Willow Lamott’s best friend is a convicted killer, and no one in the small town of Gilt Hollow will let her forget it. Over four long years, she’s tried to fade into the background—but none of that matters when Ashton Keller comes striding into school, fresh out of juvie and fueled by revenge. The moment their eyes meet, Willow no longer feels invisible. Drawn to the vulnerability behind Ashton’s mask of rage, she sinks deeper into his sinister world and begins to question whether he’s a villain, a savior, or both. Ashton thought he wanted vengeance, until Willow Lamott stepped back into his life. Now he longs to clear his name and become the person she sees in him. But the closer they get to uncovering the truth, the darker the secrets become, and Ashton wonders if his return to Gilt Hollow will destroy everyone he loves.
Willow Lamott was Ashton’s best friend, and when he was accused of murder, she testified on his behalf—much to the disgust of others in town. When Ashton was convicted and sent to juvenile detention, Willow tried to stay in touch, but she never received responses to her letters, so she gave up.
With Ashton’s return to Gilt Hollow, lives are disrupted, dark secrets are brought to light, and Ashton and Willow reconnect as they try to solve a host of mysteries—some old and some new.
GILT HOLLOW is a young adult romance/suspense novel with engaging characters that will intrigue readers in its intended age group. Ashton has a blend of good looks, intelligence, and sweetness, and that’s all wrapped up in a bad boy with a mischievous side. He’s also rich—or he will be when he is old enough to access the trust fund his beloved grandfather left for him. He’s basically perfect, except for that pesky murder conviction, and teen readers will love him.
Willow is a pretty typical YA character. She doesn’t realize how attractive she is, she’s brainy, and she’s definitely not one of the popular kids at the school; she feels she’s something of an outcast after supporting Ashton during his trial. As GILT HOLLOW begins, Willow is starting to enjoy aspects of high school that she previously avoided. She has been befriended by a new girl at school, and a cute and popular boy has actually asked her out. When Ashton returns, his presence makes Willow wonder if her progress toward a normal high school life will be undone.
Although the mystery surrounding Daniel’s death has a pretty obvious conclusion, and the romance in the story progresses exactly as one would expect, Langdon produces enough twists and turns to keep GILT HOLLOW interesting. She also adeptly weaves typical teenage troubles in with the mystery. I was sorry to see some interesting side stories fizzle to an end, and there were interesting characters introduced and then never or rarely seen again, but all in all I can recommend this book to anyone who likes their YA romance with a bit of suspense.
Relatable female main character