By James Dawson
RELEASE DATE: 2nd February 2012
FORMAT: Paperback, 312 pages
GENRE: Paranormal, Young Adult
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. (Goodreads)
HOLLOW PIKE is set in a small town in Yorkshire which has a history of witchcraft. Our main protagonist is Lis, a 15 year old girl who moved to Hollow Pike to get away from Wales and the persistent bully, Bronwyn Evans. As she prepares for the move to live with her sister Sarah, she begins to have nightmares that fill her with fear as they always end the same, with her death.
Lis just wants to belong and have friends and is quickly taken in by a popular group of girls, Laura, Harry, Fiona and Nasima, although she feels drawn to Kitty, Jack and Delilah, an odd trio the other kids call the freaks of the school. Lis sticks with the “in crowd” as she enjoys the social status her new friends provide, even though she feels uncomfortable with the bullying and pranks. However, she eventually crosses over to ‘the freaks’ after an incident at a party involving a very cute Danny, a boy who both Laura and Lis find attractive. After which Laura the leader of the popular girls decides to make life very difficult for Lis and they become enemies and the bullying starts again although this time Lis is not alone, and she stands up for herself. The first 90 pages are all to do with school politics and history of the town, which makes it a little slow.
The story picks up pace after a revenge prank on Laura goes wrong and there are a few unexpected twists and a few awkward first love moments for Lis, which are amusing and a pleasant distraction from the murder mystery that is shadowing her life.
Lis and her friends try to uncover a killer before it becomes too late as it seems that Lis has been targeted next but who can she trust, who is hiding their real identity and will her nightmare play out in reality. There are rumours of witches existing in Hollow Pike are they real and to blame or is it something else!
Overall I enjoyed HOLLOW PIKE it had suspense, was unpredictable with a few unexpected twists. The author is funny and the story flowed easily. I even had to google a slang phrase which amused me and made me feel a little old. I found the first third of the book too involved with school politics, however, the final two thirds more than made up for it. There is very little paranormal activity as the majority of the witchcraft is based on rumours creating a mysterious and tense atmosphere. For me this novel was about accepting people for who they are using historic witch hunts against modern day bullying as a comparison. James Dawson sums it up beautifully.
She tapped The Crucible. “Paranoia, fear, malicious rumours. Some people don’t seem to be able to see who people are, only what they are.”
HOLLOW PIKE has a slow start, however I’m sure the school pecking order will entertain the younger reader more than myself. It does pick up pace and is entertaining, the ending is not what I expected and I could not predict what was going to happen, which was a refreshing change. Even though Hollow Pike is aimed at the younger teen I did enjoy it especially as it focused on bullying that occurs due to misunderstanding and preconceived ideas.
BUY THE BOOK