci-fi adult fiction to get away from it for a bit.

I liked Ford's book because we weren't seeing the same character rehashed in the narrator. Not only was the novel written in the perspective of the Chinese-America boy William, but also in his mother's perspective. I thought it was a refreshing take for a novel, and I really liked the back and forth with their narration.

Ford didn't write this novel in chronological order, and that was a cool risk he took with the novel. I really enjoyed that juxtaposition in the novel, and I think it kept the reader's attention. You wanted to find out why Liu Song left William in the orphanage, and you wanted to see if they would have a happy life together after they found each other. Instead of giving us the story from point A to point B, Ford chiseled off a chunk, and then pushed you back to the past to see why and how you got to point A. It was an unconventional way to tell the story, but one that kept the reader engaged.

One of the biggest complaints I saw about this book was that there were too many villains in it. Too many villains that kept Liu oppressed. Considering that the novel was set in depression era Seattle, and if you know your history on how the U.S. was treating asian immigrants at the time, I think it was a pretty accurate depiction. It wasn't pleasant, and it did make the book have a sad ending, but I think why he wrote it this way made sense. I think the message behind that was that, sometimes really bad things happen, but rather than dwell on it, you have to move on.

I enjoyed this book more than I thought I would, so I'm giving it a 7 out of 10.

Got any books you want me to review? Leave a comment below.

Happy Reads Everyone!