Beetle and the Hollowbones
In the eerie town of ‘Allows, some people get to be magical sorceresses, while other people have their spirits trapped in the mall for all ghastly eternity.
Then there’s twelve-year-old goblin-witch Beetle, who’s caught in between. She’d rather skip being homeschooled completely and spend time with her best friend, Blob Glost. But the mall is getting boring, and B.G. is cursed to haunt it, tethered there by some unseen force. And now Beetle’s old best friend, Kat, is back in town for a sorcery apprenticeship with her Aunt Hollowbone. Kat is everything Beetle wants to be: beautiful, cool, great at magic, and kind of famous online. Beetle’s quickly being left in the dust.
But Kat’s mentor has set her own vile scheme in motion. If Blob Ghost doesn’t escape the mall soon, their afterlife might be coming to a very sticky end. Now, Beetle has less than a week to rescue her best ghost, encourage Kat to stand up for herself, and confront the magic she’s been avoiding for far too long. And hopefully ride a broom without crashing.
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.