She's too young to be on her own, but Wreath has no choice. Fleeing the authorities after her mother's death, she's struggling to finish high school by day and trying to survive by camping out in a junkyard at night. But when a school counselor becomes suspicious, will she be forced to move on before she graduates? 288 pages, softcover from Barbour.
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Sometimes, there's nothing greater for a reader than finding a new book that just resonates deep within. Such was the case with me and my last read - Wreath. I can't explain what it was exactly that drew me back to this book over and over again, but I knew I would not be satisfied until I completed it. :o)
One thing that impressed me was that this did not feel like a young adult novel at all, perhaps because the main character had no choice but to grow up rather quickly after the sudden death of her mother. My heart ached that Wreath spent her days either going to the local park for a shower, eating nothing but peanut butter and crackers because her money supply was so thin, and that her home was the despised local junkyard. But oh, what perseverance! In spite of incredible obstacles, her determination to finish high school and hold down a job at the same time proved that this fictitious character was better than most kids I know in real life!
Wreath's biggest obstacle, though, was trust, and wow...did she have a lot to overcome there. I couldn't imagine living a life being afraid to trust in those around me--those who have shown they care about my well-being. It took a very long time, almost the span of the entire book, before she realized that she didn't need to run from those friends that she grew to love.
The ending was a little abrupt for my taste, but I'll admit that I'd love to take a return trip to Landry and catch up with Wreath and her friends. As this was my first experience with Judy Christie's work, I have no doubt that I'll pick up another of her novels down the road.
Wreath Willis is a sixteen year old girl who is determined to have a good life. Recently orphaned, she makes herself a list of all the things she needs to do to succeed in life, despite the odds against her. With no guardians, no place to stay and no money, she scopes out the town where her mother grew up, and settles on an old junkyard for a roof over her head.
One of the big things on her "list" is to avoid notice, something she does with no avail. Everywhere she turns is a complication to her plans, and no matter what she does, she draws attention wherever she goes. Will her past fears catch up to her, or will her secrets cause suspicions to the point that she will be forced to run again?
Wreath caught me up in it's spell to the point that I didn't realize I was entrapped until the book came to an end. I realized that every hope and dream of this girl became my own. Every disappointment and sorrow that overtook her became mine to resolve. And it wasn't until I finally had shut the book and looked up at life that I realized I was caught in it's fantastical web, and that the line between reality and fiction was blurred and no longer clear. A wonderful book that I will visit again and again, and again...
Here's what my daughter has to say about this book.
This was my favorite book that I've read recently. Wreath is amazingly strong. She's able to move place to place with her mother and survives. But when her mother dies in her arms, Wreath is forced to leave home. She wants to start a new life where her mother grew up. She never met her dad, because he died before she was born. She ends up living in a junkyard that she names Rusted Estates. Wreath finds a job at an old furniture store that is going down the drain. But she's making a life.
I loved Wreath. She inspired me with the way she was so strong through everything. Sure she could have opened up and let people help her sooner, but she's still amazing.
All Wreath had in life was her mother Frankie and now that she's dead , Wreath has nowhere to go and she has definitely made up her mind that she is not under any circumstances entering Foster Care. So Wreath decides to do what any normal teenager and one with guts and survival instincts would do - runaway as far as she can go, to a place where no-one knows her. That place ends up by chance being Landry after she manages to hitch a ride with Clarisse who turns out to be a lawyer in Landry. In Landry, Wreath decides that she needs a story to tell people, so Wreath comes up with a plan that she is visiting relatives and staying with her cousins. However, in reality Wreath has been staying at the Junkyard and sleeping in one of the old vans that's lying around. As the story develops, we read as Wreath begins a new life , a new job working at the local furniture shop and starts at the local high school Landry High. How long though can Wreath keep up her lies before the truth starts seeping through ? It seems though that God has a plan and a purpose for Wreath as we discover that she has ties to Landry that she didn't even realise , that her own father was from here and her Grandad is still alive and kicking. With the help of her newfound friends Faye Durham - The furniture shop owner , Julia Watson- local high school teacher , Clarisse Johnson- Lawyer and Law/ Destiny - her classmates and J.D - the local handyman will they provide Wreath with the one thing that she needs , a warm and loving home and friends whom she can call her family ? One of the things that I loved most about this novel was that Wreath was the type of girl who loved making lists and for a fellow list-maker , it was awesome to read her lists. Wreath by Judy Christie is a great addition to the list of Teen Christian Reads.
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.