Polly Greene has always been considered strange, a girl who can see a person s true colors, a thirteen year old comfortable foraging in the woods with her eccentric grandmother than hanging out with friends But all that is about to change when Polly s older sister, Bree, vanishes into the woods The only one who believes Bree can survive, Polly begins to leave food in the woods for her sister and finds a hidden grove she names Girlwood, where she believes Bree is burning a fire each night Along with an odd but endearing group of friends, Polly clings to the hope that she can see her sister through the harsh, snowy winter And, in the process, she discovers the cruelty, bounty, and magic of the woods Will Polly save her sister And even if she does, will Girlwood survive


10 thoughts on “Girlwood

  1. Mir Mir says:

    In addition to writing this book, Claire Dean also has a website where she will teach you to read auras I think it is fair to mention this in my review hi, goodreads Stasi Don t flag me because Dean has a note at the end of the book which tells the reader this and explains the basics of aura reading and also describes her electricity free rustic cabin where she and her two children forage for the edible plants mentioned throughout the book Presumably the website goes into greater nuance ab In addition to writing this book, Claire Dean also has a website where she will teach you to read auras I think it is fair to mention this in my review hi, goodreads Stasi Don t flag me because Dean has a note at the end of the book which tells the reader this and explains the basics of aura reading and also describes her electricity free rustic cabin where she and her two children forage for the edible plants mentioned throughout the book Presumably the website goes into greater nuance about auras than the author s note, which seemed simplistic to me Purple means you are sensitive, artistic, and idealistic People with green auras are helpful, strong, and friendly, etc Dean did a decent job giving her characters some complexity and depth, so I will give her the benefit of the doubt and suppose that the publisher wouldn t let her havethan a page to expound her woo woo beliefs Er, New Age I don t know what the politer term is for people who think they can see auras and communicate with trees From the point of view of this particular reader, it is unfortunate that the book ended with this note, because it made me much less charitable The main character, Polly Greene, is a prepubescent girl who can also see auras, as well as wings and other symbolic stuff around people I didn t really have a problem with this, although it didn t particularly please me, either Encountering this assertion in fiction, I assume that the character has synesthesia and is interpreting it as auras, or is imagining it, or actually has magical gifts it wasn t immediately clear that this book wasn t fantasy , or is producing some sort of mental effect as a way of coping with stress.And Polly s life is certainly stressful Her older sister, who used to play fairies in the woods with her, abruptly became a cruel drug addict fuck up, then ran away from home Her parents divorced She is bullied at school, in part because her adored grandmother is a Mary Sue back to nature type who lives in a cabin with no electricity and makes herbal remedies and delivers babies under a tree So the townsfolk both think she is an evil witch Idaho is a little backwards, I guess and resent her from blocking development of the forest, which cost jobs I think the author intended the reader to admire Baba a lotthan I in fact did.Anyway, what I was saying is that, perhaps unfairly, I am okay with a character seeing auras and wanting to live free in the woods, but it is hard for not to scoff at people who espouse this view in real life In real life, pregnant teen drug addicts who run away into the woods with no supplies don t make it through the winter Unless they get saved by fairies, which I also would have been okay with.But Dean is a decent writer, and Polly was a decently constructed character, and I liked the book well enough


  2. Jennifer Wardrip Jennifer Wardrip says:

    Reviewed by Allison Fraclose for TeensReadToo.comOne night, Polly is awakened from a sound sleep to find her older sister, Bree, kissing her As Bree s blood red aura trails behind her like the tattered wings of a ruined fairy, she tells Polly that she s leaving for the woods, so that she can try to be alright again Half asleep, and not sure if she s really seeing her emaciated, drugged out sister or an actual fairy, Polly lets her go, with no argument over how much Bree has destroyed since she Reviewed by Allison Fraclose for TeensReadToo.comOne night, Polly is awakened from a sound sleep to find her older sister, Bree, kissing her As Bree s blood red aura trails behind her like the tattered wings of a ruined fairy, she tells Polly that she s leaving for the woods, so that she can try to be alright again Half asleep, and not sure if she s really seeing her emaciated, drugged out sister or an actual fairy, Polly lets her go, with no argument over how much Bree has destroyed since she started using drugs No one believes her when she tells them Bree has run to the woods, so it s up to Polly to provide everything her sister will need Winter is almost there, and a developer is coming soon to trade out the trees for a housing development Following the guidance of her grandmother, Baba, Polly knows that she could rely on herself to survive alone in the forest, and, with her help, so can Bree Luckily, Polly finds that she doesn t have to be alone Others may not be able to see the colorful bands of light around each other that display exactly who they are inside, but they will believe her Under the protection of the hidden grove that Baba has shown her, Polly and her friends will learn that, with a little magic and a little faith, anything is possible Beautifully written and with vibrant imagery, this book will strike a chord with anyone who has found magic and solace in their own secluded spot of wilderness The explanations that head each chapter of the different wildflowers and their medicinal uses are also fascinating, as is the descriptions of various auras and what they mean The back cover states that the author wrote this as a gift for her daughter, and she will be writing one for her son next I ll be looking forward to reading that


