Clementine DeVore spent ten years trapped in a cellar, pinned down by willow roots, silenced and forgotten.
Now she’s out and determined to uncover who put her in that cellar and why.
When Clementine was a child, dangerous and inexplicable things started happening in New South Bend. The townsfolk blamed the fiendish people out in the Willows and burned their homes to the ground. But magic kept Clementine alive, walled up in the cellar for ten years, until a boy named Fisher sets her free. Back in the world, Clementine sets out to discover what happened all those years ago. But the truth gets muddled in her dangerous attraction to Fisher, the politics of New South Bend, and the Hollow, a fickle and terrifying place that seems increasingly temperamental ever since Clementine reemerged.
I so love this author. She writes so beautifully, I swear I just see things differently after reading one of her books. Lovely. All of Yovanoff's books are deliciously creepy. I mean, we first meet our heroine in an abandoned cellar of a burned-down house where she has been buried and forgotten for ten years. Well, how it that possible, you say? Magic and witchcraft and all things bizarre and strange.
One thing I love about Yovanoff's writing is that she pulls you into the story so well. You don't know what's going on, you don't know what these weird creatures are, you don't even really know where this story is set; But you want to know. And the way she reveals information is so natural and so vague that you wonder if you really learned anything at all. There is no information dump. She doesn't assume that the reader is an idiot and needs everything explained to death and after a few too many info-dump books that is so refreshing. I don't really know what fiends are or what Clementine and her friends were but I'm not too bothered by the fact that I don't know. I just want to read more by Brenna Yovanoff.
This book was set in an undisclosed area in the south. Which I loved. Being from the south, reading this just felt like going home. Either Yovanoff lived there at some point or she's amazingly talented with research. I flipped back to the bio a couple of times to make sure she was actually from Chicago because she portrayed the south and southern people so well. I loved the voice and feel of the book. Dialogue was so well done, I could hear these people talking in their colloquial way. So well done.
The characters: Clementine is our protagonist that's buried and hidden away for 10 years. I just loved her. I love all Yovanoff's characters. In every book her main character is a quiet, tortured but just all-around good soul. Clementine has this sweetness and innocence and goodness that comes across in everything she does.
Shiny, Clementine's cousin, is a loud, tortured and intense soul. She was really fun to read just because I've known that girl who gets spit-fire mad at the drop of a hat and is beautiful but scary. She was believable. In fact, that's another thing I love about Yovanoff's writing: All her characters are so believable. They don't always act the way you want them to or in an ideal-YA-fiction type of way but that just makes them more believable. Take Fisher, Clementine's love interest: He almost never acted the way you would expect a boy in a YA novel to act. Sometimes he was just plain mean. But the way he acted felt so real. People aren't perfect and it's refreshing to read a book where people act like people and not fiction-perfected glossy versions of real people. I loved the realness of characters, the believability. But it's done in such a way that it's not completely depressing. While still being mildly creepy.
I guess that's all I really have to say about this book. It's pretty. It's creepy. It's real. But it's also complete fantasy. I loved it. Yes, more things could have been explained. Yes, some characters were meaner than they probably needed to be but it felt all the more real for it. And I loved the realness more than anything else. Except for maybe Yovanoff's beautiful writing style. So lovely. I can't wait to read more of her work.
Sexual Content: Mild