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Watch Hollow #1

Watch Hollow

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Deep within the enchanted woods in the town of Watch Hollow stands the once-grand Blackford House, whose halls hold a magical secret: a giant cuckoo clock that does much more than tell time. But when the clock’s gears cease to turn, an evil presence lurking among the trees begins to come out of the shadows.

When Lucy and Oliver Tinker arrive in Watch Hollow, they have no idea that anything is wrong. A mysterious stranger has made their father an offer that’s too good for him to refuse. All Mr. Tinker needs to do is fix the clock at Blackford House and fistfuls of gold coins are his to keep.

It doesn’t take long, however, for the children to realize that there is more to Blackford House than meets the eye. And before they can entirely understand the strange world they’ve stumbled into, Lucy and Oliver must join forces with a host of magical clock animals to defeat the Garr—a vicious monster that not only wants Blackford House for itself, but also seeks to destroy everything the Tinkers hold dear.

320 pages, Hardcover

First published February 12, 2019

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About the author

Gregory Funaro

8 books403 followers
Gregory Funaro is the NY Times best selling author of Disney-Hyperion's ALISTAIR GRIM'S ODDITORIUM (an Amazon Best Book of the Month for January, 2015) and ALISTAIR GRIM'S ODD AQUATICUM (2016), which received a Kirkus starred review. WATCH HOLLOW (HarperCollins, 2019) received starred reviews from School Library Journal and ALA Booklist, and was a Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selection. The exciting sequel, WATCH HOLLOW: THE ALCHEMIST'S SHADOW, was published in February of 2020. Gregory is a retired drama professor and now lives with his family in Rhode Island, where he is busy working on his next novel. Please visit his official web site at www.gregoryfunaro.com.

Twitter: @GregoryFunaro
Instagram: Gregory.Funaro

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 278 reviews
Profile Image for Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽.
1,880 reviews22.7k followers
February 13, 2019
On sale now! Review first posted on Fantasy Literature:

Gregory Funaro’s just-published Watch Hollow is a charmingly spooky (or perhaps spookily charming) contemporary fantasy featuring an 11-year-old girl, Lucy Tinker, her 13-year-old brother Oliver, and their clockmaker father … and also a fearsome giant, a boy who mysteriously appears and disappears, and a full dozen magical talking animals sure to warm the hearts of middle grade readers.

After a brief prologue with a heart-stopping chase involving the giant, a traitorous crow, and a rat named Fennish Seven, the story shifts to our main characters, Lucy and her brother Oliver. Between their mother’s death from cancer two years earlier and their father’s lack of business acumen, the Tinker family is teetering on the brink of financial disaster. So it feels like a huge windfall when a stranger, Mr. Quigley, appears in Tinker’s Clock Shop and offers Mr. Tinker a fortune in gold coins to come to Quigley’s old, abandoned mansion, Blackford House, deep in the woods in Rhode Island, and fix a huge clock that’s built into the home and is the source of electrical power for the home. To sweeten the deal, Lucy and Oliver are invited along.

The Tinker family finds Blackford House an ominous place, dingy and dilapidated, with black twisted trees pressing in on every side. The broken clock is ten feet in diameter, with twelve animal-shaped holes where the numbers on the face of the clock would normally appear. Lucy finds two wooden statues of a snarling cat and a cute little dog that are the perfect size to fit in the clock face, but the animals’ positions are the wrong shape. The answer to that mystery is explained (at least in part) that night, when the wooden dog turns into a real one and begs Lucy for her help. Blackford House is sentient but weakened by an evil giant called the Garr who lurks in the woods. The house, its magical clock and animals, and even the Tinkers themselves are in danger.

Watch Hollow is an appealing magical adventure with just enough tension and creepiness to keep things exciting for younger readers. Both boys and girls will find the Tinker siblings sympathetic; they’re well-rounded characters with both strengths, like their courage and love, and problems, like Lucy’s tendency to get in fights with a bullying classmate and Oliver’s anxiety about his acne. The animal characters are also delightful, with some distinct personalities. Torsten Six, the little dog, is anxious but loving and eager to trust; Meridian the cat is far more suspicious of the Tinker family.

