Sunday, 5 September 2010

Book Review - The Hollow by Jessica Verday

When Abby’s best friend, Kristen, vanishes at the bridge near Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, everyone in the town assumes that she is dead. Everyone, that is, except Abbey.

Struggling to come to terms with Kristen’s disappearance and desperately seeking some answers, Abbey finds herself drawn more and more to the mysterious- and drop-dead gorgeous- Caspian, who keeps reappearing in her life. But Caspian has secrets of his own, and when Abbey uncovers the frightening truth about him, she starts to question not only their emerging love but also her own sanity…

To start off with, I have a confession. I judge a book by its cover. I know I shouldn’t but if the cover doesn’t call out to me then I’ll just keep walking. This is why I join book clubs- they make me read books with ugly covers and fall in love with them.

When I first saw The Hollow looking so pretty in the young adult section, it took all my willpower to not race to the till with it immediately, especially as the blurb just wasn’t as seductive. Every time I went into a bookshop, I would immediately go to this book and then play the deciding game. I think in doing this I hyped the book up for myself too much.

It does a good job in drawing you in the first few chapters. It kept me interested long enough to get a third of the way through. Then the boredom hit. It was incredibly dull.

The general story, and I would say sixty per cent of it, was about everyday activities. School, homework, perfumes, eating, etc. Out of the 500+ pages Caspian appeared in about 100-150 of them. It felt like the big romance was all in Abbey’s head most of the time because when she did meet with Caspian, the spark of their romance wasn’t jumping off the page. The words used to describe the scene were lackluster and do nothing for the reader. Even the ‘Legend of Sleepy Hollow’ doesn’t pick up the blandness.

The tagline at the bottom of the blurb says, ‘Sometimes love knows no boundaries…’ What love? There is no love in this story. There was more love in the Legend of Sleep Hollow quotes at the beginning of each chapter. The great thing about teenagers and romance is that they have these raging hormones that make it all seem more dramatic and intense. There was none of that. Not even on Abbey’s part- who is four years younger than Caspian. At sixteen years old there wasn’t even a hint of excitement that an older guy was interested in her, but then where is Caspian’s interest in Abbey? It wasn’t on the pages that I was reading.

There was also very little on Kristen and her death. That was the only interesting part of the story and it drops out of the plot right in the middle with not even a neatly tied-up goodbye note for the reader. If it wasn’t for the fact that Abbey thinks about Kristen once a chapter, then you would completely forget about the mystery brought up in the plot.

As for the end of the book- it was rushed, it was lacking and it was a big cop-out. Even with the knowledge that there will be two books to follow this one that will answer all my questions cannot excuse the bad ending. Everything that is left wide open in the plot is done in a sloppy manner. It doesn’t make the reader get excited about continuing Abbey and Caspian’s story. In fact, I will be avoiding the next two books like the plague.

However, I do have a good note for the Verday’s writing; she is fantastic at setting a scene. The town of Sleepy Hollow was vividly described. The reader could imagine everything as though they were there themselves. Unfortunately, this same ability that Verday had didn’t work on her characters because I still don’t have a clear imagine of how anyone looks. They blend in to each other.


No comments: