Author: James Dawson
Published: 2 February 2012 by Indigo
Length: 312 pages
Warnings: murder, witchcraft, violence, romance 13+
Other info: This is James’ first YA novel.
Summary : 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.
Review: I wasn’t really sure what to expect with this one-I got it on the basis that everyone was saying good things about it, and that witchcraft and murder were involved. But then it was cheap on amazon, so I thought why not?
Lis London moves to Hollow Pike after bullying in Wales made her want to leave. Instantly, she’s the new girl, and gets in with the popular ones. But somehow she’s also drawn to the strange trio of Kitty, Delilah and Jack, the outcasts who repeatedly get insults such as “gay” and “freak” thrown at them. New friends, new start, everything should be ok, shouldn’t it? But Lis has been getting recurring nightmares-she’s been running and someone’s trying to kill her. And the local legends of witchcraft are just legends, aren’t they? Still, for Lis and her new friends, they’ll learn that Hollow Pike’s history has more to it than maybe they can take.
From the start, we get pulled into Lis’ life. We easily get a sense of what she likes, what she wants from life and so on. Laura and her friends lean a little towards being stereotypical mean girls, but in the school context they work well. From the moment we first met her, I really liked Delilah, and throughout she was my favourite character. Took me a little longer to get used to Kitty, but fell in love with her after standing up for herself very well in a verbal and physical fight against Laura. In the character ranking, she came a very close second. Jack was an interesting character, one that took a bit of time to grow friendly with due to his being quiet and reserved, but still. I think, if they were real, Jack, Kitty and Delilah and I could be great friends.
The romance was nicely worked in, something that you don’t get too often from male authors. Kitty and Delilah make a great couple, and they’re believable too, with a nice backstory and the kind of troubles that most relationships face. Lis and Danny are also a great couple, and it’s nice to see their relationship develop naturally. For the most part. Until the end, where things get a bit nasty. But you can forgive Lis for that. And it all works out for them in the end. As for Jack, I felt quite bad for him. The girls have each other. Lis is falling for Danny and he likes her back. And Jack’s a loner. I really hope he finds someone to fall in love with some time soon.
James really captured the atmosphere of the school. I think it may come from him once being a teacher but “his work surrounding bullying and family diversity” (taken from author bio flap) shows-the homophobic insults and the Monroe family really were realistic.
It’s not often you read a mystery where you essentially suspect everyone. Even the three friends that Lis falls in with- Kitty, Delilah and Jack, at times are hard to read and work out whether or not they’re joking about various things. I think at some point, we have feeling about everyone “Did they do it? Was it them?” Even when you think Lis has found out who it is, there’s still a final twist. I really couldn’t put this down, and by the end, I really wanted there to be more.
Overall: Strength 5 tea to a richly woven mystery that has a lot of other amazing stuff in it. I’d definitely like to return to Hollow Pike some day.