Funaro’s writing has improved noticeably since he wrote his first middle grade novels a few years ago, Alistair Grim's Odditorium and Alistair Grim's Odd Aquaticum. While Watch Hollow isn’t quite as crazily fantastical as those books, I found Watch Hollow more coherent in its plot, with improved flow and characterization. Funaro still occasionally does some telling rather than showing, but overall the plot flows well, with enough depth and interesting details to keep the reader engaged.
"Everything here was designed to work together in perfect balance ― sunstone and shadow wood, light and dark, day and night. For in such balance there is potent magic.
Watch Hollow is the type of book that would lend itself to reading aloud to younger children, as well as being given to middle grade readers who love fantasy, animals, or both. The story ends on an open note (not a cliffhanger, thankfully), with a second book, Watch Hollow: The Alchemist's Shadow, expected in early 2020. I look forward to the further adventures of Lucy and Oliver.

Thanks to the author for sending a copy of this book to me for review!
Profile Image for Alexandra.
1,309 reviews3 followers
December 20, 2018
Thanks to the generous offer of an ARC copy from the author.

Another imaginative Middle Grade Fantasy, I'm looking forward to what seems to be the promise of a continued story. But don't worry, this has a satisfying end. I'm always on the lookout for good Middle Grade Fantasy stories, and so many end up being anemic or very derivative. Not this one, it's original, imaginative, with age appropriate tense moments and lots of heart.

My second win with this author, he's now on my Watch list for future books.
Profile Image for Cameron Chaney.
Author 6 books1,811 followers
January 25, 2019
I've been a reader of Gregory Funaro's books since the very beginning when his novel Alistair Grim's Odditorium was released by Disney Hyperion. The Alistair Grim series was simply magical and is still one of my very favorites. If only Hyperion wasn't so focused on stretching thin their beloved Percy Jackson series, maybe Alistair Grim would have received a third book to wrap up the series. But alas, Disney's publishing is an unfair mess, so we have yet to see what happens to Alistair and his magical Odditorium. (Please go support that series, by the way. There's still hope for it as long as people keep reading.)

Fortunately, Harper has wisely given Funaro a chance to spread his creative wings with the brand-new middle grade fantasy Watch Hollow. The story begins with Lucy Tinker and her family receiving an invite to Blackford House in Watch Hollow to fix a very mysterious clock. While staying at the house, they discover that it isn't a normal place, and neither are the woods bordering the house. In fact, the woods are inhabited by The Garr, a monster that wants Blackford House all to itself. Now it is up to Lucy as the new caretaker of Blackford to protect the house, its magic, and her own family from the beast.

Creepy mansions, small towns, giant monsters... Watch Hollow is a decent mix of fantasy and spookiness that never fails to be cute and entertaining. The characters are lovable and the villains are scary, but not too scary. I liked Lucy as a main character, but I liked her brother Oliver even more. It's sweet how closely he looks out for his little sister and even his father. I also like that, since he's a teenager, he's struggling with acne and his voice cracking. You don't often see details about puberty in middle grade fantasy books, but the characters are at that age so it makes sense to reference that. It made Oliver seem more realistic.

While the Grim series took place in Victorian times, Watch Hollow is a modern-day tale with a very different feel. This book doesn't have the whimsy and old-fashioned charm of Funaro's previous work, but I don't think it is supposed to. If I had to choose between the two, I prefer the quirky energy of Alistair Grim, but Watch Hollow may appeal more to modern day children.

Overall, while not as fleshed out and epic as the Alistair Grim books, this is a worthy addition to your middle grade fantasy shelf and is a great book to put in the hands of children. It has just enough adventure, mystery, spookiness, and cute animals to keep them turning the pages.

