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Practically Paradise
Inside Practically Paradise

Round-to-it with The Hollow

What’s on your list to get around to? Those lists are tormenting me. Stacks of books pleading to be written about. Websites popping into my mind that need sharing. Student faces seeking something new are haunting me. Teachers pleas are echoing in my head. It’s no wonder that I needed to just get away from the pressure. 

I chose The Hollow by Jessica Verday to escape. It had been lying beside my bed, The Hollowtraveling with me on the plane, then finally jumping out and landing on my foot while browsing Books-A-Million. Was it a sign? I take no chances when the paranormal decides I must read so I went home to read.

Instead of escaping and soothing the spirits of story, I have been captured and confused by this tale. I read all 528 pages of the ARC (544 in the hardcover) in one night because it hooked me with the constant promise of something more to come. So am I gushing and in love? No, and yet I am very intrigued. 

I think this title could have been edited a great deal more.  It has such potential and there are so many subplots throughout. The story is there in the author’s head, but the reader may be confused by the author’s attempts to share bits and pieces of a rather complicated tale. Don’t be fooled into thinking this is a title that solves the mysterious death of Abbey’s best friend. It is a romance. It is a teen novel. There is just something elusive about the story that keeps you reading trying to put the pieces together.

The story weaving through those pages trapped me into imagining what could happen next. I was despairing of the approaching end of this story as I realized I was running out of pages. How could it possible end like that?

Then, I read the note about the author…. "She is currently hand-writing her second novel, the continuation of…" 

AHA! There is hope after all. The story is continuing. All is not lost. I will find answers.

But, hand-writing? It took the author 13 spiral-bound notebooks and 18 months to write the first draft of The Hollow. 

Can I wait that long to find out what happens next?

A-Hah! It tells me the author lives near me in Tennessee. I wonder if she is doing anything this week while I’m on break? 

Maybe I could call her up and offer to drop by and type her story for her. She could talk and I could type at about that same speed. Then I’d know what’s happening next. 

Or maybe, we could just meet for peppermint tea. I do so like peppermint tea. We could just chat so I could have something happy to dream about. 

Drat these authors toying with my imagination. Capturing me with their twisted plots and entangling me in their emotions. Even when I plead "pretty please with sugar on top", Michael Dahl won’t tell me what happened to Finnegan Zwake’s parents. I wonder how many cookies I’ll have to bake to sweet talk Jessica Verday?

If your young adult students have finished Jessica’s Guide to Dating on the Dark Side, offer them The Hollow.  Be warned that while Jessica’s Guide to Dating on the Dark Side has a definite ending, the Hollow will leave the reader frustrated, dangling, shocked and dying for more. Also, be prepared for some serious research on Sleepy Hollow to follow. 

Here is the author/publisher’s long synopsis:

When Abbey’s best friend, Kristen, vanishes at the bridge near Sleepy Hollow Cemetery,
everyone else is all too quick to accept that Kristen is dead and rumors fly that her death
was no accident. Abbey goes through the motions of mourning her best friend, but
privately, she refuses to believe that Kristen is really gone. Then she meets Caspian, the
gorgeous and mysterious boy who shows up out of nowhere at Kristen’s funeral, and
keeps reappearing in Abbey’s life. Caspian clearly has secrets of his own, but he’s the
only person who makes Abbey feel normal again…but also special. 

Just when Abbey starts to feel that she might survive all this, she learns a secret that
makes her question everything she thought she knew about her best friend. How could
Kristen have kept silent about so much? And could this secret have led to her death? As
Abbey struggles to understand Kristen’s betrayal, she uncovers a frightening truth that
nearly unravels her — one that will challenge her emerging love for Caspian, as well as
her own sanity.

Check out the book’s trailer, too: