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Hollow Earth

(Hollow Earth #1)

3.91  ·  Rating details ·  2,012 ratings  ·  341 reviews
Imagination matters most in a world where art can keep monsters trapped—or set them free.

Lots of twins have a special connection, but twelve-year-old Matt and Emily Calder can do way more than finish each other’s sentences. Together, they are able to bring art to life and enter paintings at will. Their extraordinary abilities are highly sought after, particularly by a
Hardcover, US Edition, 381 pages
Published October 30th 2012 by Aladdin
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Average rating 3.91  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,012 ratings  ·  341 reviews

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Usually when a celeb writes a book there is something of a fanfare but if there was a lot of hype running up to the release of this book then I missed it all. I only heard about it through my mother-in-law who mentioned that she has see John Barrowman talking about it in a TV interview. On the very next day we had several pupils ask if we were going to be buying it for the library. Feeling something of a failure I did a little online digging and contacted its publisher, Buster Books, who very ...more
Amber Ditullio
I first found John Barrowman through Doctor Who. He played the sexy, omni-sexual Captain Jack. I watched him through his appearances in that show and the spin-off show, Torchwood. I started looking up things about him online. And, recently, I picked up his first autobiography, Anything Goes. Reading it made me realize even more what a talented, funny and great man he was. And as I was looking for more things by or about him, I found that he and his sister, Carole, had written a YA Fantasy book. ...more
May 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: childrens
I loved this book. I admit to purchasing it because it had John Barrowman's name on the cover, but as soon as I started reading I was entranced by this book. It's a great read. I've read some of the other reviews saying it's the next Harry Potter... but I don't think there will be another Harry Potter. This instead is a great start to a new trilogy, and reminded me more of Under The Mountain by Maurice Gee than HP.
I read this book in one sitting, I couldn't put it down, and now that I've
Kiirsi Hellewell
Jan 28, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book was a train wreck!! There could have been an interesting story or idea hidden under all the poor execution...but it was so badly written that I couldn't tell. Point of view shifted between characters in the SAME confusing! I could hardly ever tell when a certain character was speaking or thinking. There was a lot of telepathy going on, and most of the time, no indication as to who was doing the talking. I'm not sure what the point of having a deaf character was, because ...more
Martin Belcher
Mar 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2012
I don't normally read YA fiction, but I'm a big fan of John Barrowman and when I saw John and his sister, Carole discussing their new book Hollow Earth on TV Book Club on More4 Channel in UK, I was intrigued and wanted to give it a try.

Hollow Earth is a story about two impressively gifted children, twins, Matt and Emily Calder, they are Animares, people that can draw art which then comes to life. They can jump into their own artwork and bring creatures or objects they have drawn alive. Along
I have no idea how much of the input for this book from John (Captain Jack) Barrowman, and how much from his sister Carole, who was already a published author. Still, there are some interesting ideas, with some very cool possibilities for artists, and it was an enjoyable read, even if the kids acted like idiots at times.
Mar 28, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
A good forty or more years ago we visited Great Cumbrae for the first and so far only time. It was winter, the New Year in fact, we were entirely inappropriately dressed (loons, for heaven’s sake!), we had meant to take the ferry to Arran but had come to the wrong port, and we were young and inexperienced. There was nothing to do but walk round the island (it kept us warm, at least!) and catch the ferry back to Largs, so that’s what we did. So it was a bit of a shock recently to pick up the ...more
Twins Matt and Emily have very unusual abilities - anything that they draw they can bring to life and they can step into a painting or picture and visit another world for an adventure. Although their abilities are fun to use they are also rare and highly sought after by people who want to use them to do harm. The twins are only just learning about the danger they are in and why their mother has always tried to keep their powers secret. Forced to go into hiding they go to stay with their ...more
Karlie Clifton
Feb 28, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was pleasantly surprised when reading Hollow Earth. Even though the book is geared towards young adults, I found it to be both unique and entertaining. I had not picked up many Sci-fi or Fantasy novels prior to reading this one for lack of interest in the unknown. However, once I was past the first few chapters I was hooked! I became genuinely interested in the plot and the imaginary world of Hollow Earth. The relationship between the twins, Matt and Em, is fascinating and heartwarming. Their ...more
Feb 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a fun read. This book is aimed at 8-13 year olds, but I can say without shame that this 40+ loved it and not just because of John and Carole. A clever story, fun characters, interesting and fast-paced plot. Bad guys, good guys who are bad guys, bad guys who are good guys, etc. etc. What more does one need? For those who know John and Carole's world (real world)there are a ton of "Easter Eggs" hidden all over the story. I laughed out loud a the line "You're not my Mother!" If that is a ...more
Apr 02, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children-s
John Barrowman is good at pretty much everything and I doubted he could write a decent children's novel, even with his sister's help. Apparently he can. The story is about twins Em and Matt who are animare and have the power to animate things they draw in real life. They're not the only ones though and there's lots of secret plots and you're not really sure who's good and who's bad.

