Author: Krystal Sutherland
Publication: April 6th 2021 by Hot Key Books
Genre: Young Adult, Horror
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Seventeen-year-old Iris Hollow has always been strange. Something happened to her and her two older sisters when they were children, something they can’t quite remember but that left each of them with an identical half-moon scar at the base of their throats.
Iris has spent most of her teenage years trying to avoid the weirdness that sticks to her like tar. But when her eldest sister, Grey, goes missing under suspicious circumstances, Iris learns just how weird her life can get: horned men start shadowing her, a corpse falls out of her sister’s ceiling, and ugly, impossible memories start to twist their way to the forefront of her mind.
As Iris retraces Grey’s last known footsteps and follows the increasingly bizarre trail of breadcrumbs she left behind, it becomes apparent that the only way to save her sister is to decipher the mystery of what happened to them as children.
The closer Iris gets to the truth, the closer she comes to understanding that the answer is dark and dangerous – and that Grey has been keeping a terrible secret from her for years.
House of Hollow follows Iris Hollow who along with her two older sisters, Grey Hollow and Vivi Hollow, went missing when they were kids only to show back up out of the blue a month later with no memory of what happened to them. Now at seventeen years old Iris just wants to get through school without any of the odds things happening that seem to be following her. But then Grey goes missing again and she left strange clues for Iris and Vivi to follow.
This book had a strong and very promising start. I was hooked, the writing was absolutely gorgeous as well as creepy (in a good way!) and I desperately wanted to know what happened to Iris and her sisters when they were children. And why their mother insists on Iris calling her by her first name instead of mom. But then the story started losing me. Or more accurately the characters started losing me. It was a little of both, actually. The story and character development left me somewhat disappointed.
Like I said, the writing was gorgeous. And it really was! That was a part I couldn’t get enough of. The author definitely has a way with balancing the lyrical and eerie writing, which perfectly fit with the whole atmosphere of the story. It was my favorite thing out of the whole book. It was also a pretty quick read so that was a good thing as well for me.
But as much as I loved the writing, I wanted to enjoy the story and characters more but that didn’t happen. Iris was an okay main character to follow, although I never really did love her. Vivi wasn’t too bad either but I really didn’t enjoy reading about Grey or her boyfriend Tyler. Especially Tyler kinda bothered me. I felt like he was only there for a comical aspect. And other than that I also didn’t like some of the answers we got about the Hollow sisters and everything that happened to them all those years ago. I was left with a “meh” feeling about that all, to be honest.
I would recommend House of Hollow if you’re really into books that have beautiful and elegant writing as well as a spooky and strange atmosphere. That part of the book really worked for me but if you’re like me and are generally more into the characters and story then you might end up a little frustrated like I was.
About the author:
Krystal Sutherland is an internationally published author. Her first novel, Chemical Hearts, was published in over 20 countries and was named by the American Booksellers Association as one of the best debuts of 2016. The film adaptation, produced by Amazon Studios, stars Lili Reinhart (Riverdale) and Austin Abrams (Euphoria); Sutherland served as an executive producer on the project. Her second novel, A Semi-Definitive List of Worst Nightmares, was published to critical acclaim in 2017 and has been optioned for adaptation by Yellow Bird US. In 2018, she appeared on the annual Forbes “30 Under 30” list. Originally from Australia, she has lived on four continents and currently calls London home. Her next novel for young adults, House of Hollow, is set for publication by Penguin in spring 2021.