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The Hollow    by Jessica Verday order for
by Jessica Verday
Order:  USA  Can
Simon & Schuster, 2010 (2009)
Hardcover, Paperback, CD, e-Book

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* *   Reviewed by Lyn Seippel

Sixteen-year-old Abigail Browning, known as Abbey, is mourning the loss of her best friend. Kristen Maxwell drowned when she fell into the river in their home town of Sleepy Hollow. The book opens with Kristen's funeral, even though her body has not yet been found.

Although she thought she knew everything about her friend, Abbey meets two strangers at Kristen's funeral. The first young man is Caspian who says he's 'there for her' instead of being there to mourn Kristen whom he didn't know. This is puzzling, but Abbey is stunned by Caspian's unusual good looks and hopes she will see him again. The second is Ben, a classmate Abbey hardly noticed. He seems to know a lot about Kristen, but Kristen never mentioned him to Abbey.

When Mrs. Maxwell suggests Abbey take a memento from Kristen's room, Abbey finds out that Kristen kept two diaries. One is about ordinary everyday happenings. The other is dedicated to D, someone Kristen has been seeing. The girl Abbey thought she knew so well kept a lot of secrets from her best friend. Even more disturbing is that one of those secrets may have led to her death.

Sleepy Hollow makes a great setting for this paranormal romance. Abbey and Kristen have always been fascinated by the local history. Their favorite place to play has been the cemetery where Washington Irving is buried. Kristen's drowning took place in a nearby river.

Although the middle gets a little slow, Verday holds the reader's attention because there are so many questions still to be answered. Who is Caspian and who is D? Why does Ben know so much about Kristen when she never mentioned him to Abbey? The Hollow is the first book of a trilogy. Though it works well as a spooky romance for younger teens, their elders may find it lacking.

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