Nataliya's Reviews > The Hollow

The Hollow by Jessica Verday
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Apr 06, 2011

it was ok
bookshelves: 2011-reads, the-hype-is-overhyped, first-in-a-series
Recommended for: People who actually enjoyed "Twilight"
Read in April, 2011 , read count: 1

** spoiler alert ** Despite Washington Irving references, about 90% of this book focuses only on the lovestruck gazing at a mysterious friendly boy who likes to hang out at a cemetery - Casper CaspIAN. Not a 'friendly ghost' at all, why'd you ask???


Yup, I just gave away the big plot point of this book. Which everyone, except the protagonist, is able to see from a mile away, with all the anvil-sized hints the author drops.

Now, the idea of this story sounded interesting - our teenage protagonist Abbey knows that her best friend's death is likely very NOT accidental, and she just happens to live in the town made famous by Washington Irving's The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. The one with the headless horsemen, you know?



However, the interesting premise goes right out of the window the moment Abbey meets a mysterious strange boy and - of course - immediately and automatically falls in love with him. Because that's how things apparently now work in YA novels - insta-love seems almost a genre requirement. Forget about the dead best friend - there is a boy to swoon about.

But my biggest gripe with this book is this - the story reads pretty much like a young girl's diary.
I remember starting one when I was nine (I lasted about a week); it went pretty much like this: "Dear diary, this is what happened today - *cue a long list of mundane things*".
Well, this is what this story reads like. It details EVERY SINGLE MOMENT of Abbey's days - her wardrobe choices, her baking cookies, school, Caspian, school activities, cookies, making perfumes, Caspian, baking cookies, school, Caspian, cookies, perfumes (yes, cookies must be an important plot point given how often they are mentioned)... Okay, I'd keep the perfume part in - it is original and interesting, but the rest is just filler that bogs down the book and bloats the story that should have occupied a compact few hundred pages into three way-too-long books (yes, I've read the entire trilogy - only because I wanted to know how this dragged out story ends. Answer - unsatisfyingly, very much so).
********

I just wish Jessica Verday had trusted that her readers can picture what is going on in the story without being spoon-fed every minute detail of everything. We do for the most part have working imaginations, y'know?

Kristen (the dead friend) gets promptly forgotten for the most part. The Legend of Sleepy Hollow is referred to only on occasion. It's all about the friendly ghost mysterious boy for pages and pages and pages and pages. Because CLEARLY the world stops turning once a cute boy shows up. Who, for no good reason at all except the intended romanticism, starts calling her Astrid instead of Abbey. Witness protection program or what?
"At that moment - in that small, concise, perfectly clear moment of time - I knew. It was that moment I fell in love with him. It actually caused me to stop, and time froze for just a second. But that feeling was so right, and so strong, that I knew I wasn't wrong."
These sound like famous last words (of a potential victim of a crazy dangerous guy) - "I knew I wasn't wrong." *Eyeroll* I wish YA heroines would occasionally actually get to know a guy before deciding to irreversibly tie their destiny to him.

Well, unless the boy is THIS CUTE!!! :)

Abbey is not a terrible YA heroine. She actually has goals and aspirations for the future, actually related to her talent - perfume making. She is written to be quirky and independent. Unfortunately, the puppy-love and unnecessary detailing overshadow her potential.
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Verdict: It's a predictable YA paranormal romance that is overly detailed, drags on way too much, mostly lacks character development, and could have benefited from some heavy editing. Nothing special about it. Granted, I am not a target audience and only read this one in support of Jessica Verday's stand on that whole "Wicked Pretty Things" debacle (Verday was asked to change a story for a teen anthology because her characters were gay, and that was not okay with the editor). Still, I expect an exciting story, target audience or not, and this one failed to deliver. 2 stars only because I liked that whole perfume-making bit.
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Comments (showing 1-23 of 23) (23 new)

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message 1: by Kay (new)

Kay The scary thing is, many young adults actually enjoy this stuff and look up to these so-called heroines.

Great review!


message 2: by Richard (new)

Richard Derus Because CLEARLY the world stops turning once a cute boy shows up.

Well...yeah. Mine does, anyway.


message 3: by Tracy (new)

Tracy Lol. Mine does too. This was a great review. I don't read tons of YA paranormal stuff. Loved Buffy the Vampire Slayer though!


Nataliya Kay - that's true. If I ever catch my future hypothetical daughter reading stuff like that, I will have to have a serious discussion with her.

Richard (and Tracy) - awwwww... Well, as long as it doesn't disturb Earth's rotational axis too much I guess there is no harm in your world stopping turning.

