One For The Murphys and Pictures of Hollis Woods

Honestly, I just finished Pictures of Hollis Woods about a week ago. I finally caved one day and put it on my hold list, and when I got it, I was super annoyed that the book didn’t have a synopsis on it. I was planning to do a post on it from the very beginning, but then I saw One For The Murphys, by Lynda Mullaly Hunt. I’ll admit that I do like Pictures of Hollis Woods more, but I felt that people may want to know about One For the Murphys if they need a different, a little bit more modern writing style.

Pictures of Hollis Woods by Patricia Reilly Giff

Synopsis: Hollis Woods has been in so many foster homes that she can hardly remember them all. But one in particular she can’t keep out of her mind. The summer she spent with the Regans stays near to her in her fondest memories, no matter how determined Hollis is to shut away the past and spent time with her newest foster parent, a woman named Josie. Josie speaks Hollis’s language of art and life, but she has some problems as well. She has trouble remembering things, and she’s getting older, but no matter what, Hollis is determined to keep the two of them together. 

One For The Murphys by Lynda Mullaly Hunt

Synopsis: Twelve-year-old Carley Connors can take a lot. Growing up in Las Vegas with her fun-loving mother, she’s learned to be tough. But she never expected a betrayal that would land her in a foster care. When she’s placed with the Murphys, a lively family with three boys, she’s blindsided. Do happy families really exist? Carley knows she could never belong in their world, so she keeps her distance.

It’s easy to stay suspicious of Daniel, the brother who is almost her age and is resentful she’s there. But Mrs. Murphy makes her feel heard and seen for the first time, and the two younger boys seem determined to work their way into her heart. Before she knows it, Carley is protecting the boys from a neighbourhood bully and even teaching Daniel how to play basketball. Then just when she’s feeling like she could truly be one of the Murphys, news from her mother shakes her world.

Hmm, where to start? First off, Pictures of Hollis Woods. I really appreciated the creative way that Patricia Reilly Giff displayed and formatted this book. I thought it was creative and really played into Hollis’s art. I fell in love with Hollis’s character and the characters that surround her in her story, especially the Regans. They’re a happy family, full of kindness, compassion and I felt they were truly perfect for Hollis. I think the plot line to this story was well done, and even though this is a fast read, it was a really deep one.

One For The Murphys. I wasn’t as sure about this book. I really liked the storyline, but I was really on edge with Carley’s character. She was rude and pushed people away, and at times I didn’t like that bratty side of her, and there’s actually a huge art to being able to score the right kind of pushing people away. I just didn’t feel like One For the Murphys scored that art. Otherwise, I actually really loved this book. It was a touching, heartwarming novel about hope, family and love. This story really meant a lot to me, and I was kind of relieved actually when I got to the ending. It’s not a fairy tail ending, but it’s definitely a realistic one. A great story.

All in all, these two stories were touching, heartwarming and beautifully written. In my opinion, I would choose Pictures of Hollis Woods over One For the Murphys, but I think that it really depends on the person. I recommend both of them!

pg count for One For the Murphys, hardback: 224

pg count for Pictures of Hollis Woods, paperback: 166


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