What about Will by Ellen Hopkins. Strong, thoughtful verse novel for middle grade readers. How far would you go to protect your brother? @EllenHopkinsLit

Posted: November 7, 2021 in Intermediate, Secondary
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What about Will

By Ellen Hopkins

ISBN 9780593108642

Penguin Random House

Ellen Hopkins name is synonymous with verse novels. Her ability to take you inside the thoughts of her characters is well known and well respected. Writing mostly for the young adult audience, her latest book What about Will is aimed at the younger, middle grade readers.

Trace Reynolds is 12 and the younger brother of 17 year old Will. They were tight once. Good friends as well as brothers but after Will suffers a brain injury at a football game, everything changes. Will becomes angry, depressed and antisocial. Their mother has not long since left the family and now Trace sees Will slipping away from him too. Things begin to disappear and Will mixes with a new group of teens, and they are not the best people to be around.

Throughout the novel we feel Trace’s pain. He is caring and kind and and worries about Will. He misses his mother who he hasn’t seen in months. We feel his confusion as he becomes conflicted with trying to find out what is wrong with Will or waiting to see if Will will come right. He covers for his brother, trying to protect him but only he can decide, if it is the right thing to do. But Will doesn’t come right and things begin to spiral out of control.

This novel, in verse form, deals with many issues. Family breakdown, little league, trust, betrayal, brothers, head injuries, drug addiction. It’s all in here and woven together thoughtfully, with careful consideration to the reality of Trace and Will’s lives. Their characters and their situations offer an insight to what many families are going through. The things that happen here, happen in real life.

Friendship is a theme running through the book and one that highlights the importance of having someone who listen when you need them.

Highly recommend this book. A good solid story, authentic characters and great writing.

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