Sunday, March 10, 2019

REVIEW: Bone Hollow

How is this only the first book I’ve finished reading this year? It’s at least the third one I’ve picked up. I’ve been in sort of a funk with novels lately and haven’t been really grooving with the ones on my TBR. After realizing I was way behind on my reading goal for the year, I organized all of my books by length and grabbed the shortest one. So check out my review of Bone Hollow after the jump.

Disclaimer: I was sent a copy of The Serpent's Secret courtesy of Scholastic.
Opinions are my own.

Gabe knows it was foolish to save that chicken on a roof in the middle of a storm. Yet Gabe also knows that his guardian, Ms. Cleo, loves the chicken more than him. After falling off the roof, Gabe shocks his whole town by showing up to his own funeral! After fleeing with his dog, Ollie, Gabe meets a mysterious girl named Wynne and discovers the truth about his mysterious death.

I am not usually a fan of creepy/horror things, but I was curious about this book because it seemed like a cute and spooky story and less of a dark and horrifying one. What I got was a bit more in the middle.

Bone Hollow isn’t quite Tim Burton levels of loveably creepy, although being rendered entirely as words on the page with no images beyond the cover to fuel your own imagination, it can be as dark and gothic or cute and Halloweeny as your heart desires.

It’s not particularly grim or gruesome, but even a simple tale of a boy and his dog caught between life and death can be a bit too much at sometimes. It’s recommended for ages 8 - 12 and I do agree with that, but it still requires a certain stomach for the genre. It never gets “scary” but sometimes the creep factor can get a bit overboard.

Ventrella captures a perfect sense of mystery here as we spend almost every single scene from Gabe’s point of view. While most readers will figure out that Gabe is dead before he does, there are still plenty of questions that need answers and clues that stack up throughout.

The book also has some subtle social commentary thrown in. Gabe is a hick boy from hick town whose only ever friend was a girl with brown skin who moved away. His mysterious new friend Wynne also has brown skin, although specific racial ethnicities for either of these characters are brought up, elements of racism from other characters in their lives are explored. In the final chapters we confirm that the story actually takes place in the 80s, which wasn’t really utilized at all.

Bone Hollow is a fun read and perfect for young fans of Tim Burton and other creepy creations, but it’s not for everyone. If you’re looking for a spooky middle-grade horror story, click here to get your copy of Bone Hollow today.