A big thanks to Gregory Funaro for sending me an arc in exchange for an honest review! I'm still drooling over this beautiful cover!
Profile Image for Lata.
3,509 reviews187 followers
May 28, 2019
What a delightful little spooky story of a terrifying giant, a mysterious clock in a mysterious house, a strange boy, and talking creatures.
Lucy and Oliver and their dad are in financial trouble, thanks to their dad’s less than sound financial decisions. He’s running an antique shop, and still hasn’t recovered from his wife’s death from cancer. Lucy is 11, Oliver’s 13, and both are bullied at school, though Lucy gets into trouble at school for fighting back.
When an elderly man makes their father a very tempting offer with actual gold to come to a house in the country and fix a large and old clock, the offer’s too good to refuse.
The kids soon realize that things aren’t what they seem, of course, and both Lucy and Oliver start seeing odd things. Lucy discovers that the animals that are supposed to be part of the big clock come to life, and are terrified of the Gar, a giant who lives in the wood and has been kidnapping them. The animals are delightful, especially Meridian the cat. Oliver meets a boy who says he lives in the woods, and everything about the boy said "danger, danger!" to me.
Things go wrong, swiftly, and Lucy ends up figuring out a lot of things, and eventually Oliver sees the other parts of the picture.
I've never read any other books by this author, and I can say that I really enjoyed this. Lucy's a terrific character, and I loved the relationship she and Oliver have. I found it particularly heartbreaking when Oliver realizes that their father has been neglecting Lucy because of his lingering grief.
I thought the story with its alchemy-based plot was nicely creepy, and who doesn't love talking animals, and big old houses?
Profile Image for Keisha | A Book Like You.
288 reviews188 followers
September 28, 2022
*4.5 stars

Check this one out if you want…
👻 A spooky, fantasy story
🐶 with magical clock animals
🌲 a dark wood, with a creepy monster
✨ a unique magic
❤️ themes of fear and love
🕷 and Spiderwick Chronicles vibes.
🍁 Perfect for the Fall season!

There is also a sequel that I can’t wait to pick up! This was a pleasant surprise, and I’m excited to continue on in the series.
Profile Image for Skip.
3,249 reviews393 followers
March 31, 2019
A struggling family (economically and emotionally) is offered a lucrative opportunity to fix a broken clock in the Watch Hollow mansion: the source of energy for the house. In a remote area of coastal New England, the decrepit mansion is surrounded by the creepy and creeping Shadow Woods, protected by sunstone and the failing cuckoo clock, with its twelve animal statues. Lucy, Oliver and Mr. Tinker find themselves battling the Garr, with only their wits and love for each other (and the strange animals) to defend themselves. Unlike most, I preferred Funaro's Alistair Grim's Odditorium because I thought the characters here were not fully developed in favor of the escalating battle between good and evil, which itself could have been better explained.
Profile Image for Whitney M..
43 reviews24 followers
October 28, 2020
This was a fun middle grade book. The Tinkers are asked to move to an old home to fix a clock and they soon discover all is not what it seems. I really enjoyed Oliver and Lucy. I will definitely be reading book 2 to see what other shenanigans the siblings get into.
Profile Image for Benjamin Thomas.
1,944 reviews265 followers
August 23, 2018
I always look forward to a new book by Gregory Funaro but wow, this time he really dials it up to 11!

Eleven year-old Lucy Tinker and her older brother Oliver (age 13) are struggling through life after the death of their mom two years earlier. Their father is the proprietor of a small clock repair shop and tries to maintain optimism in the face of very little income and is just trying to get through each day as it comes. But into their life comes a golden opportunity in the form of Mr. Quigley who wants to hire Mr. Tinker. Seems Mr. Quigley has recently bought a once grand house called the “Blackford House” and within it is a huge cuckoo clock that no longer works. He invites the little family to move into the house for the summer while the clock is repaired. The money he offers for the job is staggering. It’s a dream come true for the Tinkers.

Not long after their arrival, Lucy and Oliver discover that not all is as it seems and in fact there are some unexplainable and truly magical things happening in the house and the surrounding Shadow Woods. I won’t go into details in order to avoid spoilers but trust me, it’s really cool.

Readers will likely identify with either Oliver or Lucy (or both) as they separately discover the magical nature of what they encounter. The build-up through the first half of the plot is enticing and serves to develop these characters nicely. The mystery of the nature of the magic as well as the history of the house also builds, leading to the second half which is filled with exciting, and at many times, scary and perilous action.

One thing I always appreciate in a good YA or children’s novel is when the author does not dumb down the plot or the situation. Here, I was pleased to see the scenes when Mr. Tinker and Oliver work on the clock, thoroughly and interestingly describing the mechanics of how cuckoo clocks actually work. As an educated adult, I can tell you I certainly learned a thing or two about winding mechanisms, pendulums, pipe couplings, and conductor spheres and how the various parts work together. But more importantly, several major themes run through this book, including the nature of fear and love, and the importance of balance in all things. In addition, the family must always deal with life after the death of their mother from cancer. From my point-of-view, as someone who has lost an immediate family member in this same way, I can say this is handled extremely well in the book and with just the right amount of subtlety and pathos.

