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Sadie meets The Glass Castle in a smart, gripping, and twisty YA debut about a girl seeking to reveal the truth about her mother-and herself. Seventeen-year-old Phoenix has spent much of her life drifting from town to town with her mom Nina, using their charms to swindle and steal to get by. Now they've made it to their ultimate destination, Mom's hometown of Jasper Hollow. Sadie meets The Glass Castle in a smart, gripping, and twisty YA debut about a girl seeking to reveal the truth about her mother-and herself. Seventeen-year-old Phoenix has spent much of her life drifting from town to town with her mom Nina, using their charms to swindle and steal to get by. Now they've made it to their ultimate destination, Mom's hometown of Jasper Hollow. The plan: bring down Ellis Bowman, the man who ruined Nina's life. When Phoenix gets caught spying on Ellis, she spins a convincing story that inadvertently gives her full access to the Bowman family. As she digs deeper into their secrets (and begins to fall for daughter Melody), she finds herself entrenched in the tale of a death and a disappearance that doesn't entirely line up with what Mom has told her. But there's even more to this story Phoenix doesn't know. Who, if anyone, is telling the whole truth about what happened? Debut author Brooke Lauren Davis explores the murkiness of right and wrong, of choices and consequences, of heroes and villains, in an eerily compelling and thought-provoking small-town saga.


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Sadie meets The Glass Castle in a smart, gripping, and twisty YA debut about a girl seeking to reveal the truth about her mother-and herself. Seventeen-year-old Phoenix has spent much of her life drifting from town to town with her mom Nina, using their charms to swindle and steal to get by. Now they've made it to their ultimate destination, Mom's hometown of Jasper Hollow. Sadie meets The Glass Castle in a smart, gripping, and twisty YA debut about a girl seeking to reveal the truth about her mother-and herself. Seventeen-year-old Phoenix has spent much of her life drifting from town to town with her mom Nina, using their charms to swindle and steal to get by. Now they've made it to their ultimate destination, Mom's hometown of Jasper Hollow. The plan: bring down Ellis Bowman, the man who ruined Nina's life. When Phoenix gets caught spying on Ellis, she spins a convincing story that inadvertently gives her full access to the Bowman family. As she digs deeper into their secrets (and begins to fall for daughter Melody), she finds herself entrenched in the tale of a death and a disappearance that doesn't entirely line up with what Mom has told her. But there's even more to this story Phoenix doesn't know. Who, if anyone, is telling the whole truth about what happened? Debut author Brooke Lauren Davis explores the murkiness of right and wrong, of choices and consequences, of heroes and villains, in an eerily compelling and thought-provoking small-town saga.

30 review for The Hollow Inside

  1. 4 out of 5

    emma

    Why was this so good? Why did I enjoy this book, which is about a girl attempting to find love in spite of not knowing her father / living in a van with her complicated mother / finding romance built on a foundation of deceit (and ditto for her found family), so much? Every single character in this is flawed almost to the point of being unlovable and I had a blast and a half. I do not know why. This just instantly was a good and fun and pleasant read for me. I'm not going to psychoanalyze that. Botto Why was this so good? Why did I enjoy this book, which is about a girl attempting to find love in spite of not knowing her father / living in a van with her complicated mother / finding romance built on a foundation of deceit (and ditto for her found family), so much? Every single character in this is flawed almost to the point of being unlovable and I had a blast and a half. I do not know why. This just instantly was a good and fun and pleasant read for me. I'm not going to psychoanalyze that. Bottom line: I read an ARC, I read it basically on time, and I liked it! Three things that never happen. -------------- pre-review i don't know what it says about me that this book, which is about how every human is deeply flawed and lives a life of suffering, was a nonstop funfest to read, but uh. it was, so. review to come / 4 stars -------------- tbr review secrets and spying and stealing oh my thanks to the publisher for the ARC, which i am actually reading kinda sorta on time -------------- reading all books with LGBTQ+ rep for pride this month! book 1: the gravity of us book 2: the great american whatever book 3: wild beauty book 4: the affair of the mysterious letter book 5: how we fight for our lives book 6: blue lily, lily blue book 7: the times i knew i was gay book 8: conventionally yours book 9: the hollow inside

