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Blood Wounds by Susan Beth Pfeffer

Ever read a title expecting it to be a simplistic tale out of newsmedia headlines? You basically know the plot and expect to have all of the answers? Well, I’m afraid to disappoint you, but you aren’t going to find typical cliches, easy answers, and predictable plots in Blood Wounds by Susan Beth Pfeffer.

Instead you will find far more complex characters and a rich yet more realistically disturbing plot than her earlier works. I am still a big fan of the plot of Life As We Knew It and the “moon” books, but I am more impressed in Blood Wounds with the delicate handling Susan Beth Pfeffer does with her characters, their motivations, and their actions. It is impossible to separate people into categories of good and bad. People are complex and decisions are not always easy. What may seem to be perfect often shatters most easily.

Blood Wounds is Willa’s story of discovering how the illusion of a family cannot solve all wounds. Willa lives with her mother, her stepfather and his daughters. Suddenly she learns her biological father has committed a horrific crime murdering his new wife and children and is now headed east toward Willa and her mother.

While Willa deals with the truth of her blood relatives and her feelings of shame, she explores the difference between a healthy family relationship and one where members are forced to suppress their needs and wants to keep the peace.

Teens and tweens dealing with domestic violence, stepfamilies, and cutting will cling to this title seeking their own healing. The domestic violence is not easy to read about, but as a victim myself, I know it is important for titles of survivors to exist.

Blood Wounds will be released September 12, 2011, and later that month Susan Beth Pfeffer will be a featured author at the Tennessee Association of School Librarians conference. I cannot wait to capture a few moments of her time. Maybe some of the Tennessee authors and teachers will attend, too. You’re all welcome. Just go to the TASL website and register.

I hope that Cheryl Rainfield (author of Scars) has the opportunity to read Blood Wounds soon so we can have a well-rounded discussion of how cutting is used by teens for emotional survival and ways for teens to seek counseling help.

Now, if I can just get Susan Beth Pfeffer back to writing The Shade of the Moon and sending me an early ARC, I might be able to move on from the impact Blood Wounds has had on me.

Diane’s Note: I do apologize for constantly misspelling Susan Beth Pfeffer’s name. I don’t know why I insist on adding an ” i”  making it Pfeiffer, but I do appreciate each of you who pointed out my error. Thanks.


  1. I just read on Wikipedia that “The Shade of the Moon” will not be published based on a joint decision by the author and publisher? Does this make any sense?

  2. Lisa Von Drasek Practically Paradise says:

    Mike, you are correct. I read the Wikipedia article and then went to the source – well the author anyway. Susan Beth Pfeffer talks about sending back her unsigned contract for book #4 The Shade of the Moon. I am sad because I wanted her to do all the hard work and make the relationship of Miranda and Alex work out better. So far their problems seem unsolvable and I want a happy ending. I can sympathize with the author’s not wanting to write to please her publisher, but I’d love to hear “the rest of the story.”