Bottom line: this is a wonderful book for young people (and not-so-young), alike. The overarching themes wind their way through an energetic and unique plot that keep the pages turning. This is one of those books that you won’t let things like eating and sleeping get in the way of.

While the story is complete in this one volume, there is a brief hint of further adventure to come in just the last couple of paragraphs. I certainly hope so and if so, I’ll be first in line to get my hands on it!
Profile Image for Cheryl.
5,073 reviews183 followers
September 8, 2018
I first was introduced to this author, Mr. Funaro when he wrote his darker suspense novels. Which I just enjoyed a lot. Than, Mr. Funaro started a new journey into young adult author. The Alistair Grim's Odditorium series is great. It is magical and whimsical. All ages from children, teens, to adults can enjoy that series. Mr. Funaro's newest offering is not to be missed. I absolutely had a magical and fun time getting to know the Tinker's and all of the animals in this book. Mr. Funaro strikes gold with Watch Hollow! Guaranteed to be one of the "not to be missed" books of 2019!

Lucy Tinker was my favorite. She just went with the flow. She never really questioned why there were magical animals who could talk. All she knew is that she had to save them. Yet, when the situation got tough her brother, Oliver and her dad both came to the rescue as well. Because that is what family does.

There are twelve magical animals featured in this book. Although, there are a few that played bigger roles. There is Fennish Seven, a rat, Torsten is a dog, Meridan is a cat, and Tempus Crow. Although, we don't like Tempus Crow as he is the henchman for the evil, Garr. Garr resides in Shadow Woods. He is capturing all of the animals.

This book is a quick read. That is the downside to the book; this is because I didn't want it to end. I loved every moment of this book. The ending does lead me to believe that this will not be the last time that readers will see the Tinkers, Fennish Seven, Torsten, and the other animals. Which I really hope is true.
Profile Image for Gerardo Delgadillo.
Author 4 books129 followers
October 5, 2018
5 out of 5 shining stars!

I received an ARC ebook from Edelweiss in exchange of an honest review.

Wow. Wow. Wow. I loved-loved Watch Hollow. This story is quite different than the Odditorium series, which I also liked a lot. While the latter has a huge, super-cool world, this new book focuses more on the mystery and the characters. Told from dual POVs, the story takes us in a magical adventure to the land of weirdness and coolness. I mean, how cool are talking wooden animals?

If I had to define Watch Hollow in one word, it would be: Characterization.

The characters feel alive and pop out of the page–so good. I’ve read my fair share of middle grade fantasy, and the majority focus on complex magic systems, plotting, or heavy world building. In this tale, the characters are what matter, and every single one have its own personality and quirks, including a pig, a turtle, and a very-impatient cat (all made of wood!).

Another aspect that grabbed my attention was the cinematic factor of the novel. It’s one of those novels you can visualize in your head–it’s all about great descriptions without boring the reader.

In summary, a very impressive middle grade fantasy novel with excellent characterization and world building. Hey, Hollywood studios, Netflix, movie dudes–make a Watch Hollow movie!

More on my blog: https://gerardowrites.wordpress.com/2...
Profile Image for Darla.
3,255 reviews487 followers
January 31, 2019
A middle grade fantasy with a dark side. The Shadow Woods in this book totally creeped me out. What I loved was the huge clock with all the animals missing and the mystery surrounding the working of the clock and the history of the house. Lucy is the strong, though sometimes reluctant hero of the story. As mentioned above, it is quite a dark book and would keep that in mind when recommending it to a younger reader.
Profile Image for stefiereads.
308 reviews119 followers
October 4, 2019
I was expecting a spooky/creepy book for autumn, but not only that, I got more.
I never read a creepy book that made me cry. But the ending of this book somehow did that to me.
You see this is not only a spooky/creepy book. It is also a heartwarming one. It has a great message about love, about how to face our fear. It is an adventurous creepy book with meaning. It's a great book not only for the younger ones, but for us, adult that sometimes need to be reminded to the simplest message there is... love.

