Forgive the lateness of this review and I hope that it does not give the impression that it’s because I hate the book. As a matter of fact, the Hollow Girl is the best book that I’ve read in 2017. If you know me, I don’t normally read horror stories because it’s not just my genre and you know, nightmares. But after reading the synopsis, I knew that I had to pick it up and told myself that “Let’s try this for once.” And so I did.
Oh boy, no regrets so far because after page 1, there was no turning back. The story consumed me, the characters captivated me and the twists shook me. Hillary Monahan really took her time in fleshing out the characters and in weaving the story that it wasn’t cumbersome or convoluted but not simple either. The story centers on a Romani Gypsy, Bethan, who’s being groomed by her grandmother to succeed the latter as the tribe’s green healer. Her life is pretty much alright except for one thing: the tribal leader’s son, Silas, is trying his damnedest to harass Bethan. And then, one night, what Drina (Bethan’s grandmother) and Bethan dreaded happened. Bethan got raped and her friend died protecting her.
The incident was the turning point for Bethan. Though she and her grandmother were peace loving individuals, they did not hesitate in deciding that Silas and the boys who played accomplices must pay. So the tale of darkness and revenge began. And it was damn satisfying seeing Bethan and her grandma made corpses out of the boys. Cue evil laugh. Kidding aside, there was more to this book than the killings. Rape is such a delicate subject, even more so the aftermath. The victim traumatized and stigmatized while the suspects go seemingly underpunished. With the Hollow Girl, my heart really cried for Bethan and her grandmother but I literally rejoiced as they sought retribution from Silas and his friends. Happiness that turned into awe and sadness again when the twist was revealed.
This book, essentially, has all the things that I love in a story despite it being horror. There’s heart, darkness, revenge, and nuanced characters that will surely make your reading experience a memorable one. Cheers to you, Hillary Monahan.