It's a great universe they've created and the characters are hugely likeable. Occasionally the language is a
Nov 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the kind of book I would have adored when I was 12. As an adult, I still found it well-written and enjoyable. It was creative enough to hold my attention, and I love the London and isles off of Scotland settings. The best part is that it really treats creativity and the arts with love and affection.
One thing I hate more than a book ending in a cliffhanger is when I don't have the next book in a series yet and have to wait so long until I can get it. Unfortunately, I can't find a copy of book 2 anywhere (This book didn't end in a cliffhanger, btw. It just felt like one to me. Haha.)
Heather Codename: ♕Dutchess♕
Unfortunately, this one isn't for me. I can see how a bunch of 10-13 year olds would enjoy this. As much as I adore John and his sister, the writing just isn't as good as I thought it would be and the story is kind of cringe. I know they're writing a story for child but it's trying too hard to sound like children and honestly, every time an "adult" character explains anything, it's like they're dumbing things down instead of taking into consideration that children aren't stupid.
Dan Horwath
Mar 24, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I quite enjoyed the book. Read other works by this author/actor. Hollow Earth begins with some "choppy" scene transitions. The story telling is quite good. As the the book progresses the transitions smooth out and plot-lines interweave making it a riveting read by the culmination and pulling the readers into the next iteration. Worth your time. (Former YA librarian).
Jan 15, 2013 marked it as dnf  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, edelweiss
I'm not giving this book any stars partly because I didn't finish it and partly because I'm not sure what I think of it.

I really wanted to like Hollow Earth, mostly because I'm a huge Barrowman fan and I think it's awesome that he's also contributing to literature, especially for children. Also, the concept was really interesting--people born with the ability to adjust reality with their art, other people who can help them control these abilities, and yet more people who want to lock the
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sara Grochowski
Mar 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I picked up Hollow Earth because I loved the cover. Upon closer inspection, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that it features twins... to be more exact, magic wielding twins who can manipulate artwork. I wasn't aware until after I'd read the novel (and absolutely adored it) that the half of the brother-sister author duo, John Barrowman, is well-known among Dr. Who and Torchwood fans from his role as Captain Jack Harkness. The remaining half of this writing team, Carole E. Barrowman, may ...more
Sep 15, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I've managed to get through 50 pages of this, so take this review with a grain of salt.
There's a few things here that really bothered me. For one, it's written more like a collection of scenes than a novel - generally, if your chapters are a few pages at most (especially if a lot of them are one or two pages long), you're kind of missing a lot of what makes a novel a novel. Mainly, something that makes me like the characters, or care about what's happening, or even UNDERSTAND what is happening.
Friend of Pixie (F.O.P.)
We read mistakenly read the second book in this series first, which was very confusing. It was great to read this first book and fill in all the gaps. Logan really liked the adventure of it all and the close bond between the twins and their friend Zach. The premise of these books is that there are some people in the world (including such artists as Van Gogh, and the illuminators of the middle ages) who can bring to life, or animate, things they draw. These people are called animare. Because of ...more
Sonja P.
3 stars.