Our main character, Lucy, stole my heart from the very beginning. I love her so much. She is so innocent, soft, genuine and smart. The character of the animals here are also fantastic. Gregory Funaro, sir, you are amazing. I can't wait to read your second book!

If you are a scaredy cat, but want to read something a bit spooky for this autumn. Something that have that spookiness yet at the same time warming your heart, this is the book for you :)

Now, can I hug Lucy?

Profile Image for Kamaryn.
116 reviews223 followers
September 30, 2021
This went surprisingly well! It’s been a while since I picked up a middle grade book and this was a great intro to spooky season!!
Profile Image for Rhonda.
48 reviews4 followers
October 30, 2019
I won this book in a giveaway from the author and Ya’ll I LOVED this book, I usually don’t read to much middle grade books.

But this one was sooo AMAZING in my opinion,

You have wooden animals that come to life, Magic and more..

I can’t wait till my niece who is 1 1/2 currently gets to the age where she can read books, because I will definitely be saving and passing on to her.

And I definitely can’t wait to read the next book in the series..
Profile Image for Brandy Painter.
1,583 reviews218 followers
April 28, 2019
This is a fantastical mystery involving a spooky house, a magical clock, and inanimate animals that come to life. It is an entertaining read, but for me it didn't really stand out from the pack as far as MG fantasy goes. There is a dead mother and a confused, distant father. Nothing really makes it particularly memorable, but it is a good thing to give new novel readers who have yet to read much fantasy.
Profile Image for Pop Bop.
2,475 reviews99 followers
August 28, 2018
A Tale of "Magical Balance"

“"No one can hear you scream in the Shadow Woods.”"

One of Gregory Funaro's previous series was built around Alistair Grim's Odditorium, and while they were fun books they were also a bit manic and were loaded with weird and fantastical inventions. I expected this book would take off on a similar funsy-steampunky-magicky sort of action/adventure path. I was wrong, sort of. This opens as a more carefully, tightly, and elegantly structured book with many lovely throwaway lines and turns of phrase. The characters are appealing and the pace is more measured; the atmosphere and settings more richly imagined. Indeed, the whole magicky angle doesn't even show up until more than a quarter of the way into the book, and well after the Gothic setting and the interesting characters have been established. After that, of course, the magic clock and its weird characteristics start to move to center stage, so there's still quite enough Odditorium-style creativity to satisfy fans.

But at the outset it's the quality of the writing that first impresses. Our heroine, eleven year old Lucy, sits cross-legged in the display window of her father's clock shop. She looks out through the backwards word "clock" and the "o" and "c" look like a pair of spectacles. Isn't that a nice image? That's what I'm getting at in terms of writing. The book zips along, but nicely placed lines here and there establish a more interesting atmosphere, more appealing characters, and a more layered fantasy reading experience than what I think of as usual for a middle grade fantasy actioner.

Of special interest and appeal is the relationship between the two sibling heroes. Lucy, the younger of the two, and eventually the main character, is a mix of feisty and dreamy. Older Oliver is introduced as a bit of a nerd, but he turns out to be a substantial, empathetic, and resourceful hero. The two siblings support and encourage each other with a deep and authentic mutual understanding and regard that avoids all of the usual battling-siblings cliches you find so often in middle grade fiction. These two appreciate and respect each other, count on each other's strengths, and allow for and forgive each other's weaknesses. It is refreshing and upbeat to have resourceful and self-reliant, but still cooperative, good-humored and supportive, siblings.

All of that said, the magical animals, (why have just one when you can have twelve?), do go right up to the edge, and Funaro can't resist having a complex piece of magical machinery at the heart of the action. MILD SPOILER. The house and grounds are constructed of "light" and "dark" materials and they have to be kept in balance. Because the house is out of whack everything is going to pot. Why it's out of balance is the central mystery. But even here the magicopunk is less central to what's going on, and it never overwhelms the heroes. The themes are more personal and character driven, and the energy is drawn more from enchantment than magical mayhem. That said, though, there is more than enough action - hiding, lurking, running, resisting, fighting - to keep the pages turning. At times the book can get a bit complex, (especially toward the end), but there is a fair amount of monologuing and explaining by the characters, and if the reader pays attention to these well placed mini-info dumps it all makes sense.