Tracy - hang on, Buffy is a book, too?


message 5: by Kay (new)

Kay Nataliya wrote: "Kay - that's true. If I ever catch my future hypothetical daughter reading stuff like that, I will have to have a serious discussion with her.

Richard (and Tracy) - awwwww... Well, as long as it d..."


I wouldn't mind too, too much...as long as her world didn't stop when a cute boy shows up...as Richard's and Tracy's worlds do...

I fear all of this sudden stoppage of rotational axes would screw up the gravitational forces of all other worlds, and we would all end up in a cosmic collision of no return.

It's not too late to save yourselves!

;)


message 6: by B0nnie (new)

B0nnie nothing is greater than Buffy :-) they did novelizations of the shows but they don't really capture the buffyness.


message 7: by Tracy (new)

Tracy They don't. I was talking about the tv show. It was perfect and the ending of the series was perfect because Buffy didn't have to carry the weight of the world on her shoulders. I think Joss should have left well enough alone because the graphic novels aren't as good (I haven't read them I just take my daughter's word for it). Libby's screen saver is Bella and Edward at dinner in the foreground with Buffy in the background pointing a crossbow at Edward. Sooo funny.


message 8: by Tracy (new)

Tracy Well it only stops for a couple of seconds!


Nataliya Tracy wrote: "Libby's screen saver is Bella and Edward at dinner in the foreground with Buffy in the background pointing a crossbow at Edward."

I want that screen saver! And yeah, Buffy is awesome :)


message 10: by Richard (new)

Richard Derus Urpsome book. I think you were too kind by half, dear Doctor.


message 11: by Sesana (new)

Sesana Yup, I just gave away the big plot point of this book.

And I thank you for it! Such a shame to take so promising a setting and turn it into just another instalove PNR.


Nataliya Sesana wrote: "Yup, I just gave away the big plot point of this book.

And I thank you for it! Such a shame to take so promising a setting and turn it into just another instalove PNR."


Right. It could have been so interesting, but the author chose a well-travelled and quite boring path to take.


Sushin Dahal i reada lot of YA books and this book so far s my most hated book!


Nataliya Sushin wrote: "i reada lot of YA books and this book so far s my most hated book!"

I have read a few books that were so much worse than this one, but regardless this one is rather bad.


message 15: by Shari (new) - rated it 1 star

Shari Yes! I don't think I can finish this book and I am a compulsive book finisher. I keep thinking of that episode of Seinfeld where they pitch their show about nothing. You go out for a cup of coffee...there's a show! Only with this book it's "You get up, get dressed and make cookies - there's a chapter!"


Nataliya Shari wrote: "Yes! I don't think I can finish this book and I am a compulsive book finisher. I keep thinking of that episode of Seinfeld where they pitch their show about nothing. You go out for a cup of coffee..."

I can never understand why so many authors persist with the diary-like style of writing. Who cares about all the pointless minutia of the characters' lives? It's just a padding to the story, and in books like this one it overwhelms the storyline.


Sonnie If you hated the book so much, you should not have left a comment. Personally, I loved the book. Next time, when you hate a book this much, don't leave a comment so you can save the people who actually like the book a lot of time.


Nataliya Sonnie wrote: "If you hated the book so much, you should not have left a comment. Personally, I loved the book. Next time, when you hate a book this much, don't leave a comment so you can save the people who actu..."

Excuse me? I think I have a definite right to express my opinion about a book, even if that opinion is negative (just as you think it's fine to state your love of this book on someone else's negative review - freedom of speech is a lovely concept, isn't it?)

But thanks for taking time out of your day to tell me what I should and should not do. /sarcasm.


message 19: by Hannah (new)

Hannah LQTM. So is that what they're teaching in the schools these days, Sonnie? Only write a review if it's a positive one? Sounds strangely like Thumper's father in Bambi... "If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all!"

I knew there was a reason I wanted to pursue classical education with my children once they are "school-age." *shudder*


Andie Long Couldn't have written better myself. Agree with every word.


Wren [t(he)y] What are the paranormal creatures?


message 22: by Fitz (new) - rated it 2 stars

Fitz I agree with everything you wrote. The only thing I'd say is that you weren't hard enough on how light this series is on story. This isn't really a trilogy at all, but one novel somewhat randomly cut up into three parts. There's really barely any story there. Perhaps if this had been a single novel (without the "insta-love") it might have been kind of entertaining. As a trilogy, it's just stuffed with minutia that doesn't add anything except pages.


Hailey I absolutely LOVE this book, however I hated the twilight series. This book , along with the others in this trilogy, takes me to a whole different world. I read all these books for hours at a time, finishing the books within a week.


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