House of Hollow by Krystal Sutherland
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+.