Arc Review: The Hollow Inside by Brooke Lauren Davis

Title: The Hollow Inside
Author: Brooke Lauren Davis
Genre: YA Contemporary / Thriller
Publication Date: May 25th, 2021
Publisher: Bloomsbury YA

Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for an earc to read in exchange for a review!

A gripping, twisty, thought-provoking YA debut about a girl caught in a web of betrayal and revenge, for fans of Sadie.

Phoenix and mom Nina have spent years on the road, using their charm and wits 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.

After Phoenix gets caught spying, she spins a convincing story that inadvertently gives her full access to the Bowman family. As she digs deeper into their secrets, 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. Who, if anyone, is telling the whole truth?

Debut author Brooke Lauren Davis explores the murkiness of right and wrong, of choices and consequences and heroes and villains, in an eerily compelling and wholly satisfying small-town saga.” (Goodreads)

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.

*Spoiler (contains content warning)*

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.

*End of Spoilers*

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.

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