  2. 5 out of 5

    Chelsea Bruning

    This novel hooked me from the start and didn't let go. When I wasn't able to read it, I couldn't stop thinking about it. This isn't a reheated version of a story you've read before. The plot is fresh. The characters have depth. The setting has history. The pace is absolutely perfect. Brooke's writing is so visual, the experience of reading this novel is equal to watching a film. There were many parts where my jaw actually dropped. I was caught off guard multiple times by so many surprising twist This novel hooked me from the start and didn't let go. When I wasn't able to read it, I couldn't stop thinking about it. This isn't a reheated version of a story you've read before. The plot is fresh. The characters have depth. The setting has history. The pace is absolutely perfect. Brooke's writing is so visual, the experience of reading this novel is equal to watching a film. There were many parts where my jaw actually dropped. I was caught off guard multiple times by so many surprising twists! Just because this is shelved in the young adult section doesn't mean it's only for teens. I will be recommending this book to everyone.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth Moffett

    I really enjoyed this one! This book captures a tricky mother/daughter relationship, to say the very least. Phoenix had a likability in her as a character, and I think my students would enjoy this read. Definitely a fantastic debut novel for Davis!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Erin Cataldi

    Absolutely stunning - I could not put this young adult debut down!! Phoenix and her mom live an unconventional life - living out of a van and stealing what they need to get by. That's all about to change however; Phoenix's mother, Nina, is taking them back to the place where it all started, Jasper Hollow. It was there that Nina's life was forever ruined so with the help of her seventeen year old daughter - they are going to right some wrongs and make sure everyone knows the truth. No more lies, Absolutely stunning - I could not put this young adult debut down!! Phoenix and her mom live an unconventional life - living out of a van and stealing what they need to get by. That's all about to change however; Phoenix's mother, Nina, is taking them back to the place where it all started, Jasper Hollow. It was there that Nina's life was forever ruined so with the help of her seventeen year old daughter - they are going to right some wrongs and make sure everyone knows the truth. No more lies, no more secrets - she's waited long enough. Phoenix is tasked with befriending the man who ruined his mother's life as well as his family to gather intel for her mother - but what happens when she finds out that there is more to the story than her mother told her?! Is she into to deep with this fraudulent family? How much do they really know? She'll do anything for her mother - but is this going to far, even for her? Utterly compelling and unique - the characters were real, flawed, and kept me guessing to the very end. One I will definitely read again!

  5. 4 out of 5

    Emily

    I originally thought this was a horror novel for some reason, so my expectations were a little different. It's definitely a thriller / mystery instead, and it won me over quickly. The story was creative and mysterious, and I love how everything unfolded. It was so interesting and suspenseful. I'm not going to say much because of spoilers, but I highly recommend adding this to your TBR if you're looking for a twisty thriller / mystery! CW - parental neglect, statutory rape I originally thought this was a horror novel for some reason, so my expectations were a little different. It's definitely a thriller / mystery instead, and it won me over quickly. The story was creative and mysterious, and I love how everything unfolded. It was so interesting and suspenseful. I'm not going to say much because of spoilers, but I highly recommend adding this to your TBR if you're looking for a twisty thriller / mystery! CW - parental neglect, statutory rape

  6. 4 out of 5

    Dana

    I purchased and read this book for two reasons. 1. It was the June selection for book club, and 2. I wanted to support a hometown author. After reading the synopsis and hearing friends’ opinions, I knew it would be a good book, but I wasn’t expecting it to be THIS good. As I was finishing it, I was torn between rushing to get to the end and putting the book down because I didn’t want it to be over. SO good!! I will be recommending this book every chance I get. I can’t wait to see what else lies I purchased and read this book for two reasons. 1. It was the June selection for book club, and 2. I wanted to support a hometown author. After reading the synopsis and hearing friends’ opinions, I knew it would be a good book, but I wasn’t expecting it to be THIS good. As I was finishing it, I was torn between rushing to get to the end and putting the book down because I didn’t want it to be over. SO good!! I will be recommending this book every chance I get. I can’t wait to see what else lies ahead for Brooke Lauren Davis!

  7. 5 out of 5

    Katie

    Wow. I could not put this book down. I’ve never read an author that layered characters and story and secrets together so masterfully. It’s a page turner and also one of the most dynamic social commentaries I’ve ever read. This is her debut novel and that’s hard to comprehend.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Kari

