Review: BLOOD WOUNDS by Susan Beth Pfeffer

Blood Wounds 
Susan Beth Pfeffer
248 pages
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Release Date: September 13th, 2011
Source: ARC from Publisher
Rating: UGH

Blood can both wound and heal . . .

Willa is lucky: She has a loving blended family that gets along. Not all families are so fortunate. But when a bloody crime takes place hundreds of miles away, it has an explosive effect on Willa’s peaceful life. The estranged father she hardly remembers has murdered his new wife and children, and is headed east toward Willa and her mother. Under police protection, Willa discovers that her mother has harbored secrets that are threatening to boil over. Has everything Willa believed about herself been a lie? But as Willa sets out to untangle the mysteries of her past, she also keeps her own secret—one that has the potential to tear apart all she holds dear.

    Having read Susan Beth Pfeffer’s epic The Last Survivors books, I was undoubtedly excited to get my hands on Blood Wounds. Why is it that when I’m so excited for something, I usually end up disappointed?

    Willa Coffey is your average girl with a “happy” family. Or so she thinks. But we can all see that she is just expected to do what everyone wants without saying a thing. To override the want for things she can’t have, she cuts herself.

    That’s about all the personalization we get. Willa has got to be the “flattest” character I’ve seen. She was just plain 2D. I felt no connection, and zero emotion. I didn’t really care what happened to her. There were times when I felt sorry for her, but they just didn’t matter in that special way that makes your heart ache. And then there’s the action. If you’re an avid reader of my blog, you have to know I need action in my books. This was pretty lacking in that department. It would have been okay if Willa wasn’t so incredibly annoying for me.

    Susan Beth Pfeffer is an incredible author – I know this from Life as We Knew it and The Dead and the Gone. I loved those books a LOT, which is why I jumped at the opportunity to pick up Blood Wounds. In the end, I felt that Blood Wounds is a story that still needs a lot of work. As it is, in my opinion, its just the framework of a story (not to mention characters) that never reached a proper completion.

    Don’t take my word for it though, I know a few others who really enjoyed Blood Wounds. But I guess Susan Beth Pfeffer’s latest just wasn’t for me.

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Hafsah Faizal is a YA author, designer, and blogger. Her designs have graced the sites of New York Times bestselling authors, bloggers, and more. She resides in Texas, with her family.

September 10, 2011



  1. Reply


    September 9, 2011

    This is the first review I've read for Blood Wounds. I haven't read any of the author's previous books, so I'm not too familiar with her. It sounds like it had the potential to be great, like you said, but I'm sorry it fell flat for you. It's always difficult to become invested in a story when you can't relate or event connect with the main character. I think that's a basic requirement for a good book.

    Really enjoyed the honesty in your review.

    Kristan @ Lost Amongst the Shelves

  2. Reply


    September 9, 2011

    I really felt the same way about the flat character of Willa, but after I thought about it, I wonder if it was intentional. She was flat. She just went along with whatever happened and didn't make waves. No one really cared about her feelings, so maybe as readers we weren't supposed to either? I did end up cheering for her at the end, and hoped she would become a better person. Great review. Thanks!

  3. Reply

    Lauren M

    September 9, 2011

    Aw. I liked Blood Wounds, but I do agree with you about Willa being difficult to connect with. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Hafsah! :)

  4. Reply


    September 10, 2011

    I've read a couple of reviews that mentioned Willa's flatness. Sad. Hard to connect with a character like that and it really takes away from the story, no matter how interesting the plot.
    Mary @ BookSwarm

  5. Reply

    Carrie at In the Hammock Blog

    September 10, 2011

    awww :( that's too bad. i think I read a lot of books by her when i was younger.

  6. Reply

    Liz. R

    September 10, 2011

    It's a shame Willa was a flat character, I really can't enjoy books when I don't feel a connection to the main character. Sorry you were disappointed, but thanks for the review!

  7. Reply


    September 10, 2011

    Yikes! This story does not sound good at all. I hate in when it is hard to connect with the main character. =( Thanks for the honest review, Hafsah. I will stay clear of this one!

  8. Reply

    Melissa (i swim for oceans)

    September 10, 2011

    Great review, Hafsah. Though I rated this book higher than you did, I can definitely see where you're coming from. I felt like I got to know Willa a bit, but I felt like her family was lacking a lot, and that whole dynamic was rushed. Then again, I loved the first two books in her other series and hated her last one, so I guess it's all relative, right? :)

  9. Reply

    Chapter Chicks

    September 10, 2011

    Great honest review. I hate when books don't meet expectations, because getting your hands on that book you've been craving is half the fun. Its like someone telling you they're going to take you to Disneyland and they just end up taking you to the park. Thanks for letting me know not to push this up on my to read pile.


  10. Reply


    September 10, 2011

    I haven't read this author yet but I'll be sure to read her other books first. This certainly has an interesting description, but I think I need my characters to be just a bit MORE, ya know? So I'll skip it for now. But if I see it at the library or something I may pick it up just to see for myself. Maybe.

  11. Reply


    September 10, 2011

    I think I can safely pass on this book. Based on the flat main character and little action, I doubt I would connect with it either. I would like to read the author's Last Survivor's books sometime though. Great honest review, Hafsah.

  12. Reply

    A Canadian Girl

    September 10, 2011

    I've never read Pfeffer's books but I'll be passing on this one. I don't like the fact that just because the MC doesn't speak up for what she wants, she cuts herself. You also mentioned that she's a flat character; when your MC tends to be undeveloped, secondary characters usually suffer from the same problem as well.

  13. Reply

    Jenny N.

    September 10, 2011

    Yeah this one didn't have a lot of action…something I was expecting more of after reading the book synopsis.

  14. Reply

    YA Book Queen

    September 12, 2011

    Nice honest review, Hafsah. It's such a bummer when the protagonist isn't developed enough,

  15. Reply


    September 14, 2011

    Oh no, sorry to hear about the lack characterization and action in this one. I'm sort of interested in reading this… but ultimately, I have too many other books on my tbr that I'd rather read so I'll probably skip this one. Thanks for the helpful review!

  16. Reply


    November 27, 2011

    This sounds so disappointing. Which is just too bad. I really enjoyed the Last Survivors series. I absolutely loathe characters that are '2D'. I may wait a while to pick this one up.

  17. Reply

    Candace @ Lovey Dovey Books

    February 26, 2012

    Sounds like Blood Wounds would be a better story if the characters had more depth. I've run across that problem, too. Having characters that are really plain takes away from the story, in my opinion.