The Hollow Girl

Featured
 
5.0 (2)
 
0.0 (0)
1370 0
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

a cathartic novel about the different ways we respond to trauma and sweet vengeance
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
5.0
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.
Report this review Comments (0) | Was this review helpful to you? 0 0
Powerful story of family, trauma, and magic
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
5.0
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.
Report this review Comments (0) | Was this review helpful to you? 2 0

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 Monster Hypothesis
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Welcome to Bohring-home to 453 people, 2,053 alligators, and one...
Where the World Ends
 
3.0
 
0.0 (0)
Winner of the 2018 Carnegie Medal! New from Michael L....
Carnevil (Monsterstreet #3)
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
“Fast, funny, frightening—and filled with shocks and surprises. These books...
Prophecy Untold (Shadow Realms book 3)
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Finding out my mother was taken by the demons...
Hearts, Strings, and Other Breakable Things
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
In this charming debut about first love and second...
Six Goodbyes We Never Said
 
3.3
 
0.0 (0)
Two teens meet after tragedy and learn about love,...
Golden Crown
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
No longer only a warrior. Not just a queen....
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
The first vampire. The last Nephilim. The end...
The Galactic Adventures of Hazel - Gurecoa
 
3.0
 
0.0 (0)
What is it like to live in 4519 AD...
Batman: Nightwalker (The Graphic Novel)
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
This action-packed graphic novel based on the New York...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Seventeen-year-old Rose Hemmersbach aspires to break out of small town...
Stuffed
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Welcome, little one. You have been chosen to join us,...
Merged
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Seven of our country’s most gifted teens will become Nobels,...
Bury Me
 
0.0
 
4.7 (1)
No one ever leaves Copper Hollow. It's a town with...
Estranged #2: The Changeling King
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Enter a world of faerie magic and epic adventure in...
The Edge of the Word (Mightier than the Sword, #2)
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
The exciting follow-up to Mightier Than the Sword, the humorous...

Latest Member Reviews

Refraction
 
4.3
"Marty is a flawed character in any number of ways, not least of which is his propensity to do what's..."
Frankly in Love
 
4.7
"I love this book so much. I read it pretty much in one sitting because I couldn't put it down!..."
Where the World Ends
 
3.0
"WHERE THE WORLD ENDS is an intriguing historical fiction, based on a true story. The boys of Hirta are sent..."
Bury Me
 
4.7
"In horror books and movies, we often see dolls as the main source of scares( such as Annabelle or Child's..."
Juliet Takes a Breath
 
4.7
"Juliet Takes a Breath is a coming of age story about a Latina lesbian from the Bronx who travels to..."
Fireborne (The Aurelian Cycle, #1)
 
5.0
"Fireborne is a fantasy novel set nine years after a bloody uprising against a brutal regime in which the poor..."
Jason & Kyra
 
N/A
"i am from Italy hello. Can you help me translate? /rardor"
The Galactic Adventures of Hazel - Gurecoa
 
3.0
"THE GALACTIC ADVENTURES OF HAZEL - GURECOA takes place in the far future, where our planet is only vaguely recognizable...."
Batman: Nightwalker (The Graphic Novel)
 
4.3
"BATMAN: NIGHTWALKER (THE GRAPHIC NOVEL) converts the YA novel by Marie Lu into graphic novel format. The plot remains the..."
Adorkable
 
5.0
"ADORKABLE is a book you can easily predict, but the journey is unbelievably delightful. Sally Spitz is a senior in..."
Six Goodbyes We Never Said
 
3.3
"SIX GOODBYES WE NEVER SAID is quite a heavy YA contemporary. We follow Naima and Dew in alternating sections. Naima..."
Wilder Girls
 
4.7
" THIS WAS INCREDIBLE. This book reads like BUTTER...… Moldy, rotten, disgusting butter,..."
The Beautiful (The Beautiful, #1)
 
4.0
"After killing a man in Paris, Celine is forced to flee to a different country and finds herself in New..."
The Guinevere Deception (Camelot Rising, #1)
 
5.0
"Guinevere has one role to play when she arrives in Camelot. She has to protect King Arthur with her life...."
Unstoppable Moses: A Novel
 
3.3
"UNSTOPPABLE MOSES is quite an interesting YA contemporary. With dark humor, grief/healing, and guilt/blame, this book takes on some big..."
The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein
 
4.0
"The most amazing thing about classic horror stories is how they still influence many writers today. To read 'the..."
Patron Saints of Nothing
 
4.3
"After learning that his cousin Jun (his best friend and penpal) has died, Jay Reguero heads back to visit his..."
Now Entering Addamsville
 
3.7
"Zora Novak has been accused of a crime she didn't commit. It doesn't help that her family are known as..."
Fireborne (The Aurelian Cycle, #1)
 
5.0
"Fireborne is a fantasy novel set nine years after a bloody uprising against a brutal regime in which the poor..."
Ruthless Gods (Something Dark and Holy, #2)
 
5.0
"RUTHLESS GODS is dark, atmospheric, and completely enchanting. It was everything I hoped a sequel to WICKED SAINTS would be..."