What do you do when you’re too young to be on your own but have no one to turn to? Sixteen-year-old Wreath Willis makes a list: Find a place to live. Buy cheap food. Finish high school. Get a job. Go to college. Now she’s finishing high school by day and squatting in a junkyard by night, flying below the authorities’ radar while she makes a few awkward friends and searches for an illusory “good life.” But when a teacher grows too suspicious, Wreath is afraid she’ll have to move on before she graduates. Could it be this was a good life?
Wreath is a unique story for a number of reasons. I'd say it's a coming of age story, but it really isn't. It's hard for me to pinpoint the exact genre because this novel can be enjoyed by any age reader. Have you ever wondered how a young girl could survive without parents and still manage to finish high school? Wreath strives to finish school, but it's hard for her because she's afraid to trust anyone or get close to them. She also wants to protect the people she cares about, but I can't disclose why without giving a spoiler.
The author's insight into the heart of a grieving teenager runs deep.It took awhile for the plot to build because the author had to lay the foundation of all of Wreath's relationships and establish the setting, but it was well worth the wait. I've never read a story like this one before, but I really enjoyed it. There was some suspense in it and a little bit of romance to sweeten the plot. Wreath blossomed when she allowed herself to be loved, and at the same time without realizing it, changed the lives of so many people who needed her as well.
The pacing of the story really picked up once Wreath started high school. Her faith journey was slow, but believable and a completely natural part of the story. How she gradually discovered that church family should be like a real family was perfectly done. If all churches were like the one Wreath attended, there would be a lot more people in this world following Jesus rather than running from Him.
Bottom line, Wreath is not only an entertaining read, but it's a compelling story written in a unique voice by an author who clearly has a passion for relationships. I couldn't help feeling that Wreath's story was a bit of a metaphor for how we are willing to live in a junkyard and merely survive when God wants to love us if we'd just let Him. Wreath grew on me to the point that I worried for her as much as the characters in the story did. If you don't read many books this year, make sure to save a spot on your calendar for this one.
Wreath is being published by Barbour Books and will release in October 2011.