So, this was a treat. Good writing complemented engaging characters, and the magic light/evil angle added a lot to the magicopunk vibe. A nice find.

(Please note that I received a free advance ecopy of this book from the author, through Goodreads, without a review requirement, or any influence regarding review content should I choose to post a review. Apart from that I have no connection at all to either the author or the publisher of this book.)
Profile Image for Julia.
757 reviews
August 11, 2019
This book wasn't terrible, but didn't shine for me the way I expected it to. It's a fine middle-grade magical fantasy creepy story with an element of mystery and old-fashioned clocks in walls, and librarians can feel confident recommending it for those elements. It's easy to read and the language and pacing are very accessible; I blew through it in a few hours. The theme of fear vs. love is simple, and the development and execution of the plot and character development is lacking. Some elements are convoluted and underdeveloped, many things are left unexplained in a way that feels obtuse and forgetful, and many elements are explicitly explained in a way that feels info-dump-y and not well-crafted. I was also frustrated by the names, descriptions, and setting - the book seemed to be trying to be old-timey (old house with a literal alchemical clock in the walls, magical forest, names like Betty Bigsby and the Tinker family who fix clocks, outdated language (using "fanny" for "ass," etc.) and gold coins); and yet also contemporary, with references to Google, iPhones, food stamps, chemo and cancer, YouTube, and New England geography.

The blend of contemporary story of a family who recently lost their mom to cancer and have a complicated path out of grief and back into love for each other, blended with a scary magical house that is being attacked by a fear monster in magical woods, could have been well-executed, but this just didn't hit the mark. It felt disjointed, so much flash-back history wasn't developed or explained, the conflict was both too simple and too confusing, etc. for me to understand why other reviews raved about this book.

Also side note to two ugly throw-away lines: some fat-shaming of the bully at school on page 56 for no other reason than to help make the bully "bad," and a throw-away line on page 72 of a teenage boy who went to therapy after his mom died and "the counselor didn't help, of course," which is AWFUL. In a children's book about grief, please can we have GOOD representations of therapy, or show that the first therapist didn't help SO WE FOUND A BETTER FIT WITH A DIFFERENT ONE?! Kids should not have to read books that tell them that therapy doesn't work, adults and the counselors they make you go to are clueless and useless, and you'll get better on your own. You might, but you also might not, and this further stigmatizes mental health struggles in children, and I am NOT here for it.
Profile Image for Tonja Drecker.
Author 3 books178 followers
December 11, 2018
Jam-packed with imagination, this is a fast-paced adventure with something unexpected waiting around every bend.

Lucy and Oliver's father has been trying to keep his clock business afloat, but especially after the death of their mother, things aren't exactly easy. When a strange car and an even stranger man come into the picture, it appears that, at least, the financial worries might be taken care of for awhile. But the clock Lucy and Oliver's father is to fix is an intricate part of a strange house. Strange animals dwell there, and an evil monster, Garr, is trying to take everything over. Lucy and Oliver find themselves in the strangest yet most exciting adventure ever.

The thing which first struck me about this book was the descriptive writing. Unlike the author's last book, care and time is take to let a perfect setting and atmosphere evolve. While not running into the danger of being overly descriptive, just the right, tiny moments are picked out and brought to life. It sucks the reader right into the store and the characters, allowing them to meet on a personal level right away. And what wonderful characters they are.

While things appear to start out relatively normal, the book soon dives into a vivid and fantastic world. The creatures are fantasy pure, teetering on the border of extreme but never crossing over. It's a delight to meet every one. And, of course, the house itself is filled with amazement after amazement, making every nook and cranny an exciting discovery.

Lucy and Oliver are a great pair. Each has their very own personality and holds their own strengths. As siblings, they work together well and stand by the others side until the very end. Which is good, considering the very sticky, tense and difficult situations they find themselves in.

This is a read for middle graders who love to dive into the realm of imagination and adventure. There's never, ever a boring moment, and it's a world the reader is sure never to forget.

I received a complimentary copy and enjoyed the world so much that I wanted to leave my honest thoughts.
Profile Image for Patty.
1,601 reviews84 followers
February 13, 2019
Watch Hollow
Gregory Funaro

What it's all about...

