Book Review: The Hollow by Jessica Verday (The Hollow, #1)

Hollow - Verday

The Hollow

By Jessica Verday

Series: The Hollow, Book 1

My Rating: 2 Stars

This is one of those series that’s been on my “To Read” list for quite some time.  I finally decided I was going to hit a bunch of the series that have been sitting on my list waiting to be read.  Lucky for me, most of the books have been released which means that while I’ll have to devote some time to get through all the books, I’ll also have the pleasure of having that sense of fulfillment you only get when you don’t have to wait for the next book to be published.  In addition, I hope I’ll get my sense of closure so I can move on from one series to the next.

When I set out to read this book, I discovered that my library doesn’t actually own the first book in the series so I had to request it through Interlibrary Loan.   It seemed strange that we didn’t own it but when it arrived I figured out why we didn’t own it by just seeing the cover.   Not that there is anything wrong with the cover but it’s clear that this book was released just before the YA genre took off.  When that happened, much more attention was paid to the covers because, just admit it, beautiful covers sell more books.  It’s a proven fact.  The second and third books in this series were definitely released after the YA craze took over the publishing world.  The covers on these books were clearly created with a more focused goal in mind and with a lot of competition to contend with.

Before I get into the synopsis and my thoughts on the book, I should give you some background information that might be useful if you are considering reading these books.  The story in this series is centered around and tied very closely to Washington Irving’s “Legend of Sleepy Hollow” story and having read it before hand will be very helpful.  I lucked out because I spent the year listening to classics on audio and I had just finished listening to Irving’s most popular work.  It was pure luck.  I didn’t plan it but I’m glad that it worked out that way because it definitely made the story that much more engrossing for me.  I was able to make connections and interpret in ways that I never would have been able to had I not read Irving first.  When I discovered this series was going to be centered around the famous ghost story, I was thrilled.  I love books like this.  If you’ve read my reviews of  Kelly Creagh’s Nevermore series, you’ll understand.  Stories like this generally have more weight to them and they have the ability to pack more punch because they use the power of the classic work to build their story and add to the tone of the book.  If the classic work has a sense of foreboding, tension or mystery it always carries well into the new work.  To say I was excited, is an understatement.


When Abbey’s best friend, Kristen, suffers a sudden and tragic death, Abbey is left trying to accept that she is gone.  Sent into a state of shock that prevents her from fully accepting that Kristen is truly gone since they never found her body, Abbey tries to just get through her days.  When she meets a mysterious boy at Kristen’s funeral, she is intrigued and for the first time, she can see a future for herself again.  But Caspian is mysterious and elusive and appears to be hiding things from Abbey.

When Abbey, uncovers a secret her best friend was keeping from her, she struggles with the reality that they might not have been as close as she assumed.  And she can’t help but wonder if the secret she was keeping is connected, in some way, to her disappearance and death.  As Abbey searches for answers to the questions about her best friend, she uncovers truths about her town and Caspian.  Truths that will make her question her sanity and everything she’s ever believed in.

My Thoughts

This book had everything that makes a great story.  A sudden, mysterious death, ghosts, a loner heart-throb, angsty teens, a town with a past and a connection to the most famous ghost story in history.   I was looking forward to reading this series.  I thought for sure it was going to impress and excite me to no end.  Unfortunately, while the story was good, it wasn’t spectacular.  There were major holes in the narrative and it left me significantly wanting.

More than once in just the first book, plot devices were introduced with the implication that they would be important later but then they just petered out and weren’t anything to begin with.  This was frustrating.   There was just, so much happening in the book that it was hard to keep it all straight and the aspects of the story were held together with weak connections at best.

Then the climactic ending wasn’t very climactic.  Even though it was only a first book and I knew there was going to be more explained in the second and third books, I felt like the book ended rather abruptly and what happened didn’t make much sense to me.

Overall, this book left me wanting more than I was given at the end of this part of the story.  I did enjoy the story for the most part and it was enough to make me want to continue on to books two and three, but I felt there could have been stronger connections in the story.  The link to the headless horseman story was weak and didn’t contribute to the story in the way I had hoped.  Maybe the next books in the series will tie it all together.  Here’s hoping.



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