The Hollow Girl

The Hollow Girl Will Give You All The Feelings

The Hollow Girl by Hillary Monahan

Published by Delacorte Press: scheduled for Oct. 2017

Genre: Young Adult, Horror

Pages: 272

WOW! So I didn’t know what to think going into this. I almost didn’t request it, because it seemed just on the border of something I’d be comfortable reading. I am still honestly so confused about my thoughts. Which I think is natural, given the situation. The author wrote both an amazing forward and an end note, and in the end note she explained that her editor said she loved and hated the book equally, which I think sums up my feelings nicely.

The Hollow Girl by Hillary Monohan

All the Wrong Chords Book

Bethan is the apprentice to a green healer named Drina in a clan of Welsh Romanies. Her life is happy and ordered and modest, as required by Roma custom, except for one thing: Silas, the son of the chieftain, has been secretly harassing her.

One night, Silas and his friends brutally assault Bethan and a half-Roma friend, Martyn. As empty and hopeless as she feels from the attack, she asks Drina to bring Martyn back from death’s door. “There is always a price for this kind of magic,” Drina warns. The way to save him is gruesome. Bethan must collect grisly pieces to fuel the spell: an ear, some hair, an eye, a nose, and fingers.

She gives the boys who assaulted her a chance to come forward and apologize. And when they don’t, she knows exactly where to collect her ingredients to save Martyn.

The hollow girl

I will say the premise intrigued me while it also had me very concerned. We have a young girl who has been raped, and who now is willing to go to crazy lengths to bring her friend back from the dead. So many trigger warnings, so much that could be done with too little tact, and I almost didn’t request it.

I am glad I did, though. While I will say that the very idea of this is quite obviously not for everyone, I think it does what it sets out to do with incredible grace.

The Writing

Is very interesting! There were aspects of it I really, really enjoyed. Everything scene with magic is written just beautifully. And while there is a definite trigger warning for a rape, the scene itself is mostly off camera and written incredibly tactfully.

I do feel there was a pacing issue. We spend a fair amount of time before the story gets started getting to know Bethan and gran and Martyn, and it’s a bit slow (especially because we’re growing accustomed to the Romani and their ways). And then boom, the inciting incident happens already halfway through, and the rest of the book feels rushed. The horror scenes, the gruesome justice we crave, all happens so quickly that it’s hard to feel particularly excited about the wrongs being righted.

The Characters

This is an interesting one here. I love Bethan’s gran, who teaches her everything and guides her through the aftermath of her assault. She’s such a fun woman, very different from so many warm grandmothers in stories.

Martyn, Bethan’s friend who she is trying to save, is great. I do enjoy that we get to know him fairly well before the incident. He’s very funny, and his dynamic with Bethan is wonderful.

I don’t know if I like Bethan? Which is fine. I do empathize with her, and I care for what happens to her, and I suppose that’s really what’s important.

I also genuinely hate the antagonists, the boys involved in Bethan’s rape (duh, right?), but I mean there was a lot of build up so you hate the boys thoroughly even before that.

When I Cast Your Shadow by Sarah Porter

I think it’s great that we have a Romani story, especially an own voices one, that tackles such an important issue.

This speaks so much to rape culture. We have boys who actively participate in a rape they don’t agree with, because their friend tells them what to do. It speaks so much to hive mind and how when people aren’t held accountable for their actions, they can go to these horrible lengths to get what they want.

 

Thanks to NetGalley for advanced access to this book in exchange for an honest review!

 

 

 

 

hexed book by michelle krys

Hexed: Another Teen Witch Story Is Less Than Magical

Hexed by Michelle Krys

Published by Delacorte Press in 2014

Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Fantasy, Supernatural

Pages: 384

Let me start by saying it gives me no pleasure to give the kind of review I’m about to give for Hexed. I wish I could love every book. I wish I could say great things about every book. Unfortunately, it’s just not the case.

The Goodreads Description:

If high school is all about social status, Indigo Blackwood has it made. Sure, her quirky mom owns an occult shop, and a nerd just won’t stop trying to be her friend, but Indie is a popular cheerleader with a football-star boyfriend and a social circle powerful enough to ruin everyone at school. Who wouldn’t want to be her?

Then a guy dies right before her eyes. And the dusty old family Bible her mom is freakishly possessive of is stolen. But it’s when a frustratingly sexy stranger named Bishop enters Indie’s world that she learns her destiny involves a lot more than pom-poms and parties. If she doesn’t get the Bible back, every witch on the planet will die. And that’s seriously bad news for Indie, because according to Bishop, she’s a witch too.

Suddenly forced into a centuries-old war between witches and sorcerers, Indie’s about to uncover the many dark truths about her life—and a future unlike any she ever imagined on top of the cheer pyramid.

The Characters Are Terrible

Nearly every single one. We have our narrator, Indie, who is every shitty mean girl you normally love to hate. There’s a reason that shitty girl isn’t usually our narrator. We don’t like her. We don’t root for her. She has terrible, bitchy friends who treat her like garbage. Her boyfriend treats her like garbage.

So she opts instead to pine after a literal stalker. (It’s okay to be a stalker if you’re super hot). The stalker, Bishop, get this, treats her like garbage. Are we sensing a pattern, here? Indie surrounds herself with shitty people. Indie is a shitty person.

The one decent person in the story is Indie’s neighbor Paige, whom Indie uses and abuses because she can. The one person who is always there, who treats Indie like a human being worthy of love and friendship, Indie can’t stand. Indie manipulates Paige at every given opportunity, and then Paige all but disappears from the novel once she has given the mean girl everything she has.

The Magic is Mediocre

If I’m reading a book about witches, I want it to be about witches.

We wait over half the book for Indie to find out she’s a witch. Almost the entire other half for her to learn to use magic. Of course, she never learns magic well, (basically she levitates some shit and flies for three seconds), meaning she has to rely on her stalker to be, well, a stalker, and save her ass over and over and over. Which leads me to…

The Painful Plot

The cat and mouse in Hexed is just ever so fucking annoying. We run into the bad guys five, six, seven, eight? times. I’m not even sure. Always Indie and her stalker manage a narrow escape. Always the encounter is anticlimactic. Even the climax is anticlimactic.

I’m hesitant to even call it a climax, even though it involves an actual dragon that had me very briefly but actually excited.

The Writing Leans on the Author’s Wit and Humor

which are pretty engaging. There is no denying that Krys is a funny woman. That was the one upside to a novel I’m realizing should have gone into my DNF list, but I really, really have to hate a book for that to happen.

So, my most important final thought:

WE HAVE TO STOP SELLING STALKING AND VIOLENCE AS LOVE. IT’S DISGUSTING. FUCKING STOP IT.

What About You?

Did you like Hexed more than I did?

What tropes are you just done with?

 

*Note: My reviews are full of opinions. I may hate a book. May want to kill it with fire. I may say a book is the worst thing to happen to me since the Odd Thomas movie adaptation. None of these things mean it is objectively bad. I recognize that. You may like a book I hate. Sue me.

**Please don’t sue me, I just write here.