    Not your typical YA by any means and I say that with the most positive emphasis. I loved it! This book begins with a sad start and increasingly becomes something of vengeance. And Phoenix is doing it all for her Mom, Nina…who isn’t even her real mom. Nina has had a tough upbringing and some poor choices and a broken heart has led to some unspeakable trauma held in her past that she has vowed to get back at some day. And that someday is now and that someone is Ellis Bowman. So she and Phoenix set Not your typical YA by any means and I say that with the most positive emphasis. I loved it! This book begins with a sad start and increasingly becomes something of vengeance. And Phoenix is doing it all for her Mom, Nina…who isn’t even her real mom. Nina has had a tough upbringing and some poor choices and a broken heart has led to some unspeakable trauma held in her past that she has vowed to get back at some day. And that someday is now and that someone is Ellis Bowman. So she and Phoenix set forth to make him pay for the past. Phoenix just wants love and comfort from Nina but Nina uses it to reward Phoenix for a job well done and a manipulative tool. And so the next thing Phoenix knows, she’s no longer living in the van with her mom but living inside the enemy’s home with his family to get evidence of what was done to her mom. But not everything goes according to plan and Phoenix must ultimately make the decision when she learns the real truths.

  9. 4 out of 5

    MegBethel2

    Set in a small fictional mountain town in Southern Ohio, those from the area (and many small towns in the US) will immediately relate to the citizens and small town dynamic. The story revolves around 16 year old Phoenix, her intense relationship with her mother, and sweet revenge. I loved the writing style, the story was perfectly paced, both fast and slow. There was no detail spared, yet none wasted. I was stuck between not wanting the story to end and rushing to find out what happens. While yo Set in a small fictional mountain town in Southern Ohio, those from the area (and many small towns in the US) will immediately relate to the citizens and small town dynamic. The story revolves around 16 year old Phoenix, her intense relationship with her mother, and sweet revenge. I loved the writing style, the story was perfectly paced, both fast and slow. There was no detail spared, yet none wasted. I was stuck between not wanting the story to end and rushing to find out what happens. While young adult, there is a darkness that is very, very much “adult”. 5/5 stars for sure.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Lindsi (Do You Dog-ear?)

    I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. My thoughts and opinions are my own. Any quotes I use are from an unpublished copy and may not reflect the finished product. I read The Hollow Inside in two days! Do you know how long it's been since I've binged a book? AGES. The twists! The turns! It was a masterfully crafted debut and I'm already looking forward to more from this author. If you enjoy puzzles, definitely add this one to your TBR. I promise you'll be working t I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. My thoughts and opinions are my own. Any quotes I use are from an unpublished copy and may not reflect the finished product. I read The Hollow Inside in two days! Do you know how long it's been since I've binged a book? AGES. The twists! The turns! It was a masterfully crafted debut and I'm already looking forward to more from this author. If you enjoy puzzles, definitely add this one to your TBR. I promise you'll be working to put the pieces together long after you've put together the outline. Phoenix was a wonderfully complex character that I enjoyed reading about. She loves her Mom, but she's also conflicted about some of their choices and the lengths they go to in order to survive. Her mother doesn't seem to be as bothered by the brutality or uncertainty of their lives, but she's also dealing with a past that has haunted her for years. Phoenix frequently finds her mom silent and trapped within the confines of her mind, which leaves her feeling alone and unsure of herself. For so long, the only other person in her world was her mother, so it makes sense that she would be willing to do anything for her. Although, the head games Nina played, and how she used affection like a reward, made it an extremely toxic relationship. Phoenix was frequently surprised by Mrs. Bowman's kindness, and it made my heart hurt for the love she should have gotten from her mother. I both hated and understood Nina's choices. At times they were extreme, but she was so lost in her grief and revenge that she didn't see anything or anyone else. Phoenix was the bright spot in her life, but even that was dulled by her need to make Ellis Bowman confess his sins and tell people the truth. It was sad how much she wanted her father - more than anyone else - to finally believe her, and how much she had to fight for a few words from one man's lips. I hated what had happened to her, but I also disagree with the methods she chose to exact her revenge. Innocent people were hurt, but she was too blinded by her fear and anger to care. My one complaint would be the lack of reparations at the end. Nina and Phoenix fought and sacrificed so much for what they wanted, but then everything was over in a handful of minutes. The entire storyline was focused on getting Ellis to confess (with a few flashbacks thrown in), and then the story stops. There is an ending, and one I definitely think Phoenix deserved, but there were too many loose threads for my liking. I just felt like there was a lot left unsaid. I wanted to know more about specific people and what happened to them. I wanted to see the chaos left in their wake, and how certain events unfolded. 1) The box of trinkets 2) Jameson 3) Melody 4) Nina 5) Ellis 6) Neil 7) Jasper Hollow 8) Phoenix 9) All the illegal stuff they did throughout the book... You might have to suspend some of your disbelief for this book to work, but if you can look past a few cracks, The Hollow Inside will captivate your mind and leave a few bruises on your heart. (★★★★☆) Blog | Instagram | Twitter | Bloglovin' | Amazon | Pinterest

