Thank you NetGalley and Tyche Books for this ARC. All thoughts and opinions are mine.
Synopsis: A car accident shattered sixteen-year-old Morgan's family. Now her brother’s dead, her mom's paralyzed in more ways than one, her dad lives at work and her seven-year-old sister Amy tries too freaking hard to salvage everything. What’s more, high school is its own special kind of hell, where her ex-boyfriend delights in spreading rumors that shred her reputation and make her feel like a loser.
When she finds an old camera in a creepy abandoned hospital, it seems like her luck is finally changing. And it is changing--from bad to worse. Because of course it is. Each time Morgan photographs one of her classmates they become corrupted versions of themselves. It's like the camera steals their goodness, their essence, and leaves them hollow.
Then her sister uses the camera to take a selfie.
No matter what the cost, Morgan will find a way to reverse the effects of the cursed camera and save Amy, before her already-fractured family completely self-destructs. (Amazon)
Publication Date: March 24, 2020
Genre: Horror / YA
Rating: 2 stars
***BEWARE POSSIBLE SPOILERS***
At the center of Hollow is Morgan, our lead and the character through the eyes of which we witness the story unfold. After the death of her little brother, Aric, in a car accident where she, her mother and younger sister were also participants, Morgan copes with not only the deep depression that stems out of this traumatizing experience and the strenuous relationship she now has with her mother. But she also has to deal with the assault that she went through at the hands of her ex-boyfriend not long after said accident.
For those who may feel triggered by stories in which rape is a component, please tread with care before picking up this book.
While Hollow is presented as a horror book, there is very little to define this story as such. Other than the creepy presence of an abandoned hospital near Morgan and Sevren's house (her best friend) and it history, little else happens in this book to portray it as such.
The camera that she finds in this hospital, which begins to negatively affect those photographed, is a rather vague part of this story. We never find out where the camera comes from, why Morgan was meant to find it, or what its origin is. There is a “portal” through which Morgan enters that allows her to travel through the different limbo-like lands that hold the “good” parts of the individuals whose pictures she took, and while these moments are tense, they still don't shed a lot of light.
The book is very short, which makes it a very quick read, but it also means that there is not a lot of room for in-depth development. Not only is the camera one of the things that I wanted to know more about, but I was expecting more suspense in-story as a result of the characters that are photographed with it and how twisted their personalities appeared to become. And I would have liked to know what becomes of them after the camera was destroyed.
Morgan's depression, however, is well portrayed not only internally but in the way that she relates to those around her. Especially with her mom, the person that she seems to have the most rocky of relationships post-accident. Sevren's and her friendship is a nice boon—as usually is the case whenever we have a best friends' dynamic in a novel—and the magpie psychopomp was quite adorable.
I would have loved for there to be more story, more details, more exploration into the hospital and a way to bring that out into the present day of the plot so that it could connect with everyone in it and expand it. It would have certainly added that creepy kick that the premise promised.