Monday, October 5, 2009
Take the legend of Sleepy Hollow, add one modern teen, a suspicious accident, a hot guy and a whole lot of hormones and what do you get?
Jessica Verday's romantic and spooky debut novel, The Hollow.
Summary from Simon & Schuster's web page:
"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."
Since the book starts at her best friend's funeral, you are immediately rooting for Abbey, and hoping for her to get what she wants. I was a little choked up during the first chapter, which helped draw me into the story. That combined with the easy first person narration made it a real page turner.
I loved that Abbey's hobby was perfume making, which added olfactory elements to the writing, and her desire to open her own store felt very real to me. The hobby really fit into the story, too, not just stuck in there as a quirk to make her character more interesting. Abbey might get confused during this story, but she always knows what she wants, a trait I enjoy in a heroine.
The New England setting really helped win me over in this book-- the way it changed from summer to the crisp of fall to winter's chill, and the way the main character changed along with it. And as far as dialogue goes, Verday has it down. Especially the catty upperclassmen Abbey hears talking about her, and the mother, whose lines are so perfectly motherly-- the right mix of caring and snark. All of the dialogue with Abbey and Caspian and her friend Ben is very believable and the right mix of funny and serious.
I understand that there will be a sequel to this book, and I will certainly read it, but I felt like I needed more closure out of the first volume than I got, hence four instead of five stars. The ending just seemed to come out of nowhere to me, when I thought there'd be much more. Not to say that there weren't a number of important revelations before the end of this book, but the story just didn't satisfy me like I'd hoped since I'm technically still in the middle of it. But it sort of seemed to finish on a downer, a dark time for Abbey. I trust, however, that she will rise up in the second installment and show us all what she's made of. I know that it, too, will be a page turner. At this point I'd just settle for Abbey being happy, but I know she won't be until she finds out the truth.
The truth about what, you ask?
Well, you'll just have to read it and find out.