House of Hollow

Krystal Sutherland

House of Hollow
Penguin Books Australia
30 March 2021

House of Hollow

Krystal Sutherland

Iris Hollow and her two older sisters are unquestionably strange.

Ever since they disappeared on a suburban street in Scotland as children only to return a month a later with no memory of what happened to them, odd, eerie occurrences seem to follow in their wake. And they’re changing. First, their dark hair turned white. Then, their blue eyes slowly turned black. They have insatiable appetites yet never gain weight. People find them disturbingly intoxicating, unbearably beautiful and inexplicably dangerous.

Now, ten years later, seventeen-year-old Iris Hollow is doing all she can to fit in and graduate high school - something her two famously glamorous globe-trotting older sisters, Grey and Vivi, never managed to do. But when Grey goes missing, leaving behind only bizarre clues, Iris and Vivi are left to trace her last few days. They aren’t the only ones looking for her.

As they brush against the supernatural, they realise that the story they’ve been told about their past is unravelling and the world that returned them seemingly unharmed ten years ago, might just be calling them home.

Krystal Sutherland’s latest novel is a dark and twisty modern-day fairytale that expertly melds the fantastical with the real as the Hollow sisters discover just how much horror can lie beneath the surface.


The third novel from Australian Krystal Sutherland is a gothic horror story about a trio of sisters that is delightfully scary to read. The Hollow sisters – Grey, Vivi and Iris – are survivors of a mysterious kidnapping that occurred when they were kids. One minute they were on a Scottish street with their parents; the next moment they were gone. They reappeared on the same street a month later, with absolutely no memories, black irises and white hair. Ten years later, the eldest of the sisters, Grey, now an internationally famous model and fashion designer, has again disappeared.

Written from the perspective of Iris, the youngest, as she and Vivi try to discover what happened to Grey, the narrative is creepy and compelling. I have rarely read a book so infused with scents – rotting, noxious and gut wrenching – they practically ooze from the page. Flowers growing where they shouldn’t – out of bodies, walls and cavities – add to the novel’s spooky vibe.

This is not only a contemporary twisted fairytale; it is also an evocative rendering of the bonds of sisterhood: the almost instinctive telepathy that can sometimes occur between sisters, and the lengths they will go to protect and keep one another safe. Sutherland’s first novel, Our Chemical Hearts, was shortlisted for the Readings YA Prize and has now been made into a Netflix movie. House of Hollow is even more exceptional storytelling by Sutherland that is bound to receive critical praise as well as commercial success. Outstanding reading for ages 13+.

Angela Crocombe is the manager of Readings Kids.

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