Publisher : Delacorte Press
Genre : Young Adult | Horror
Page Count: 272
Synopsis : Five boys attacked her.
Now they must repay her with their blood and flesh.
Bethan is the apprentice to a green healer named Drina in a clan of Welsh Romanies. Her life is happy and ordered and modest, as required by Roma custom, except for one thing: Silas, the son of the chieftain, has been secretly harassing her.
One night, Silas and his friends brutally assault Bethan and a half-Roma friend, Martyn. As empty and hopeless as she feels from the attack, she asks Drina to bring Martyn back from death’s door. “There is always a price for this kind of magic,” Drina warns. The way to save him is gruesome. Bethan must collect grisly pieces to fuel the spell: an ear, some hair, an eye, a nose, and fingers.
She gives the boys who assaulted her a chance to come forward and apologize. And when they don’t, she knows exactly where to collect her ingredients to save Martyn. (From Goodreads)
I received an eArc of this book from the publishers through Netgalley in exchange of an honest review
CW: Rape, harrassement, physical and sexual assault, murder, blood, graphic violence, gore.
This book. THIS BOOK. I’ve been staring at my screen for the past half hour trying to collect my thoughts and write them into words but I’m failing miserably because as hard as this book was to read, it felt so deeply personal to me. Beyond the revenge, beyond the gore, Bethan’s inner thoughts and journey spoke to my soul for more reasons than one reason but holy wow, it was an amazing read that I would recommend BUT with caution as it can be very graphic.
Hillary Monahan is such a freaking talented writer, I love her writing style in general but what surprised me even more here is how she is able to tailor it not only to the genre of the book but also the themes it deals with. Here it’s gorgeous and strong and so so emotional, I could feel everything Bethan was feeling, the despair, the hollowness, the fear, all of it and I’m not gonna lie, it was tough on me, I had to take breaks but I got there and I loved it.
The only thing I did not like about the book is its pacing. It feels unbalanced. The whole first half of the story is slow paced and nothing much happens in it if we’re being honest. I think it was done to help the reader get familiar with the setting, the culture etc… and to immerse themself in the story, and build up to the revenge part but I think all of it could’ve been done in a fewer chapters as it felt like it dragged unnecessarily.
But once the story picked up, oh boy, did it get good. I can’t say I enjoyed it, because that word feels inappropriate considering how the book deals with rape but it was brilliant, so freaking brilliant. I loved how the rape was treated, it’s a mortal sin in Bethan’s Romani community and is treated as such and I also appreciated how the revenge wasn’t for the sake of revenge (not that there’s anything wrong with that) and that she didn’t enjoy any of the thing she did, doing them with a sense of duty only. But still, the fact that she was so powerful and ruthless about it was amazing.
There’s something I disagree with though, people say the rape is off page, but it’s not completely off page, the start AND end are in the book, not the whole thing thankfully and that alone was enough to put me in a rough state for a couple hours. So, I would advise you proceed with cotion when picking this up if rape can trigger you. The first part of the novel has a lot of harrassement, so I’d be careful with that as well. The second part though is very graphic with the violence and revenge execution it’s bloody, it’s vicious and fascinating especially in the way it was laced with Romani culture and beliefs.
Another huge plus in the novel is how the Romani culture is treated and so so well crafted in the story, even the atmosphere of the writing matches it perfectly. The author (being multiracial and of Romani heritage) threads with care and makes sure to subtly address many of the bad stereotypes Romani people are subject to. I was completely sucked in the multiple layers of the culture and all the intricate aspects of it.
I loved Bethan‘s character arc and how authentic she felt to me (emphasize on the *me*). The portrayal of the aftermath of her assault on her mentally and physically was something I cherished because of the nightmares, the hollowness, the touch-averseness. All of it was great to read and reassuring. I also appreciated how her relationship with Martyn didn’t save her. It didn’t even happen (as a romance) by the end of the book because she needed time to heal on her own.
That’s it until next time.
Did you read The Hollow Girl? If so, what did you think?
Hope you enjoyed, write to you soon.