  11. 5 out of 5

    Siofra

    This Book! This book! I literally was spellbound by the intro: poison can be a person. Trigger Warning: Murder, kidnapping, manipulation, abuser, grooming, toxic parent & homophobia. Through this whole book, you get theories and clues that slowly help you piece together what is happening behind the scenes in this town and with this family and Phoenix. Your growing suspicion and doubt about the mom, Nina, is also pulled into question because something about her doesn't seem right, just like how we f This Book! This book! I literally was spellbound by the intro: poison can be a person. Trigger Warning: Murder, kidnapping, manipulation, abuser, grooming, toxic parent & homophobia. Through this whole book, you get theories and clues that slowly help you piece together what is happening behind the scenes in this town and with this family and Phoenix. Your growing suspicion and doubt about the mom, Nina, is also pulled into question because something about her doesn't seem right, just like how we feel about Ellis. This was such a good psychical thriller and really showed a toxic parent relationship where you feel love and hate for them. Also, that plot twist at the end that I wasn't expecting! I am in love with this book, and I can't wait to get my copy on my shelf, instant five stars!

  12. 4 out of 5

    Cassie Thomas

    The Hollow Inside is all about Phoenix and her mother’s relationship and their gypsy life living on the streets and heading to seek out her mother’s revenge, but as the story goes on more truths are uncovered and Phoenix learns some serious hard truths. This is a story that kept me hooked from the get go. Something about it was thriller, adventure, mystery all wrapped up into a ball. I stayed up way too late to finish. This is going to be a book I book talk immediately to those who want a murder The Hollow Inside is all about Phoenix and her mother’s relationship and their gypsy life living on the streets and heading to seek out her mother’s revenge, but as the story goes on more truths are uncovered and Phoenix learns some serious hard truths. This is a story that kept me hooked from the get go. Something about it was thriller, adventure, mystery all wrapped up into a ball. I stayed up way too late to finish. This is going to be a book I book talk immediately to those who want a murder mystery without the gruesome murder side. It’s a YA book, but I could see even mature 6th graders handling it with ease. CW: stealing, trauma, PTSD, anxiety, kidnapping, sexual relation, LGBTQ+, affair

  13. 4 out of 5

    Jasmine Hensley

    I could not put this book down. I had to get answers. I had so many feelings during this book from anger, to sadness, to just wanting to reach in and give Phoenix a hug and as much as I hated Nina at times, she needed a hug too. A book is 5 star worthy when I get up to feed my baby in the middle of the night and continue reading after I put her back to bed because I just have to finish the next chapter!!

  14. 4 out of 5

    Alana

    I have read so many books with mother/daughter relationships being explored, and this one was one of the best. I love how Davis writes, how she creates characters, and the relationship between them. Literally just WOW.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Brenda

    The interaction of Phoenix with her mom and the Bowmans kept my attention; I couldn’t wait to see what would happen and it didn’t disappoint! Brooke’s use of descriptive language let me “see” the places and characters as if I were there! Looking forward to reading more from her in the future!

  16. 5 out of 5

    BunTheDestroyer

    4.5*. Half taken away for rush ending but SUPER good! Went in a direction i didn’t expect at all. Would read more of hers

  17. 4 out of 5

    Ruei (Ruei's Reading Corner)

    Phoenix and her mom have spent many years living on the road, stealing things to get by. When they arrive at Jasper Hollow, Phoenix is tasked by her mom to help get revenge on Ellis Bowman, the person who ruined her mother's life many years before. Everything about Ellis seems completely different from the way he was described to Phoenix. When an opportunity comes for her to enter the Bowman household, she takes it up to carry out their plan. Things on the surface aren't what they seem. Secrets h Phoenix and her mom have spent many years living on the road, stealing things to get by. When they arrive at Jasper Hollow, Phoenix is tasked by her mom to help get revenge on Ellis Bowman, the person who ruined her mother's life many years before. Everything about Ellis seems completely different from the way he was described to Phoenix. When an opportunity comes for her to enter the Bowman household, she takes it up to carry out their plan. Things on the surface aren't what they seem. Secrets hidden from the past will soon be dug up. What is the truth? I liked how there were many layers to the story, each slowly unfolding as the story went on. It alternated between the past and the present, which I thought was a nice touch. The characters grow and you see how they aren't at all perfect as they seem to be. There were many plot twists I didn't see coming and I was very excited to continue reading. The book kept me engaged and it was over before I knew it. Overall, The Hollow Inside was a great story about secrets being revealed after many years. It kept me engaged throughout and I really enjoyed reading it. **Thank you so much to NetGalley and Bloomsbury Publishing for sending me an Advanced Reader's Copy in exchange for an honest review!**