I wanted to like this so much more than I ended up liking it, but there were several issues that plagued the book.

I would like to talk about the concept first, and the fact that it was really interesting.

Em and Matt are twins, and they have special powers. They can make things come to life when they draw them, using the power of their imaginations. They can even go in and out of paintings. The Animare (or people who can animate paintings) are helped by Guardians, who help them keep
May 23, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction, read-to-may
So are Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone knock-off's their own gengre at this point? Pre-teen kids with amazing powers whisked-off from thier homes to amazing castles where wise old men teach them of their powers and inform them of their dangerous family history!

From a technical standpoint I have issues with this book. The writing just cannot seem to settle on a POV. Some pulpy tropes are tossed-out so quickly that you end up assuming the details (of course, if Zach can hear Em in his head,
Hannah (Ivyclad Ideas)
Hollow Earth introduces us to Matt and Em, twins with the ability to bring their drawings to life. Whilst the use of twin telepathy from the beginning with no introduction or explanation (I know lots of books and films use it, but I've never actually read anything that does before so it took a few lines before I realised that their telepathy was being treated as 'normal' because they were twins) annoyed me, I liked these two. Matt was your typical preteen boy- he was a bit rash sometimes which ...more
Jo Bennie
Jan 16, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: b
13 year old twins Matt and Emily Calder are in the National Gallery in London and they are bored, it's summer, it's hot, their mother is talking to someone and they just want to go swimming. Seurat's Bathers at Asnieres is tormenting with them with its vision of people dozing in the sun on the banks of the Seine. They take out a drawing pad to entertain themselves, but these children are extraordinary. As they draw their picture it comes to life and they get the swim they wanted, and a world of ...more
Nicky Foster
Well I didn't dislike it but I don't think I will pass it on to my 9 year old, it just didn't capture my imagination. By the end of the book the writing seemed very flat and I found I was reading the words without becoming involved in the story, which is never a good thing in a fantasy book. The characters had no humour or personality and just didn't seem to interact with each other as they should. I know this book is meant for a young audience but that doesn't mean that it should be dumbed ...more
Shannon O'Donnell
FANTASTIC! I loved this book! It is filled-to-bursting with mystery and suspense, fabulous characters, and an amazing storyline that had the writer in me drooling. Wow. This is without question one of my favorite reads of 2013 so far. If you are a fan of MG fantasy and adventure, DO NOT MISS this one!!
Mar 12, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2014
I really enjoyed this book, but I did have to force myself to pick this one back up, because the first half of it was rather boring. The last 200 pages really had me interested in the plot and the mystery, but beyond that it just didn't touch me that much.

However, it did have some really good moments that I did enjoy quite a bit, so I will buy the sequel to this.
Nov 12, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love John Barrowman the actor, but I really wanted this book to be better. It was fine, the adventure was exciting, but the characters were really bland. They were so poorly written I couldn't keep the adult characters straight. Maybe the sequel will be better?
Jul 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: barrowman
i liked it. the characters are real and geninue. i can see the little rascals. it was fast paced and exciting. i wish some books for adults had as much excite as this one did. it was a good length and i can't wait to read the next installment.
OracleofFire~I love it when you ask me for my advice; it makes me feel quite clever.
It was a bit creepy at times but I loved every page of this book.
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The Worst Bestsel...: Episode 45 - Hollow Earth 2 19 Mar 28, 2016 11:24AM  

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John Barrowman was born in Scotland, and moved to Illinois when he was eight years old. He is bi-dialectal, doing much of his stage and acting work in his American accent, but speaking with family in his Scottish accent.

He moved back to Britain in 1989 when he was hired to play the lead in Anything Goes. He took on a number of West End roles, including the leads in Sunset Boulevard and Miss

Other books in the series

Hollow Earth (3 books)
  • Bone Quill
  • The Book of Beasts
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