Ever since this book came on my radar, I knew I was going to love it. This book took what I thought I knew, twisted it on its head, and spat it back at me. I am still reeling at what I read.
Thank you to Penguin Teen for sending me an e-ARC of this book for review. This is an honest, spoiler free review and all thoughts and feelings are my own.
House of Hollow by Krystal Sutherland
Release date: April 6, 2021
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Genre: YA Fantasy Thriller
Seventeen-year-old Iris Hollow has always been strange. Something happened to her and her two older sisters when they were children, something they can’t quite remember but that left each of them with an identical half-moon scar at the base of their throats.
Iris has spent most of her teenage years trying to avoid the weirdness that sticks to her like tar. But when her eldest sister, Grey, goes missing under suspicious circumstances, Iris learns just how weird her life can get: horned men start shadowing her, a corpse falls out of her sister’s ceiling, and ugly, impossible memories start to twist their way to the forefront of her mind.
As Iris retraces Grey’s last known footsteps and follows the increasingly bizarre trail of breadcrumbs she left behind, it becomes apparent that the only way to save her sister is to decipher the mystery of what happened to them as children.
The closer Iris gets to the truth, the closer she comes to understanding that the answer is dark and dangerous – and that Grey has been keeping a terrible secret from her for years.
I first heard about House of Hollow back in October/November at an influencer meeting with Penguin Teen. When they gave the elevator pitch for this book, I was immediately hooked and I knew I had to get my hands on a copy because this was everything I could have wanted in a book and more.
And wow, this did not disappoint.
To start off, I loved the mystery surrounding the sisters and their disappearance. The prologue effectively lets us know what happened to the Hollow sisters and how they suddenly disappeared for a month on the streets of Edinburgh. Their parents looking away for no more than two seconds to kiss at midnight on New Year’s Eve before their three children were gone. How they suddenly appeared exactly one month later, naked, cold, and somehow changed.
As we move forward in the story and finally get to know more about the Hollow sisters, it was clear that all three were very different. One thing I liked a lot, being one of three sisters myself, is the fact that there are some big differences between them but Iris doesn’t shame her sisters for being different – she states it more like a fact. There’s no judgement that Vivi is more punk and intense than Grey, who tries to be ethereally beautiful. And Iris, who just wishes to blend in and be comfortable. The dichotomy between the three just works so well and it reminded me a lot of my own sisters.
Once the plot started moving though, I was done for. I picked up this book after work (around 4pm) and even with an hour and a half break to walk, cook dinner, eat, etc I still finished at 8pm. I devoured this book. The need to know more felt like an endless maw, much like the sister’s endless hunger – insatiable until the very end and still wanting more. I could not tear my eyes away from the page and when I had to, my mind was spinning with thoughts and questions as I wondered, what happened to Grey? And who are the Hollow sisters?
Once it’s been realized that Grey is missing, Vivi and Iris are quick to start looking for her. As they go to the last person she was seen with, Tyler Yang, it’s clear we have found another addition to the group and Tyler was such a good choice. I will admit that while he was annoying at first, and I definitely thought him empty headed and shallow, he ended up being a character that I grew to love. His witty banter between Iris and Vivi helped break up the macabre undertones of the book, bringing in some lightness and humor to the story.
Honestly, bringing Tyler in just helped solidified what I already knew: Grey is just an awful person. She’s the person you love to hate. You’re envious of her beauty and grace, even as she actively works to destroy you, but once you’re out of her spell it’s clear who she really is. On the other hand, Vivi is a queen, and while she has her own issues, it’s clear she is such a genuine person that I wouldn’t mind getting sniped or barked at if it meant being able to hang around someone so badass. And while Iris starts off pretty plain, she quickly begins to shine as she comes into her own, no longer depending on her sisters to tell her what to do and who to be.
Even with the fantastic characters, including Iris whose transformation is unparalleled, the plot is unmatched. Every spine tingling or creepy moment of this book was too good to look away from. I was absolutely addicted to it and maybe that’s why I couldn’t stop reading. Even with the horrific imagery, this book was still binge worthy, and the mystery was laid out so well. Overall, I just really adore this story and everyone needs to read this masterpiece!