  18. 5 out of 5

    Morgan Laine

    This book was fantastic! It’s one of those books you can’t put down and finish in less than two days!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Tara

    I may be a bit biased since I know the author, but to start off- this YA debut is full of secrets. Phoenix is seventeen and a drifter with her mother, Nina, until Nina decides to return to her hometown of Jasper Hollow and ruin a man named Ellis Bowman. You eventually learn why as the novel progresses, but Phoenix is caught as the scam begins, lies and then ends up in deeper than she ever thought. There’s a lot happening in this book, but it’s written so that it’s balanced versus overwhelming. P I may be a bit biased since I know the author, but to start off- this YA debut is full of secrets. Phoenix is seventeen and a drifter with her mother, Nina, until Nina decides to return to her hometown of Jasper Hollow and ruin a man named Ellis Bowman. You eventually learn why as the novel progresses, but Phoenix is caught as the scam begins, lies and then ends up in deeper than she ever thought. There’s a lot happening in this book, but it’s written so that it’s balanced versus overwhelming. Plus, the town essentially becomes a character that reminds one of a coffee shop scene from Gilmore Girls- everybody wants to know each other’s business, but the secrets are intricate, deep and well hidden.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Donna Lynn

    I LOVED the book!! I couldn’t put it down and then was sad that it ended. I’m looking forward to many more books from this author. The story and the characters were so well written, I’m hoping for a sequel.

  21. 4 out of 5

    CynnieRose

    Harrowing and excellent.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Joanna Bennett

    Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for an earc to read in exchange for a review! What a story this was! The blurb talks about a mom and daughter on a mission for the truth. It also talks about the murkiness of right and wrong. Oh how truly little I knew going into this book and what I would feel! Phoenix and her mom are drifters. They find what they need through stealing or doing odd jobs here and there for people. It is far from a life of luxury but it’s how they have been managing for many Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for an earc to read in exchange for a review! What a story this was! The blurb talks about a mom and daughter on a mission for the truth. It also talks about the murkiness of right and wrong. Oh how truly little I knew going into this book and what I would feel! Phoenix and her mom are drifters. They find what they need through stealing or doing odd jobs here and there for people. It is far from a life of luxury but it’s how they have been managing for many years. Since this is where the story starts, I was hoping to know more about how this came to be and I wasn’t disappointed when it came out. It was shocking and definitely made me wanting to keep reading on. Reading on is what I did even when my eyes were too heavy to stay open as I read this at night. As the plot continues we learn more about the small town of Jasper Hollow and the Bowmen family, especially because that is where Phoenix and her mom find themselves as they plot for the truth to unfold from Nina’s (her mom’s) past. As the talk about Ellis Bowmen continues, it was easy to understand what had happened between them and even though this was the case, it still didn’t stop me from devouring the book. I had to know what would happen next because the book ended up splitting into past and present. When it came to the past, it was hard to read about sometimes because what happened to Nina happens to many girls. It literally crushes them and it’s easy to see the change in Nina. The title is a perfect resemblance of who she became. The present is all about Phoenix and what she is doing to help her mom have the truth come out. (contains content warning) (view spoiler)[If you are curious about the content warning, the plot does deal with sexual assault of a minor since the victim was not old enough to consent and the man is way older. The man is also seen as a good guy who has a great family and goes to church. Everyone took his word for everything and never questioned him. He even blamed his brother for it all. It honestly was sickening. Another content warning is homophobia. It isn’t a big part of the plot but it is there. (hide spoiler)] Even though I guessed two plot twists, I didn’t see the others coming and was caught off-guard! The last 20% had me shocked throughout. After reading the book, it is easy to understand why the blurb had stated murkiness of right and wrong. There are many things that Phoenix and her mom do that obviously were not good things even if the intention of doing good is there. It’s easy to feel bad for them but also question their morals, especially for Phoenix who does question what her mom is doing but also stands by her side no matter what. There is definitely a lot to think about. Overall, this was a really enjoyable read even if the content was hard at times. I still found myself not wanting to put it down. I am looking forward to seeing what else this author will write. Also, if this review doesn’t make sense I am sorry! Haha. It’s better to go in knowing not a lot so it’s hard to write down my feelings properly.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Amber

