The Hollow Girl

Featured
 
5.0 (2)
 
0.0 (0)
828   0
Write Review
The Hollow Girl
Age Range
12+
Release Date
October 10, 2017
ISBN
9781524701864
Buy This Book
      

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.

Editor reviews

2 reviews

Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot 
 
5.0  (2)
Characters 
 
5.0  (2)
Writing Style 
 
5.0  (2)
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
5.0

a cathartic novel about the different ways we respond to trauma and sweet vengeance

WHAT I LOVED:
If you’ve been abused in any manner by men in the past, The Hollow Girl is a deeply cathartic experience to go through. The entirety of the novel shows an incredible respect for survivors of sexual assault and the different ways they respond to their trauma. Wish you could make your abuser suffer? Oooh, you’ll live vicariously through Bethan and her grandmother Drina.

Monahan’s #ownvoices Roma representation is wonderful, nuanced, and directly fights some of the myths that exist even today. It also does what I do every time I have the opportunity: tell people no, you do not get to use the word “gypsy” if you’re not Roma, it’s racist and it’s their word to reclaim, not yours. And if you’re about to ask me: no, you don’t get to use it in that situation either. Even before you ask the question of me, I’m pretty sure the answer is no.

Admittedly, it’s a little heavy-handed with the details of Romani life and customs, but you know what? It’s necessary. With so many people still using the g-word inappropriately and so many myths about Roma life viewed as truths, it’s the anvil that you need to have dropped on your head. Can’t even fault the book for that. For everything else it’s doing, it’s even hard for me to fault the shallow, rather quick romance between Bethan and Martyn, who’s a half-Roma boy just like her. She lives with her people, he lives with his father and the other gadjos (non-Roma people).

Quite kindly, Bethan’s rape by Silas is kept off-page. We know what happens and the word is used, but they don’t need to read an explicit play-by-play of the violent act against her. Instead, the terrifying stuff we get on-page is what happens to Silas and his four friends who beat her up and nearly killed Martyn! One gets his eye gouged out by Drina and another is tormented by the illusion of a scarecrow so Bethan can trap him and take what she needs from him for both Martyn and her own sense of avenging herself.

Even so, Bethan isn’t entirely on board with what she’s doing. Before she met Martyn and went through her trauma, she was a girl impatient to learn magic and curses as an apprentice. It’s only after she suffers that she gets those long-desired lessons as a tool she can use to get justice. But is it really justice to kill some of the five and force one into a life of servitude to her? Bethan’s mental conflict regarding her vengeance is the focal point of her growth as a character.

Her conflict also serves as a contrast to Drina, who is perfectly fine making those who hurt her in the past and made Bethan suffer. Some survivors want to get their justice and move on; others need more than that and would like to make their abusers hurt. Both are perfectly valid responses and neither character judges the other’s feelings as wrong. As Drina says, it takes a certain kind of person to do the bloody, awful work they do. Drina is that kind of person; as the novel goes on, Bethan inches closer and closer to not being that kind of person.

I’d say I’m more like Drina.

FINAL VERDICT?
The Hollow Girl is a cathartic novel about the different ways we respond to trauma, finding our moral centers, and sweet vengeance. Because even when Bethan decides that punishing the five boys isn’t helping her, I’m sure being helped by living vicariously through her.

Was this review helpful to you? 
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
5.0

Powerful story of family, trauma, and magic

Content Warning: As the author mentions in the forward, there is sexual assault in this book.

Disclaimer: I do not identify as Romani, so I cannot speak on the representation of the Romani culture. The author is Romani #ownvoices and has a wonderful note on the making and inspiration of THE HOLLOW GIRL.

In a clan of Welsh Romanies, Bethan loves being the apprentice to Drina, her Gran, though she wouldn’t mind if they could move on from the herbcraft and go to spells. The two make a small, happy family, but there is one upset in Bethan’s life: the continual harassment from Silas, son of the chieftain. One dark night, Bethan and her friend, Martyn, are viscously assaulted by Silas and his group. With Martyn left on the edge of death, Bethan and her Gran prepare for a spell that will bring him back…for a price.

Hillary Monahan’s THE HOLLOW GIRL is a powerhouse of emotion, darkness, family, and magic. Each line rings with a strong voice that first gently draws you in, then fiercely grabs your attention and doesn’t let go, commanding it long after the last page is (bittersweetly) turned. Bethan is an incredibly nuanced protagonist whose journey wrecks emotions in more ways than one. Here is the kind of story where you find yourself laughing and crying alongside the characters and begging, begging, begging they find as much peace and happiness as possible because they feel as dear as family within a handful of chapters.

The central themes of THE HOLLOW GIRL are crucial and moving. Bethan and Drina prove the size of a family is no equivalent to the amount of love in a family. The effects of trauma are different for everyone, and Bethan’s journey presents a much needed discussion about rape culture.

THE HOLLOW GIRL is a force that leaves words hard to find. Important on so many levels, brimming with stunning narration, and full of heart, this is not a novel to miss.

Was this review helpful to you? 