A summer spent trying to fix a clock that defies all reasonableness. The Shadow Woods...a dark wood that seems to grow and grow. Wooden animals who come to life. Acorns that turn into black dust and cure illnesses...these are the things that Oliver and Lucy encounter as their father labors to fix a house clock for an odd little man. But things get more and more dangerous! And more and more mysterious! And more and more unbelievable!

Why I wanted to read it...

I wanted to read this because of the magic! Lucy...an ordinary girl...is now the caretaker of a magical house. She is on a mission with a magical rat to save other magical animals who are prisoners of “The Garr” in these dark magical woods called The Shadow Woods. Who rules these woods and why do these woods get closer and closer to the house? Yikes!

What made me truly enjoy this book...

I loved Lucy and the animals...loved them. I loved the courage and the love and the fear that had to be conquered to help the animals and keep magic in this house.

Why you should read it, too...

Readers who love mystery and suspense and lots of magic...and just a “few” scary bits...these readers will love Lucy and her family. These readers will love the animals...especially Nessie...my favorite...yes...my fave is a rat! These readers will love the way this book ends with a hint and perhaps a promise of more adventure to come.

I received an advance reader’s copy of this book from the publisher through Edelweiss and Amazon. It was my choice to read it and review it.
Profile Image for Dana.
8 reviews17 followers
August 30, 2018
As I suspected I would, I really enjoyed this book! An enjoyable cast, a giant fantastical cuckoo clock, and a charming (if sometimes unsettling) manor. The story is unique and very intriguing from the get go. The Tinkers are a sweet and loveable family, and my initial love of the characters made for an even more enjoyable read. The mystery was so fun to figure out along with Lucy and Oliver. Their unique friends and the magic they discover along the way make for a fascinating story that keeps you reading from start to finish. I quite enjoyed the originality of this story and eagerly await more adventures with the Tinkers!

Gregory Funaro has delivered another excellent middle-grade page turner!
Profile Image for Brendan.
4 reviews1 follower
September 14, 2018
I had the privilege of reading this as part of an advanced readers group and, WOW! I loved Watch Hollow from page 1. The author pulls you right into the story from the moment it starts.

Kids will love the book, to be sure, but as an adult I was reminded - dare I say - of The Boy Who Shall Not Be Named. I tire of the countless books that promise to be the next HP, but this truly grabbed me like no other YA since that famous title.

It has magic and mystique, but the kids are grounded in a reality that's relatable to any kid. I cared deeply about the characters and didn't want the book to end. I'm definitely going to recommend this to all my parent-friends.

High stakes and high adventure, do your children (and yourself) a favor and pick this up when it comes out! You'll adore it.
Profile Image for -ˏˋclaraˊˎ-.
143 reviews29 followers
August 13, 2020
3.5 ⭐

It was a lot of fun reading a middle-grade book for a change. I really liked the story and the different topics that were dealt with. It was very entertaining despite being so short, and had the right amount of family dynamics plus spooky haunted house vibes. However, the ending felt too rushed (I now know that there's a sequel that picks up where it left off) and some things were solved way too quickly. Also, there were some lowkey fatphobic comments here and there which were awful, especially because they were directed at a child.
Profile Image for Emily.
628 reviews
March 1, 2019
The book was fine for the first 75% but then exclamation points started popping up everywhere, so many new animal characters were introduced that we didn't even learn their names until the very end, and the story just became painfully boring for me. I was very much not impressed.
Profile Image for gwendalyn _books_.
888 reviews31 followers
February 18, 2020
This book was received from the Author, and Publisher, in exchange for an honest review. Opinions and thoughts expressed in this review are completely my own.

Funaro, masterfully weaves beautiful and gothic imagery, into a creepy adventure.
Watch Hollow, is a magical tale of mystery that will keeping you guessing, and turning the pages as fast as you can to read all the suspenseful mysteries and twists that are imbedded within its riveting words.

Lucy Tinker, and her family’s life is about to change when a storm and a expensive black sedan arrive. Along with an intriguing offertory Lucy’s father, Charles Tinker.he would be repairing a most unusual clock in the Blackford House in Watch Hollow, Rhode Island. This clock, when functioning correctly, generated all the electricity needed to keep the house fully functioning. Mr. Quigley had recently acquired the property, and he was willing to pay handsomely for the Tinkers’ services.
The golden coins he emptied onto the shop counter were just a fraction of the compensation offered for a successful completion of the task.

