The student news site of Glenbard South High School in Glen Ellyn, Illinois

The Independent

The student news site of Glenbard South High School in Glen Ellyn, Illinois

The Independent

The student news site of Glenbard South High School in Glen Ellyn, Illinois

The Independent

Illustrator: Mikey Alam
The Real History of Thanksgiving
Erika Hartman, In-Depth Writer • November 30, 2023

Each year, on the fourth Thursday of November, Americans of all races, religions and ethnicities come together for a day of gratitude and celebration. Plates of mac and cheese,...


Willa of the Wood: An Enchanting Tale

Robert Beatty wrote “Willa of the Wood” in 2018. Source: Amazon

Every good fantasy novel needs a Faeran. And every good fantasy novel needs a heroine. Willa is both of these things. Robert Beatty’s “Willa of the Wood” describes the enchanting tale of a girl who realizes she needs to rewrite the fate of her entire clan.

 The book begins with an introduction to Willa and her clan: the dying, mystical Faeran people living near the Great Smoky Mountains of America. Like many other children, Willa has grown up to be a thief for her clan, surviving off what she can take from humans. As the clan grew older and less children were born, Willa became the last to be initiated as a thief.

Willa, however, is different from the rest of the clan. Her family has descended from the woodwitches of the past, allowing her to speak to animals and plants while camouflaging flawlessly. Her journey starts when she goes against the rules of the clan, resulting in her fleeing and seeking refuge with her sworn enemy. Living near her enemy convinces her to return to the old ways of speaking to the trees and wildlife around her. As she learns to talk to the animals and plant-life and control the environment around her, she begins to see through the lies her people believe.

Willa of the Wood is an incredibly easy read, but holds onto its depth by exploring the ideas of a mob mentality and the true meaning of teamwork. This novel dissects the social structures of societies, such as how “we” without “I” is not always the best option as many ideas get overrun by the group opinion. This portrays a supposed utopian society from the perspective of all the faults within it. The Faeran society, in particular, acted and thought as one unit. This contradicts the very principle of teamwork. When Willa encounters a human, she is introduced to teamwork and friendship, when she makes a plan to confront the lumberjacks and starts to learn about others rather than simply assuming and. The Faeran society never saw the good in others unless they benefited the clan, butWilla was able to learn that everyone has some good in them, regardless of their mistakes. 

“Willa of the Wood” by Robert Beatty is a rather simple read, but one that succeeds in  providing insight into themes such as friendship and teamwork. It also explores social constructs and how, historically, environments have been destroyed as a result of deforestation. It shows how those growing up together, regardless of blood relations, do not have to be the people of a forever family. “Willa of the Wood” may be a basic book to some, but for those who are looking for something fast-paced to return to reading, this is the perfect book.

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About the Contributor
Amina Irfanullah, Scoop Writer
I am Amina Irfanullah and I am a senior here at Glenbard South High School. I am currently in NHS, MSA, and Principal's Advisory Board besides Newspaper. My current goal for this year is to finish strong and post as many articles or poems/short stories as I possibly can!

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