This review was completed by Amanda Harbin, staff reviewer with the YA Fantasy Guide.I was thoroughly impressed with Hope Collier’s debut YA novel. I have been following Hope’s blog for the past year or so, so I was aware that she is a talented writer capable of producing thoughtful musings. Yet I was still surprised when I was unable to put down my Kindle while reading Willows. To be sure there were things about the novel that I did not particularly care for, but all in all they were minor issues that were easy to overlook given the engaging story and ease of reading.I’m really big on character development, and I feel that Hope’s main character Ashton was someone with whom my eighteen year old self could identify (at least on an emotional level, I would have loved to have driven Ashton’s car, of course in all seriousness I might not have survived eighteen if I had Ashton’s car.) This girl is pretty much beat up right and left and spends most of the book in an understandable state of confusion and frustration. She is desperately trying to get a foothold in a life that has been torn to shreds and rebuilt around her without having any say in what happened. I’m pretty sure every teenager can identify with Ashton’s feeling of hopeless frustration, having so much responsibility, yet feeling as if they don’t get to choose their own fate. With little information about her new world she tries to make the right decisions, tries to follow her heart, but inevitably ends up tripping a lot along the way. Still Ashton has a common sense about her that makes her easy to love but doesn’t over age her character. I’m very interested to see how the romantic issues ultimately play out. There is a great dynamic between Ashton and her two love interests Kyle and Gabe. It’s easy to understand how eighteen year old Ashton is swept up with passion for Gabe, but I hope that Kyle’s loyalty and knowledge of Ashton’s true self help her to understand the true nature of loving and being loved. One of the few issues, and it was really minor was that sometimes Ashton’s angst got a little drippy. This made it occasionally difficult to truly appreciate what she was going through. All in all it wasn’t a hugely distracting problem.Hope has created a stunning and beautiful world that is easy to imagine and clearly written with a great deal of love for the story, its characters and the world in which they live. Fans of Amanda Hocking’s Trylle series will definitely want to check this novel out. I will be aching with curiosity to find out what adventures and challenges await Ashton and her friends in the next chapter of their lives.