Hollow Pike by Juno Dawson

Title: Hollow Pikeimages.jpeg

Author: Juno Dawson

Publisher: Orion Books

Feeling: Secretive

★★★★★

Rarely does an author’s debut novel accomplish everything it sets out to do. Hollow Pike sets up a premise, introduces us to its characters and takes us on a journey that ticks every box the reader is looking for it to fulfill. The novel itself first came out in 2012 and is not my first foray into Juno Dawsons’s writing. I had previously read Say Her Name when it was released in 2014, a novel which also falls into the Young Adult Thriller/Horror genre, and shortly before picking up Hollow Pike I had finished listening to the audiobook of Dawson’s first adult nonfiction work The Gender Games. In fact, it was listening to The Gender Games that had me itching to finally pick Hollow Pike up from my shelf having acquired it shortly after finishing Say Her Name. This is not a review of The Gender Games but I think it is safe to say that the book had to be pretty good to have me jumping straight into another work by that same author.

Hollow Pike, as I have mentioned, is a Young Adult book that could be described as a thriller or even horror novel. Due perhaps to the flexibility of Young Adult writing, where Dawson herself feels authors are freed from the confines of a single genre, Hollow Pike offers a little more than goosebumps. The book follows Lis who has recently moved from her high school in Wales to one in Hollow Pike, Yorkshire, after a bad bought of bullying at her last school. Bullying, moving, new environments, making friends and first romances are all prevalent themes throughout the novel; all accompanied by a good, creepy mystery.

I feel as though I have seen this comparison made elsewhere but if you have seen the 90s cult classic film The Craft I think that is the immediate comparison anyone will make when reading this novel, I certainly did. Thankfully Hollow Pike followed its own story but I do think if you enjoyed the former you will enjoy the latter (and vice versa). If you know The Craft though, then you will know it is all about witchcraft, and witchcraft lingers too over Hollow Pike.

It resembles The Craft in another way. Similarly to the way I felt when reading Say Her Name, Hollow Pike to a certain extent reminded me of a self-aware teen horror film such as Scream. Even more like the genre of TV show in this vein that seems to have garnered more popularity over the past couple of years; shows like Scream Queens and the serialized version of Scream. Although I would say this book is less gore and more mystery, which is a good thing in my books. There does, however, seem to be a film-like quality to Dawson’s novels.

The mystery itself was a fun rollercoaster of switching between suspects, certain you must be right this time. The characters were endearing and the cheese factor was just right. The book set itself up to be something and delivered exactly that to the reader; I was not disappointed. So all in all this was the perfect Young Adult thriller read for me and exactly what I needed when I read it.

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