    It was really good, I was sucked right in the moment I read the blurb. The plot just sounded amazing. I loved how it flipped the timelines so I could actually see what happened with Nina instead of just hearing about it. I was able to guess all of the plot twists, but it was still worth it. Then again, I was mostly only able to guess after reading “Who, if anyone, is telling the truth?” over and over again that it made me trust no one and suspect everyone. 😭 It was amazing read though, loved it a It was really good, I was sucked right in the moment I read the blurb. The plot just sounded amazing. I loved how it flipped the timelines so I could actually see what happened with Nina instead of just hearing about it. I was able to guess all of the plot twists, but it was still worth it. Then again, I was mostly only able to guess after reading “Who, if anyone, is telling the truth?” over and over again that it made me trust no one and suspect everyone. 😭 It was amazing read though, loved it and definitely recommend.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Mary

    Great book! One of those that I don't want to end - but I cant put down either. The amount of "secrets" revealed slowly throughout the book, kept my interest. This is her first novel, but I will keep her in mind when she writes another. Great book! One of those that I don't want to end - but I cant put down either. The amount of "secrets" revealed slowly throughout the book, kept my interest. This is her first novel, but I will keep her in mind when she writes another.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Khanh Linh

    I really enjoyed the LGBTQ+ relationship, the perspectives of a homeless teenager, and the portrayal of the manipulative and toxic mother-daughter in this one, but the ending is rather predictable and underwhelming. The last twist feels especially unearned.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Olivia

    THE HOLLOW INSIDE is a shocking and riveting YA thriller. Phoenix and her mother Nina have been living out of their car around the country, just trying to survive. Someone broke Nina a long time ago, and now they have gone back to Nina's hometown to make him pay and set right the wrongs done to her when she was young. Arriving in the small town of Jasper Hollow, things are not what Phoenix expected. When their plans begin to go awry, Phoenix must think on her feet, and she is soon entwined in th THE HOLLOW INSIDE is a shocking and riveting YA thriller. Phoenix and her mother Nina have been living out of their car around the country, just trying to survive. Someone broke Nina a long time ago, and now they have gone back to Nina's hometown to make him pay and set right the wrongs done to her when she was young. Arriving in the small town of Jasper Hollow, things are not what Phoenix expected. When their plans begin to go awry, Phoenix must think on her feet, and she is soon entwined in the town and with the people who mistreated her mother so long ago. Secrets cannot stay buried, and unexpected truths will be revealed from all sides. Phoenix must figure out who she is and who she wants to be, while balancing the new people she has met and the truths her mother told her long ago. What I loved: This was a surprising and twisty read, and I really did not see all the end reveals coming. This is really a book that keeps the reader on their toes, and I loved seeing both the present, and the interludes from the past, so that we can understand the events that led to Nina becoming who she is. The characters were endlessly fascinating, not only the ones that Phoenix is helping to reveal, such as Ellis, but also the ones she meets along the way, including his family. I found Phoenix really compelling, and I really appreciated getting to know Melody and Jill as well. Nina was a complex character with her own challenges that help to set the stage for the current events, and her past perspective shows how young people can be manipulated and abused by those in power around them. This was a really potent perspective with the shame, self-blame, and powerlessness that people can feel in similar situations. Phoenix also has things to learn about herself and the truths of what she has been told, as her life has been molded by those around her with some parallels to the past. Other themes around appearances vs reality and bullying were also thought-provoking. Celebrities may appear one way when their lives speak another, darker truth. Gaslighting and manipulation abound to make one question oneself and those around them. These themes around appearances and powerful people were intriguing and raised some important questions. In a small town, bullying around LGBT identities and shunning techniques were also conveyed to show the darker side of the seemingly idyllic community. Although a lesser theme, it was also worth the discussion. Final verdict: Riveting, atmospheric, and shocking, THE HOLLOW INSIDE is a fascinating and twisty YA thriller that is sure to leave the reader reeling. This is a really unique story, and I would definitely recommend for people who enjoy thrillers, including books like SADIE, JANE ANNONYMOUS, and THE PROJECT. Please note that I received an ARC from the publisher. All opinions are my own.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Madison

