Hollow: #ReviewMonday


Hollow written by Lorraine Cannell

available on Kindle

and in paperback

April 2017

. . . a YA chiller with a spiritual twist

Summary from author’s own website:

Fifteen year old Liv Swanson’s past is a blank. The first eleven years of her life, of who she used to be, were taken by the Hollow inside her mind. As was the memory of the car accident that created it.

An accident no wants to talk about.

A past no one seems to want to remember.

When Liv is roped in by her cousin to join her Aunt’s psychic circle for a laugh, she’s not prepared for what happens.

In opening herself to spirit, she opens a gateway from which she can never return.


Extract from paperback:

It’s late October, around eight o’clock in the evening and there’s only one day until the end of half term. If I was half-way normal, I’d be out, messing about with my mates, making plans. But I’m not. Besides there’s only one person I trust. Ally’s sitting to my left, her eyes shut tight, eyelashes quivering. It’s not just we’re cousins, bound by the same blood. She knew the before me, from the time before the accident.


When I read for Serendipity Reviews, Viv Dacosta wisely had a policy of not reviewing self-published books. {There were the odd exceptions – i.e. books that had been traditionally published in other countries but were self-published here.} It meant we were not inundated with unedited dross.

I deviated from that approach to read Lorraine Cannell’s Hollow for two reasons. Nº.1 : her work is endorsed by The Golden Egg Academy and has been edited professionally. [To find out more read @HelloPipski’s interview with her here.]  Nº.2 I heard her read from it at the Golden Egg social in Cambridge.

Lorraine Cannell

Don’t expect a flood of self-published work on here in future – I have far too many conventionally published works to read. If it were not for The Golden Egg Academy and the writer herself, I would not have picked this one up – the cover doesn’t really appeal to me.

Still – you can see it’s not going to be a light, cheery read. The school and family focused drama of the opening section allows us to know the main characters and their difficulties well. Told from Liv’s own perspective, it soon escalates to a detective mystery with intriguing spiritual aspects. This distinguishes Hollow from the average ghost story.

The pace quickens briskly towards a dramatic conclusion. There are strong, unsettling images, some dark humour and definite traces of menace throughout. Strained loyalties are central to the whole tale and, as you might expect in YA some element of romance is involved. Overall, Hollow is not for the easily frightened – but there is nothing gratuitously violent, foul-mouthed or horrific either, bearing in mind the subject matter.

I’d definitley recommend it for those teenage readers who enjoy something dark and uncanny – but not schlocky horror. They might well have read The Crowham Martyrs by Jane McLoughlin and want something else with ghosts. Or perhaps something more heartfelt than the Lockwood & Cº Mysteries by Jonathan Stroud. This YA chiller with a spiritual twist would meet their needs.

Liv could work well as the central character in a detective series: it will be interesting to see what Lorraine produces next.












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