Tuesday 30 October 2012

Book Review: Hollow Pike by James Dawson.

Product details:
Publisher: Orion Children's Books
Paperback, 416 pages.
Release date: February 2nd 2012.
Rating: 4 out of 5.
Ages: YA
Source: Received from publisher for review.

Something wicked this way comes...

She thought she’d be safe in the country, but you can’t escape your own nightmares, and Lis London dreams repeatedly that someone is trying to kill her. Lis thinks she’s being paranoid - after all who would want to murder her? She doesn’t believe in the local legends of witchcraft. She doesn’t believe that anything bad will really happen to her. You never do, do you? Not until you’re alone in the woods, after dark - and a twig snaps... Hollow Pike - where witchcraft never sleeps.

 Heathers meets The Craft via Twin Peaks in this spooky debut from James Dawson. Hollow Pike is guaranteed to give you all the chills this Halloween!

For fifteen year old Lis London the small town of Hollow Pike signals a new start and an escape from the relentless bullying that plagued her life back in Wales.  Hollow Pike will be good for Lis, she’s sure of it. After all, what harm can come to her in a place where nothing ever happens? And those strange dreams she’s been having, they don’t mean anything, right?  Wrong. Because what Lis doesn’t realize is that sometimes small towns hide the biggest secrets.  And whatever is hiding out in the woods of Hollow Pike is deep and dark and deadly….and it wants Lis.

From the popular girls Lis encounters at her new school (Heathers, Mean Girls) to the trio of teenage misfits she becomes fast friends with (The Craft) to the murder mystery involving the woods at night, all-seeing birds and Laura’s secret diary (Twin Peaks) Hollow Pike is a book that wears its influences on its sleeve.  But there is a refreshing originality to Hollow Pike too, something that really makes it stand out from the rest.  James Dawson excels at creating authentic characters, his use of dialogue is pitch-perfect, and the romance, while appealing, is not insta-love-overkill. Essentially Hollow Pike is coming-of-age meets murder mystery with a dash of paranormal and it makes for a compelling read.
But I want to focus on the characters, because I thought the characters in Hollow Pike were just great! All too often in YA I find that the teenage characters don’t ring true.  But they do here.  These teens bitch, they gossip, they have petty jealousies, and they party, they drink, and they swear and the boys make all kinds of crude jokes which usually involve very obvious parts of the female anatomy.  Because that’s what teenage boys do. And though Hollow Pike is sinister and creepy, it made me laugh too – the interplay between characters is sharp, witty, and brilliantly observed.  As is the romance.  Lis has her attention focused on Danny Marriott from day one, but theirs is a romance that, just as so often happens in life, has a few false starts.  Danny is just a guy, a sweet guy, a good-looking guy, for sure, but still just a guy.  He messes up. He’s not perfect, and I really liked that.

As for the trio of teenage misfits who are given a very hard time by Queen Bee Laura and her band of lookalike minions, I loved them! Kitty, Delilah and Jack are delightfully quirky and unique characters – the kind of characters I could read about forever.  Rumours of witchcraft surround them, but that’s all just gossip spread by Laura and Co. right? At least that’s what Lis thinks until someone is murdered in the woods and then everything takes a turn for the sinister.  Who can Lis trust when it seems as though everyone in Hollow Pike has a secret they’ll never tell…?

Hollow Pike is a great read for Halloween with a mystery that will keep you guessing and characters that will stay on your mind long after you’ve finished the book.  James Dawson is definitely a writer I’ll read in the future. In fact, I’m already excited for his next book Cruel Summer which releases in August 2013. Bring it on!

Thanks to Orion Children's Book I have three copies of Hollow Pike up for grabs. To be in with a chance to win a copy <<CLICKY<< (UK & ROI)


  1. Becky @ Stories & Sweeties30 October 2012 at 17:58

    This sounds fantastic and creepy! I definitely need to read this one soon.  And I absolutely adore a book with great genuine characters!  Thanks for the great review, Leanna!

  2. Why, oh why, have I not read this book yet!? Seriously, I have heard only good things and it sounds right up my street! Think I might need to try and squeeze this in before the years over. Awesome review! :)

  3.  Thanks, Becky! I loved the characters in this book. They read so true! It's got a great creep factor too. Great for Halloween! :)

  4.  Thanks, Jess! Think you'd really like this one! Can't wait to see what you think of The Evolution...Was just over at your blog and saw that you're reading it now! Eeeep! x

  5. oh gosh this does seem like a spooky read! coming of age murder mystery, eh? glad you enjoyed this one so much! <3 

  6. Sounds really creepy . . . my kind of thing! Great review!

  7. Woot Creepy much? But it does sound like a great read for fall :)) 

  8. This sounds perfect! I love mysteries and insta-love free romances! I loved The Craft too! That cover is gorgeously spooky! Wonderful review Leanna! :)

  9.  Thanks, Rachel! Sounds like you'd like this one! :)

  10. I loved this one and I'm so glad you did too! I also cant wait for Cruel Summer, I wish it wasnt so far away yet! 

  11.  Me too! Can't wait to read it!


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