BEETLE AND THE HOLLOWBONES is the kind of book that you want to fling at everyone to read because you don't have enough words to describe how fun and enjoyable it is. From page one with Beetle and her grandmother flying on a broom, I was utterly charmed.
The illustrations are full of lush, bright colors and creative design. I loved Beetle and Kat's outfits and the range of shapes Blob Ghost forms. The facial expressions are also wonderfully done and really capture the tones of the scenes from funny to serious to romantic. I could see myself rereading this just to find new details in the intricate backgrounds.
From the beginning, you can sense Beetle feels a little lonely. She doesn't see herself as good enough compared to others doing magic. Likewise, Blob Ghost is literally trapped. They can only see their friend when Beetle comes to the mall. Their connection is powerful from their first scene- two lonely beings who have found a true friendship with each other. Though Kat and Beetle's relationship develops into a potential romance (no spoilers but there are some super cute moments in the story and the ending is beautiful), their foundation is also in friendship. Kat is everything Beetle wishes she was, but she doesn't turn it into a competition. They have complete respect for each other, and deep down, their souls are very similar.
We only get a glimpse of the incredible universe Beetle lives in with its magic, hearts, ghosts, and malls. I would happily read any number of sequels just to learn more about it. I especially liked the idea of small magic versus big magic and how everyone finds their calling in different facets.
Fans of Katie O'Neill and Kat Leyh will adore BEETLE AND THE HOLLWBONES for its beautiful illustrations, themes of family and friendship, and powerful message about being true to yourself and accepting your own magic.