    The Hollow Inside is completely addictive but I also kind of wanted to read it between my fingers while covering my eyes as there is a near constant feeling of impending dread. Revenges, lies, betrayal, longing - a mystery thriller with so much heart. I was so caught up in the world and so torn between waning to rescue Phoenix from the woman she calls mother and rescue Nina, both from herself and from the pain of her past. On one hand I was totally, one hundred percent behind the notion of reveng The Hollow Inside is completely addictive but I also kind of wanted to read it between my fingers while covering my eyes as there is a near constant feeling of impending dread. Revenges, lies, betrayal, longing - a mystery thriller with so much heart. I was so caught up in the world and so torn between waning to rescue Phoenix from the woman she calls mother and rescue Nina, both from herself and from the pain of her past. On one hand I was totally, one hundred percent behind the notion of revenge - make that man hurt, ladies. And on the other it’s so easy to see the hurt and destruction Phoenix has to endure while her mother seeks this revenge. There really isn’t a right answer, yet Phoenix has to chose every single day what her right will be. She longs for her mother to acknowledge her and the sacrifices she is making, yet her mother is constantly upset with her, angry and takes it out on Phoenix. As Phoenix and Nina arrive in Jasper Hollow the truth of what happened there is slowly revealed. Some of this Phoenix discovers as she goes undercover as a sad, homeless girl and finds herself invited to live with the Bowmans. Other, clearer details are revealed through flashbacks to Nina’s childhood. This is what really caught me between wanting a different life for Phoenix and wanting revenge for Nina, as we see the hurt through Nina’s eyes. Does it justify Nina’s actions now or explain them? The reader will have to decide, as does Phoenix. This is a mystery novel that while some of the character already knew what has happened there are other layers to the mystery yet to be revealed. It’s also a story about family and belonging. Phoenix isn’t lured by Elis Bowman’s lies, but she is drawn to his family - son Neil who is a sweetheart, wife Jill who quickly folds Phoenix into her family and offers her a place working at the family restaurant and Melody, who while is frosty to begin with is hiding her own secrets and to whom Phoenix is drawn. The romance was a bit of a surprise, but a really fabulous one. Not going to promise anyone a happy ending and the romance certainly isn’t the focus of the book, but Melody and Phoenix both find a sort of comfort, acceptance and belonging together that makes their connection potent. The Hollow Inside is a beautiful mystery that is driven by relationships and interpersonal emotions, and explores the justification of revenge and the harmful impact of abuse. The publishers provided an advanced readers copy of this book for reviewing purposes. All opinions are my own. Find more reviews, reading age guides, content advisory, and recommendations on my blog Madison's Library

  28. 5 out of 5

    Starr ❇✌❇

    I received an ARC from Edelweiss TW: statutory rape, homophobia, gun violence, fatal car accident, (view spoiler)[kidnapping, implied infanticide (hide spoiler)] 3.8 Phoenix and her mom, Nina, have been together since they fled her father in the middle of the night. They may not b blood related, but Phoenix would do anything for her- and she's willing to prove it. Back in Nina's hometown, she's close to getting the revenge she always hoped for, and Phoenix can be the one to make it happen. Brou I received an ARC from Edelweiss TW: statutory rape, homophobia, gun violence, fatal car accident, (view spoiler)[kidnapping, implied infanticide (hide spoiler)] 3.8 Phoenix and her mom, Nina, have been together since they fled her father in the middle of the night. They may not b blood related, but Phoenix would do anything for her- and she's willing to prove it. Back in Nina's hometown, she's close to getting the revenge she always hoped for, and Phoenix can be the one to make it happen. Brought into the home of the man who ruined Nina's life, it should be simple to break him. But as she finds herself getting to know his family, and the town, Phoenix can't help but wonder if there's more than what Nina's told her. This is an interesting story of sordid town history, golden-boy facades, and near toxic loyalty. I love the way Davis explores the tumultuous relationship between Phoenix and Nina while also making it clear that Phoenix can only ever see it in one way, and uncertain way she takes to the town. While this isn't a story of Phoenix blossoming or coming of age, you still definitely see her take those first steps towards filling out the outline of who she's going to be. There are some really nice explorations in this book. The way the town is both completely different from Nina's past and completely the same in other ways gives the whole story a great backdrop to look at Ellis and question Nina's own past. There's a slow build up to her actual story, and while I was occasionally frustrated about it coming in such small waves, and was placed at times at spots that disrupted the flow, in all I think that decision does really pay off and get you invested in the truth and how the plan will pan out. I do like the layers everyone in this has. While there are definitely character who are bad they aren't only bad. People have more than just one side, and everything is allowed to effect everything else, instead of their stories existing in a vacuum. Things are not cut and dry like they are in plenty of other novels, making it feel a lot more realistic and letting the evolutions in either direction feel organic and compelling. I will say, while the twists and uncovered stories are interesting, the ending disappointed me. I don't see any reason for the character at fault to have taken that step, it feels completely out of the blue beyond one single passing comment. I think it could have been done a lot better, and I'm disappointed that Davis didn't apply her adept as depth and layers in this spot. In fact, this character is the only one who didn't feel like they had more than just one, flat side. I also disliked the way Nina gets dealt with. There are so many glimpses of her being toxic and straight up in the wrong that her relationship with Nina needed a lot more talking out at the very last for it to feel satisfying and not like she was just absolved. All in all, a gripping mystery with a lot of navigating the gray space between right and wrong.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Angel Martin

