Title: Hollow’s End
Author: Marianne Morea
Source: from publisher for review
Review Summary: This book had some of the most believable YA characters I’ve encountered and with a new ending the author wrote, I loved it.
Hollow’s End is inspired by both the legend of Sleepy Hollow and the history of the town where the legend is set. Events from the Revolutionary War pitted the town’s inhabitants against each other, leaving lingering animosity that leads to paranormal activities as Halloween approaches. Although Rowen is from a family of witches, she’s never wanted to do anything with such things. Unfortunately, her relationships and her powers leave her little choice but to deal with visions sparked by ancestors of the towns current inhabitants…
The potential this book had was overwhelming, to the point that at the middle of the book, I was imagining a five star review. Rowen is a perfect YA heroine. She feels guilty and concerned about her weight when she’s splurged on junk food, but is generally confident and happy with her appearance. She’s nervous around her crush and even once wonders why he likes her (dear lord, please spare me from heroines wondering why guys like them). However, the butterflies in her stomach mostly don’t make it out of her mouth and she manages to hold her own in every conversation. I adored her. She reminded me of what it was like to be a teenager without becoming the overdone, insecure, teenage stereotype found in so many YA novels. She also has a great relationship with her mother, who helps her deal with events both paranormal and romantic. Obviously, not every teen has great family relationships, but I suspect it’s far more common than having parents who are bizarrely absent or too stupid to notice paranormal activity when they see it. All around, many points for avoiding annoying YA tropes.
The plot was a little less amazing. There wasn’t too much to the mystery the book centers around and “new” information was being revealed long after it was clear what it had happened. The final confrontation, although written well enough to be pretty suspenseful, didn’t require much of our heroine. After all the bravery she showed early on, I found that a bit anticlimactic. The idea for the plot was good though and the characters were so wonderfully realistic that I found this a very enjoyable read. As the authors first foray into young adult, this was quite impressive and I look forward to seeing what she does next. If you like character driven stories and are getting sick of YA tropes, I would highly recommend her work already.
Edit: After I wrote this review, the author was kind enough to contact me and ask for more specific critiques. Then, she actually and sent me a new ending scene! It fixed everything that made the original anticlimactic. Instead I was on the edge of my seat, cheering as the protagonist figured out a brilliant solution. With this brilliant debut, I’m super excited to read more by Marianne Morea.