Publisher: Orion Children's Books
Released: February 2nd 2012
My Rating: 4 stars out of 5
Find it on Goodreads
Something wicked this way comes... She thought she'd be safe in the country, but you can't escape your own nightmares, and Lis London dreams repeatedly that someone is trying to kill her. Lis thinks she's being paranoid - after all who would want to murder her? She doesn't believe in the local legends of witchcraft. She doesn't believe that anything bad will really happen to her. You never do, do you? Not until you're alone in the woods, after dark - and a twig snaps... Hollow Pike - where witchcraft never sleeps. (from Goodreads)
Hollow Pike is an excellent debut from James Dawson that has a perfect blend of all the ingredients needed to make a great, witchy thriller. Our main character Lis London is having a hard time. Forced to move from her home in Wales because of bullying that was getting too much, Lis moves in with her sister, Sarah, in Yorkshire and attends Fulton High School, hoping for a fresh start. However, things don’t go to plan. Lis manages to befriend the popular crowd on her first day – and their leader, Laura, seems more than happy to welcome Lis into the group. But Laura and her friends are cruel and treat the rest of the school like dirt – and Lis doesn’t think she can stay friends with girls so horrible. But breaking away from the group means facing Laura, and the whole reason Lis came to Yorkshire was to get away from bullying, not experience more of it. A prank gone wrong and a chilling murder, however, change everything, and soon Lis is dragged into something dark and dangerous than she can’t escape from. Who is the murderer? And what do they want with Lis?
Lis was a likeable main character and I definitely felt for her; she was just trying to leave her old, painful life behind her, but ended up getting into a bigger mess than before. She acted a bit helpless at times, but not in the annoying, too-stupid-to-live-way, and probably as a result of the hardship she’d faced over the years. I would have liked to have known more about her life in Wales, and Bronwyn, the girl that made Lis’s life a misery, but I think there was just enough to make it pretty easy to connect to Lis. I wanted her to succeed and find out who the murderer was, just because I thought she deserved some peace. I was also really intrigued by Lis’s nightmares – she kept having these horrible, dark and scary dreams and I wanted to know what was up with her! She could also be funny – especially when obsessing over her crush, Danny. She basically acted a little bit like a stalker, but she knew she was being shameless and didn’t understand why she had suddenly become obsessed with this one boy – it was so hilarious to read about. She was ashamed she was being so embarrassing but just couldn’t help it :P. Her relationship with Danny was very cute. They were a little awkward together, but it was sweet, and Danny seemed like a nice guy (though I felt like we could have gotten to know him a bit better). Some of their scenes were so funny (when Danny first met Sarah!) and I liked the romance overall (though Danny spoke using too many exclamation marks. It’s like he was excited about everything...)
I really liked Lis’s friends Kitty, Delilah and Jack, but Jack was probably my favourite out of all them. He was hilarious, and always came up with the funniest things when you least expected them. He was sort of the comic relief of the novel and I pretty much loved every scene he was in. Jack, Kitty, Delilah and Lis had the most amazing conversations at times (Cillit Bang!) that had me laughing out loud at times, and I’m really glad Lis found some people she could talk to. They did skip a lot of PE though, to have these chats (but then, who hasn’t skipped PE? Got to admit I used to skip PE a lot :P). Lis’s sister Sarah was another great character. As I said before, her scene with Danny was one of my favourites and she seemed to really care about her sister too, which was lovely. It was nice that Lis’s family were involved in the story, and helped everything seem a little more realistic.
I was wrong about Mr Gray, one of Lis’s teachers. Make of that what you will...
The plot was great and full of the suspense and tension necessary for a good murder-mystery. There was a twist that threw me off at the end, and the witchy aspect had me questioning what was really going on and who was involved. For me, the first half of the novel almost seemed contemporary, and dealt with school drama more than anything. The second half, however, was a lot darker and was more about the consequences of the murder. I liked the transition between the two and how we got to experience a mix of genres – it gave the book a really creepy feeling, sort of emphasising the fact that someone’s life can completely change in the turn of a page.
Overall, I really enjoyed Hollow Pike and would recommend it to fans of dark YA with a touch of supernatural/paranormal. I’ll definitely be looking out for James Dawson’s future works!