    First of all, this cover! It's absolutely gorgeous and caught my attention right away. This is a perfect example to excuse judging books by their covers; it had a beautiful cover, and it was a brilliant book. I've had my eye on this one for a while, so I was beyond excited to be accepted on the blog tour for it. It also turns out that the author lives in the same state, which I found exciting as well considering I'm trying to read more books by Kentucky authors. I don't think I've ever read a YA First of all, this cover! It's absolutely gorgeous and caught my attention right away. This is a perfect example to excuse judging books by their covers; it had a beautiful cover, and it was a brilliant book. I've had my eye on this one for a while, so I was beyond excited to be accepted on the blog tour for it. It also turns out that the author lives in the same state, which I found exciting as well considering I'm trying to read more books by Kentucky authors. I don't think I've ever read a YA thriller, as I tend to lean more toward adult ones because those were the first thrillers I ever picked up. I can honestly say that The Hollow Inside had me captivated better than most adult thrillers I've ever read. I could not put this one down, and when I absolutely had to, I couldn't stop talking about it. I'm pretty sure my dad will never have to read this one in order to get the full picture. The concept of this book was fascinating to me. I loved how Davis held off on some key details until the very end as it definitely kept me wanting to keep reading to figure it out. I don't think I guessed any of the twists scattered throughout, which is always refreshing. I absolutely loved the characters. There was so much depth to every single one of them, and I found myself constantly engrossed by their backstories. Nina was such a frustrating character, as I couldn't determine if I felt bad for her or despised her more throughout a majority of the book. The book is told from the present day, through Phoenix's perspective, and alternate chapters telling Nina's backstory, which I loved. You know I love alternating chapters, and I'm always a sucker for chapters that tell stories of two different times. Go read this book; I promise you won't regret it! It was such a promising debut novel, and I cannot wait to read more of Davis's works in the future. Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book via Rockstar Book Tours in exchange for an honest review.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    So I didn't have time to write a review after I finished this book last night but wow. If you are thinking that you aren't much of a YA fan but like a thriller, this is a good book to try. There's a mystery from the past and a reckoning due for wrongs done to Nina Holand, the daughter of a pastor in a small town in Ohio. Nina was betrayed by people she trusted and left town broken. Years later she returns for revenge with help from "Phoenix", her former boyfriend's daughter that she tricked to g So I didn't have time to write a review after I finished this book last night but wow. If you are thinking that you aren't much of a YA fan but like a thriller, this is a good book to try. There's a mystery from the past and a reckoning due for wrongs done to Nina Holand, the daughter of a pastor in a small town in Ohio. Nina was betrayed by people she trusted and left town broken. Years later she returns for revenge with help from "Phoenix", her former boyfriend's daughter that she tricked to go along and leave her life when she was only 9 years old. Now, yes, I know what you're thinking. Nina kidnapped another man's child, but Phoenix had such a connection to her that she didn't feel the trauma that her dad must have felt. They drive around an old van, casing houses & stealing from them and from stores. As Phoenix meets members of the Bowman family, the patriarch Ellis had been responsible for breaking Nina's heart. Phoenix' plan goes awry when she is caught snooping and makes up a pretty convincing story and is invited to stay with the family- Ellis and his wife Jill and their twins Neil and Melody who are 18. Mallory is suspicious of Phoenix at first as Ellis is some kind of self help writer who is well known, but Phoenix has to bluff her way in due to limited education and internet access. While Phoenix goes along with Nina's plan to spook Ellis into a confession, Phoenix gets closer to Melody. She has to decide what's more important- her burgeoning feelings for Melody or her 'mom' who has determined to get revenge. The flashbacks explain what happened between Nina, underage and married older Ellis. TW for statutory rape, kidnapping.

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