The Hollow Inside
Brooke Lauren Davis
Published May 25, 2021
About The Hollow Inside
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?
So much happens in this book. Every time I felt like I knew what was going to happen, new things surfaced and I had to recalculate my predictions. I wasn’t sure at first that I’d like Phoenix. She seemed like a really hard person at the beginning, but it wasn’t long before I started to see how much she was fighting to keep her world together and how much she wanted to be a good person.
I liked the way THE HOLLOW INSIDE is set in this small town with these larger-than-life personalities: the bestselling author and town hero; the fire and brimstone preacher who just might have a soft heart underneath his judgmental, controlling exterior; the snarky, outsider daughter and her loveable, sweet brother. It was easy to picture them in the little town sprawling out from a roundabout with a huge tree at its center.
You’ve probably already guessed that this is a pretty dark, angsty story. And it is! It’s suspenseful and twisty. Phoenix finds herself caught in a tug-of-war between uncovering the truth and delivering revenge. For the most part, I got completely swept up in the drama and emotions of the story.
In one part, though, a character does something drastic really publicly and says he has to do it because he has to silence someone. I was kind of confused because, like, that scene happened in public? I couldn’t see how his decision would actually do anything but create a bigger mess, so I didn’t understand why he did what he did. I guess it was really supposed to be a desperate move and maybe he was supposed to be pushed so far he wasn’t thinking clearly. I’m not sure. I liked the rest of the story well enough that I really just rolled with that scene and moved on to what came next.
Recommended for Ages 14 up.
Phoenix is a lesbian. Another character is also a lesbian.
Profanity/Crude Language Content
Extreme profanity used infrequently.
Kissing and making out between two girls.
Flashbacks imply that a man and a sixteen year old girl have a sexual relationship. A later scene implies that he may have had other similar encounters and in fact be a sexual predator? That question doesn’t really get pursued in the story.
The story features a small town with a strong connection to a Christian church. Some scenes reference church services and prayer. Phoenix herself doesn’t share in their faith.
It’s implied that a man hit a woman, but it happens off-scene. Phoenix hits a man and knocks him unconscious after getting caught robbing his house.
Some homophobic comments about a girl in town who was caught kissing another girl.
A car accident kills a teenage boy who was perhaps crossing the street. Another car accident kills a man when his car goes off road and down the mountainside. A sign falls, nearly injuring someone. An object smashes through a window, spraying a family with glass. A man with a severe allergy is stung by bees multiple times.
A person with a gun confronts a crowd. Someone in the crowd is shot.
One minor character has a drinking problem and is drunk in multiple scenes. Phoenix and her friends drink wine at a dinner party.
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