House of Hollow is a gothic book, through and through. It's not a mystery, though mysterious events occur. It's a dark gothic novel with bits of horror mixed in. Think of Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, the movie or the book, if it were written and directed by Hans Christian Andersen. Iris Hollow is 17. When she was young, she and her two sisters went missing around Christmas time. They were there one minute, then their mother looked away then back again and they were gone. No trace. When the sisters finally reappear near their house one day years later, no one can explain how they went missing or how they returned, not even the girls themselves. Such is the lore of the Hollow house. Now, Iris's older sister Grey is missing again, and strange yet familiar things start happening. Iris knows Grey is hiding something, but first Iris has to find her.
Elatsoe is a magical realism YA novel where the world we are used to exits in tandem with many other creatures such as vampires and werewolves. The world of Elatsoe reminds me of the world in the Spiderwick chronicles (the book, obvi, not the deplorable movie). Elatsoe, who goes by Ellie, is a bright young woman whose cousin has just been murdered. Everyone is calling it an accident, a car wreck, but Ellie knows better. She has dreams about the dead, and her cousin visits her while she's asleep shortly after he dies. Ellie, with the help of her ghost dog Kirby, as well as her wonderfully present and supportive parents and her hometown friends, begins to unravel the mystery of her cousin's death. But communing with the dead is a serious feat, and if done wrong, things can quickly get out of hand. Is Ellie strong enough to handle the darkness around her family's history?
Pablo has been struggling with finances, with finding a passion, with discovering what he wants to devote his life to. At the moment, he's working the graveyard shift at a 24-hour bodega. He's avoiding telling his parents how over his head he is from student loans and the credit card he opened when he first started college. Basically, his life is a mess. Then one night, famous pop star Leanna Smart wanders into the bodega and everything changes. There's an instant connection, but Leanna is crazy busy all the time, zipping from one continent to another making albums and movies and business deals while Pablo spends his time working and avoiding taking responsibility for all his problems. Is there any way they can make their relationship work, or were they doomed from the start?
Happy pub. date to Mercury Boys by Chandra Prasad! This book hits shelves today, August 3, 2021. I received an advanced egalley from Books Forward in exchange for an honest review.
Wilder Girls takes the essence of most YA sci-fi/dystopian novels and tightens the net around them. What's left is a small island in the Atlantic Ocean called Raxter Island. It's a school for girls that was doing relatively well on its own. Until the Tox hit. It affected each girl differently. Hetty's eye began bleeding, and she had to sew it shut. Byatt's spine warped and is now visible on her back, and Reese's hand has become a hardened silver. The Tox affected the adults differently, and most of them died shortly after it began. The younger girls weren't that affected until they hit puberty and the Tox spiked in them.
Where the World Ends is set on the island of St. Kilda, off the coast of Scotland. A group of boys and three adult men are delivered to Warrior stac, which is less of an island and more of a rock (featured on the book cover) jutting out of the ocean. On the stac, the boys and men are meant to harvest the local birds for profit. This includes killing gannet, puffin, and garefowl for meat and for the oil in the birds' stomachs, which they will sell when they are picked up and returned to the main island. This is how the people of the St. Kilda archipelagos make a living. However, this time, no one comes to pick them up.
I first fell in love with Holly Black when I was much younger and she was co-writing the Spiderwick Chronicles with Tony DiTerlizzi. The books were small, sleek hardbacks illustrated by DiTerlizzi, and I adored them. The books and the accompanying Arthur Spiderwick's Field Guide to the Fantastical World Around You was the seed of my obsession with all things faery and folk. One of the greatest things about Holly Black is that, for the most part, she stays in that category of fae writing, but we don't get the same world and characters recycled over and over again. The Darkest Part of the Forest, for example, is far different from the Spiderwick Chronicles, even though both deal with the fantastical realm of faeries.