Charles Tinker naturally suspicious of something that did seem, after all, just too good to be true. The Tinkers financial situation combined with recent wife’s death of Mr Tinker he decides that while talking it over with Lucy and her brother Oliver that evening, that the opportunity is just to incredible to pass up.
Mr. Tinker, takes on the commission to repair a clock inside the old house.
The old dilapidated mansion is set deeply within the Rhode Island woods, But, we quickly find out that the house has it's own secrets, and the dark sinister woods surrounding it is just as mysterious. The Tinker family are all invited to take up temporarily residence while Clock is under restoration.

This adventurous action packed, edge of your seat magical book, is perfectly paced and with engaging characters. Stunning world building with creative imagery and superb writing with keep engaged from start to finish. The splendid cliffhanger ending will have screaming for the next installment.

Matthew Griffin’s inspired illustrations are amazing and are perfect for this spectacular book, Watch Hollow
Profile Image for Connor Daley (CJDsCurrentRead).
302 reviews13 followers
October 6, 2022
This was on my Spooky Season TBR last year, so I knew I had to get it done this time. So glad I did!

This middle grade fantasy/horror is like if somebody mixed Toy Story, Roverandom by J.R.R. Tolkien, the Alchemy of The Wizarding World, the imagination of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, and the spooky-feels of R. L. Stine. This book was straight nostalgia for me. An absolute blast.

Lucy and her brother, Oliver, read as great and true siblings. After the passing of their mother, they are brought to Watch Hollow as their father works to repair a mysterious man’s grand clock. The adventure has them curious and anxious, and the house and area has all the spooky feels you’d expect.

The fantasy aspect of this novel, as it so often is, is the battle of good and evil, light and dark. In this case, fear vs. love. It was a refreshing take honestly, and it was still what you’d expect, just done really nicely.

There’s a sequel that I most definitely need to grab soon!
Profile Image for Almira.
544 reviews2 followers
July 29, 2019
EVIL lurks in the village of Watch Hollow, to be precise in the Blackford House.

Mr. Tinker is a clock repairer, he is approached by Mortimer Quigley to repair the clock in Blackford House, as Mr. Tinker's business is "failing" he accepts the offer from this stranger.
Summer is coming, so Lucy and Oliver will be in an environment away from the school bullies, or so they think.
There are many unusual aspects of living in Blackford House - well, there is no running hot water, no electricity, and there is a creeping stand of trees that keeps advancing on the property, then there are the family paintings on the walls in the house, with one individual "blacked" out in each and every one...
The clock is huge, the slots for the time indicators seem to be missing, but wait, what those shapes?

Lucy first encounters the "wooden" animals that come to life after midnight. Oliver has met a strange boy at the edge of the encroaching woods, and then begins to have nightmares.

What evil lurks in the woods, why do the animals come alive, will the clock ever be repaired?
1 review1 follower
February 13, 2019
Watch Hollow, by Gregory Funaro. This story is all about mysteries and excitement. Mr. Tinker is a clock repairman. He brought his two children, Lucy and Oliver with him to fix a massive clock. They had moved to a mysterious house for the summer. Little did they all know, something shocking will happen to all of them. Watch Hollow is a must read book! Very appropriate for all ages. Full of mysteries, danger and clues. Read to find out all the excitement with Mr. Tinker and his two children on their adventure.
1 review1 follower
February 13, 2019
Watch Hollow, by Gregory Funaro, is a story with characters that you will love, and full of mysteries, and excitement. Mr.Tinker, and his two children Oliver, and Lucy moved to Watch Hollow to repair a clock full of mysteries. Little did they know that they would encounter the mystery of their lives. Watch Hollow is a must read book, filled with danger, fear, excitement and mystery. Read on to find out if the Tinkers survive the scary woods.
1 review
February 13, 2019
Watch Hollow, by Gregory Funaro, is a story for both children and adults. It's a story about Mr. Tinker, a clock repair man and his two children, Oliver and Lucy, they move to Blackford House for the summer to repair a clock in the house. Little did they know they were in for the surprise of their lives. Watch Hollow is a really great book that you must read. Filled with danger, fear, excitement, and mystery. Read on to find out if the Tinkers survive the scary and mysterious woods.
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