The Hollow Inside

Brooke Lauren Davis. Bloomsbury, $17.99 (352p) ISBN 978-1-5476-0611-5
Sixteen-year-old Phoenix has been on the road ever since her father’s girlfriend, Nina, took her away at age nine; subsequently, the two have survived by stealing necessities and camping out each night. Now Nina has a plan—to return to her hometown and force renowned author Ellis Bowman, her ex-lover, to confess the sins of his past—and she needs Phoenix’s help. After arriving in the quaint Ohio mountain village and scoping out Bowman’s house, though, Phoenix gets caught. Believing she’s a homeless orphan, Ellis, his wife, and two teen children take her in and treat her as part of the family. Enjoying the comforts of home and becoming infatuated with Ellis’s daughter, Phoenix’s loyalties are torn. She doesn’t want Nina to hurt Ellis’s family, but she can’t betray the woman she calls “Mom” even as Nina’s attempts to spook Ellis grow increasingly violent. Interspersing a recounting of Nina’s harrowing teenage years with Phoenix’s present-day, first-person narrative, debut author Davis creates a complex, suspenseful story about small-town secrets, vengeance, and compassion through the cued-white cast. If Nina’s antics seem larger-than-life, other aspects of the novel, including characterizations of Ellis’s children, who both have secrets of their own to hide, come off as chillingly real. Ages 12–up. Agent: Victoria Doherty-Munro, Writers House. (May)
Reviewed on : 04/01/2021
Release date: 05/04/2021
Genre: Children's
Book - 978-1-5476-0612-2
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