Happy Monday! Today I have a review of Willa & Hesper, now available from Grand Central Publishing! I also have a giveaway here on this post, so please make sure to read all the way to the bottom!
Willa & Hesper. This book! So much to think about!
Willa and Hesper are studying creative writing when they become fast friends. Ultimately, a romance develops between them, but the romance is only a small part of the book. It’s about much, much more and is comprised mostly of their lives after their break-up. Willa becomes too much for Hesper. She’s too close, and Hesper needs space, so she runs to her family’s ancestral home in the the country of Georgia. There she visits her grandfather.
Shortly after, Willa runs in her own way, joining a tour of Holocaust sites in Germany and Poland.
The story is told from each of their perspectives, and they quickly find no solace or comfort in their search for their respective pasts. The book then lands back in the United States with the Trump presidency as its backdrop.
I would say close to eighty-percent of this story is about Willa and Hesper’s journeys to find themselves. Their trips were full of insight for me, as they visited places some of which I was previously unfamiliar. Their emotions also offered me perspective. The family dynamics were fascinating to behold, and I can’t forget to mention the glorious writing. It matches the stunning cover.
Overall, Willa & Hesper is a quick-paced, lyrical, absorbing read, and I’m still mulling over the exceptional experience I had reading it.
Thanks to the publisher for the complimentary copy. All opinions are my own.
For fans of What Belongs to You by Garth Greenwell and The Futures by Anna Pitonia, a soul-piercing debut that explores the ways that past and present intertwine, queerness, and coming of age in uncertain times.
In WILLA & HESPER, two young women fall in love. When they fall apart, they unwittingly take the same path to heal from their breakup, seeking answers in the lands of their ancestors. From Tbilisi, Georgia to the war sites of Germany, they discover what can break and what can mend when you look to the past to understand your present.
Willa’s darkness enters Hesper’s light late one night in Brooklyn. Theirs is a whirlwind romance until Willa starts to know Hesper too well, to crawl into her hidden spaces, and Hesper shuts her out. She runs, following her fractured family back to her grandfather’s hometown of Tbilisi, Georgia, looking for the origin story that he is no longer able to tell. But once in Tbilisi, cracks appear in her grandfather’s history-and a massive flood is heading toward Georgia, threatening any hope for repair.
Meanwhile, heartbroken Willa is desperate to leave New York that she joins a group trip for Jewish twentysomethings to visit Holocaust sites in Germany and Poland, hoping to override her emotional state. When it proves to be more fraught than home, she must come to terms with her past-the ancestral past, her romantic past, and the past that can lead her forward.
Told from alternating perspectives, and ending in the shadow of Trump’s presidency, WILLA & HESPER is a deeply moving, cerebral, and timely debut.
Simple entry! For a chance to win a physical copy of Willa & Hesper, please make sure you are following my blog and comment below! You must be a resident of the United States or Canada to enter, per the publisher. Thanks to Grand Central Publishing for sponsoring the giveaway! The book will be mailed by the publisher to the randomly chosen winner. Good luck and thanks for entering!
I’m running two giveaways, and for a second chance to win the book, please visit my instagram page here: GIVEAWAY on Bookstagram (another chance to win!).
Have you read Willa & Hesper, or is it on your TBR? Happy Reading! ~ Jennifer THR