A magic Polaroid camera spreads the pain of a traumatized teenage girl in this absorbing young adult fantasy from Rhonda Parrish.
Morgan has just experienced the most traumatic year of her life, and she isn’t coping well. Neither is her family, who have their own portion of grief and suffering to bear.
Hollowed out from the inside by her pain, Morgan sneaks into the abandoned, haunted hospital across from her house and discovers an old Polaroid camera. However, when the subjects of her photographs start changing, Morgan has to face her pain in order to set them free.
Parrish crafts this story with great sensitivity and compassion to her characters. I was particularly drawn to Morgan’s younger sister, Amy. I was once that little girl, forced to grow up because those around me were too preoccupied by their own pain in a time of crisis, and the depiction of Amy was so accurate that it made me wonder if the author had worked some magic to harvest my memories.
The revelation of Morgan’s trauma is excellently paced. As her past shambles unflinchingly after her, I was both eager to discover the truth, and encouraging her to continue to run in avoidance of the pain.
Unfortunately the paranormal element didn’t quite live up to the humanity of the characters and the panoply of pain contained within the novel. I loved the symbolism of the magpie, and haunted hospitals are always interesting, but the Polaroid camera seemed a little too twilight zone to me, which jarred with the complexity of the characters and the raw truth of their lives.
The ending also felt somewhat rushed, but perhaps this is because I was reluctant to let Morgan go and wanted to stay with her for another couple of hundred pages or so.
I highly recommend this novel.
I award Hollow…
Hollow is available for $3.81 ebook and $13.95 print book on Amazon.
I received a free copy from Booksprout in return for an honest review.
Read my review of F is for Fairy, an anthology of fantasy short stories, edited by Rhonda Parrish.