Graceful (Willow Falls Series)
By Wendy Mass
Rating: 2/5 Stairs*
*Rating Disclaimer: This is based on reading this book as a standalone. I think I would have a higher rating if I had read the entire Willow Falls series first.
We just got back from a road trip, and my son helped me pick out some audio books to take on the trip. We were a bit limited in selection, our local branch is smaller and doesn’t have as many choices on hand as the larger branches do. My son wanted a Wendy Mass book (specifically A Mango Shaped Space, which was not on the shelf), and our branch had Graceful available. Perfect.
I will say up front, both my boys enjoyed this book. I think I would have liked it…IF I had read the previous four books in the series. When we selected this book, we didn’t realize that Graceful was the fifth (and based on the ending, I suspect final) book in the Willow Falls series.
There are some series where you can pick up any book and jump right in. It’s okay if you haven’t read the previous books. Graceful is not one of these. It seemed like I had opened a book to a random page in the middle of the story. The characters kept referencing events from previous books, and it felt like I was the new kid at school, completely unaware of the character’s and town’s history that they kept continually referencing.
The series seems to have a fun premise – magic in the town of Willow Falls that continues to involve the local kids. The ending is a nice one for the series, letting readers know how the kids end up in the future. If you want to give the town of Willow Falls a try, I would suggest 11 Birthdays, the first book of the series. I haven’t read it, but it would be a much better place to start.