User reviews

There are no user reviews for this listing.
Already have an account? or Create an account
Powered by JReviews

FEATURED GIVEAWAYS

Latest Book Listings Added

The Loneliest Girl in The Universe
A surprising and gripping sci-fi thriller with a killer twist...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Dragon-Slayers_Low Res.jpg
A reverse harem with a powerful magical heroine, a mystery...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Fire and Fairies by Kristin D Van Risseghem low resolution.jpg
Forbidden love. Agony. Heartbreak. Sidelle never wanted...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Obsidio (The Illuminae Files #3)
Kady, Ezra, Hanna, and Nik narrowly escaped with their...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
I've always been the prey. All Seventeen-year-old...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Ignited (Dance of the Elements, #1)
A NOBLE DAUGHTER. A FORMER SLAVE. SCORCHED EARTH AND...
 
3.8
 
0.0 (0)
Royals
Meet Daisy Winters. She’s an offbeat sixteen-year-old Floridian with...
 
3.3
 
0.0 (0)
SoulCatchers_600x900.jpg
Whoever kills the wolf becomes the wolf… ...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Bring Me Their Hearts
Zera is a Heartless – the immortal, unageing soldier...
 
5.0
 
5.0 (1)
The Strange Fascinations of Noah Hypnotik
This is Noah Oakman → sixteen, Bowie believer, concise...
 
5.0
 
3.7 (1)
Playing Her Secret Crush
All her life, Katie has been chosen last for everything:...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
The Princess of Windswept (#1)
Danni is a normal teenage girl until she gets an...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Milla Takes Charge (Disney: Daring Dreamers Club #1)
Milla loves nothing more than imagining grand adventures in the...
 
4.0 (2)
 
0.0 (0)
The House of One Thousand Eyes
Who can Lena trust to help her find out the...
 
0.0
 
4.7 (1)
Where I Found You (Sea)
After her mother's plane went missing over the Indian Ocean,...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Classes are Canceled
This series is part of Scholastic's early...
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)

Latest Member Reviews

Always Forever Maybe
 
5.0
"It isn't always easy to love a book that talks about a dark subject, but Rissi captivated me with her..."
The Loneliest Girl in The Universe
 
5.0
"What worked: This is one of those books you can't put down! I literally stayed up until the early morning..."
 
2.7
""Pretties" is a continuation of the Uglies series where Tally Youngblood has now returned to the city and become a..."
Bring Me Their Hearts
 
5.0
""Bring Me Their Hearts" was a fantastic YA fantasy that I wish I could give more than 5 stars to!..."
Fawkes
 
2.0
""Fawkes" is a YA historical fantasy that sounds so interesting! Unfortunately, I could not get into it. In this alternate..."
Fireblood (Frostblood #2)
 
4.0
""Fireblood" was a pretty good continuation of the Frostblood Saga. While the first book took place in the land of..."
Thief of Lies
 
4.0
"“Thief of Lies” is the first in the Library Jumpers series. It had me hooked at the start but lost..."
The Waking Land
 
5.0
"“The Waking Land” is an enthralling YA fantasy that follows Elanna Valtai. The prologue shows us Elanna’s nightmares over the..."
The Adoration of Jenna Fox (Jenna Fox Chronicles #1)
 
3.0
""The Adoration of Jenna Fox" is the story of a teenager who wakes up from a coma without any memories..."
Zombie Abbey
 
2.3
""Zombie Abbey" is Downton Abbey with zombies (and characters names changed). Although it's been a while since I watched Downton..."
Heartless
 
4.0
""Heartless" is the origin story for the Queen of Hearts (of Alice in Wonderland fame). Catherine, destined to be the..."
All The Crooked Saints
 
4.0
""All the Crooked Saints" is YA fiction with a heavy dose of magical realism. The Soria family lives in Bicho..."
Beastly (Kendra Chronicles #1)
 
5.0
""Beastly" is a beautiful and amazing story of second chances, the importance of who you are within, and love. A..."
Don't Look Back
 
4.0
""Don't Look Back" is a one-off thriller from Jennifer L. Armentrout. It begins with Samantha appearing bloody and beat up..."
Seven Days of You
 
4.0
""Seven Days of You" follows Sophia during her last week in Tokyo, where she has lived for the last four..."
When the Moon Was Ours
 
5.0
""When the Moon was Ours" is a hauntingly beautiful and lyrical masterpiece. McLemore is an incredible storyteller. The words do..."
Finding Audrey
 
4.0
"I think this is one of Kinsella's finest books. There is so much heart, struggle, and soul to this book...."
Reclaiming Shilo Snow
 
4.0
""Reclaiming Shilo Snow" is an even better continuation of "The Evaporation of Sofi Snow" duology. All the story lines are..."
Bewitching (Kendra Chronicles #2)
 
4.0
""Bewitching" continues the story of the witch Kendra and retells multiple fairytales. The book begins with her origin story, losing..."
Nexis (Tricksters #1)
 
5.0
""Nexis" is a fantastic and imaginative sci-fi novel. Ellani begins the novel as a petulant teenager, upset with her father..."