Book Review: Into The Hollow

Title: Into The Hollow

Author: Lynn Vroman

Format: Ebook (courtesy Netgalley advance read)

Published: 2018

Thank you to Netgalley for the opportunity to read Into The Hollow before its release date of November 6, 2018 (my birthday)!

This young adult novel is set in the town of Poplar Branch, West Virginia, in the holler.  We meet Freedom Paine, 17, who is living in a shack with her younger brother and father.  Neither Free nor her brother attend school or have any friends (in fact, it’s not allowed, it’s almost as if they are in hiding).  Her father goes out and tries to scheme money where he can and is promising them a better life.  There is so much mystery to her living situation and how her mother died. As the book progresses, we start to learn more and more.

We also meet Cole, a senior in high school.  He has been sucked in to the holler life and is desperate to get himself out of there.  His father and brother are in jail, his sister is a high school dropout with a child, and his mother is a junkie.  Freedom catches Cole’s eye and eventually they end up working together at the same grocery store.  They bond over being able to both take home stale food to fill their bare cupboards until Free’s father forbids her to see him anymore.

The characters develop as the story is told.  I also could not help but read this story in my head with a very Southern twang.  It sucked me in and I had to get to the bottom of every situation.  Fair warning, I cried ugly tears twice in this book.

Free’s dad gets involved in a sticky situation and ends up seriously injured.  Free turns to Cole for help and essentially her world falls apart.  Once Freedom has to seek medical attention for her father, the police get involved because there are 2 minor children he has been caring for.  I can’t say much more without ruining the book.  Just know Cole is her constant and is there for her, always waiting, always willing.  It turns out though, Cole needed Freedom just as much as she needed him.  I don’t think I could written a better ending to the journey that Cole and Freedom end up taking together.  I will say there is light for them at the end of the holler.

I am giving this book 4 stars.  It is a solid, fantastic read.  The character development is spot on and the way the story gives us bits and pieces into Cole’s and Free’s lives is delectable.  The author makes you feel like you are about to go on a soul crushing ride when at the right moment she picks you up and leaves you with a smile.  Absolutely terrific read.  Once I got into part 2 I could barely put the book down.  Don’t let the category of young adult fool you, this is a great read for anyone of any age.  Tune in next week for my review of We Were Mothers by Katie Sise!

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