  3. Chris Chris says:

    I m a 40 year old mom with a 12 year old daughter This was the perfect mother daughter read, and I HIGHLY recommend it for mothers and daughters of all ages Some magic, suspense, and a spunky heroine for the daughters, and strong female characters, interesting plant lore, and girls making the right decisions for the mothers GIRLWOOD is a great alternative to the darker, edgier books for teens that are out there in force There are some suggestions of drug use and teen pregnancy, but what I li I m a 40 year old mom with a 12 year old daughter This was the perfect mother daughter read, and I HIGHLY recommend it for mothers and daughters of all ages Some magic, suspense, and a spunky heroine for the daughters, and strong female characters, interesting plant lore, and girls making the right decisions for the mothers GIRLWOOD is a great alternative to the darker, edgier books for teens that are out there in force There are some suggestions of drug use and teen pregnancy, but what I liked about it was that these decisions were only hinted at and were not made by the main character, Polly Polly sees the bad things that have happened to her sister because of poor choices, and the story is about how she and her friends find their way to what s right And how they feel empowered by nature and their friendship with each other A hopeful, optimistic, green story Wonderful


  4. Annie Annie says:

    I initially picked this book up because of the amazing cover illustration, and would not have read it based on the flap copy otherwise The book is not what it might appear to be A modern story of a younger sister whose drug abusing older sister disappears Lots of interesting issues are brought forth, and any fantastic elements of the story are open to interpretation Modern, ancient, new agey and concrete all at the same time.


  5. Ever Ever says:

    Reminiscent of StarHawk and Francesca Lia Block A lovely first novel.


  6. Marnie Cannon Marnie Cannon says:

    I first saw Girlwood in middle school at Barnes and Nobles, and fell in love with the cover As usual I didn t have the money to buy the book at that time, but it never left my memory This summer I found it at Half Price Books and had to grab it The book is wonderful and has a great story and life lesson Granted, it probably would have been better for the middle school version of myself instead of the 21 year old me The main character in the piece is thirteen years old I loved the ideas of I first saw Girlwood in middle school at Barnes and Nobles, and fell in love with the cover As usual I didn t have the money to buy the book at that time, but it never left my memory This summer I found it at Half Price Books and had to grab it The book is wonderful and has a great story and life lesson Granted, it probably would have been better for the middle school version of myself instead of the 21 year old me The main character in the piece is thirteen years old I loved the ideas of the auras that are around everyone and how each person had a color that helped represent who they were I think if I had the ability to see those colors I would be distracted by them all the time The book has some great descriptions and characters, though it was slightly lacking in the depth of the piece And I think that was just because it is meantfor younger readers than people like me who are in college I found that its main point was to encourage teenagers to be themselves and not care about being part of the group, which is a wonderful theme for teenagers to learn I would definitely recommend this book to younger readers or parents who are looking for a story to read with their older children For people my own age it s a great read if you want something that s relaxing and an easy read Or if you like to collect books with pretty covers like myself


  7. Nur Farihin Nur Farihin says:

    I love nature, forests and woods and anything magical, so I really enjoyed reading this book The setting is wonderful, the characters are wonderful my personal favourite is Baba , and the friends and family dynamic is wonderful The other thing that I like about this book is that at the beginning of each chapter, there are info s albeit small about plants mentioned in the story, their uses throughout history and properties I myself is a believer that nature and everything in it have abundan I love nature, forests and woods and anything magical, so I really enjoyed reading this book The setting is wonderful, the characters are wonderful my personal favourite is Baba , and the friends and family dynamic is wonderful The other thing that I like about this book is that at the beginning of each chapter, there are info s albeit small about plants mentioned in the story, their uses throughout history and properties I myself is a believer that nature and everything in it have abundant healing properties, so it was very informative reading about plants that grows in a different part of the globe


  8. Claire Claire says:

    I absolutely love this book Yes, I m 41 years old, and this is a teen young adult book, but it s one of the best stories I ve read in a long time The beginning of each chapter tells about some edible plant and what its medicinal uses are The story is about a young girl whose family is falling apart her sister disappears and her parents break up, a developer is building homes, destroying the woods around them It s so magically written, the protagonist s relationship with her grandmother and I absolutely love this book Yes, I m 41 years old, and this is a teen young adult book, but it s one of the best stories I ve read in a long time The beginning of each chapter tells about some edible plant and what its medicinal uses are The story is about a young girl whose family is falling apart her sister disappears and her parents break up, a developer is building homes, destroying the woods around them It s so magically written, the protagonist s relationship with her grandmother and their relationship with the woods Truly a beautiful book


  9. Katherine Katherine says:

    Took some getting through the first chapter, and getting a sense of the magical world that Polly lives in, along with all the issues that face her during the course of the novel Once I got a sense of the pacing, I could not put this down I loved it Baba always said, when there s trouble, girls, run for the woods Nature is such an integral part of Polly s life and touches every aspect of this novel I love magical realism.


  10. Lauren Lauren says:

    This is my favorite book of all time If you love nature, you have to read this A great story for girls powerful, uplifting, and filled with the magic of the woods A must read