As the Fall Favorite Things Blog Tour Continues, tomorrow will mark the release of Lorie Langdon’s Gilt Hollow. You know what that means. Review time ladies and gents!
Release Date 9/27/16
By Lorie Langdon
Genre: YA Mystery
Goodreads Book Blurb:
Willow Lamott’s best friend is a murderer, and no one in the small town of Gilt Hollow will let her forget it. For four long years, she’s tried to fade into the background—but none of that matters when Ashton Keller comes striding into school, fresh out of juvie and fueled by revenge. The moment their eyes meet, Willow no longer feels invisible. Drawn to the vulnerability behind Ashton’s mask of rage, she sinks deeper into his sinister world and begins to question whether he’s a villain, a savior, or both.
Ashton thought he wanted vengeance, until Willow reminded him what he’d been missing. Now he longs to clear his name and become the person she sees in him. But the closer they get to uncovering the truth, the darker the secrets become, and Ashton fears his return to Gilt Hollow will destroy everyone he loves, especially the girl he left behind.
I am going to admit that I was hesitant to begin Gilt Hollow. It sat for several days on my side table before I even picked it up. It really was not personal, but I have had a horrible run with YA mystery and thriller titles in general as of late. The premise was interesting and the cover was nice, but I was just so afraid of this book. Biased? Yes. I had recently decided I was done with mystery for a while. If you review several titles in a genre and notice a pattern of disappointment, maybe it is time to move away. It seems unfair to continually review books that are clearly not working for me. If you write mystery, you want someone who enjoys mystery to review you work. At least, I imagine that would be the case. Thankfully, Gilt Hollow was staring at me daily, taunting me, and I decided to give in. Everything about this story comes together in such a cohesive and solid manner.
Gilt Hollow centers around two teenagers, Ashton and Willow. They have been friends for over half of their lives, as Willow’s parents stepped in and filled the gap that Ashton’s parent’s left. When Ashton is convicted of manslaughter and ripped out of Willow’s life for 4 years, she is left behind to attempt a normal life without her best friend. But she finds life is anything by “normal”. Her only option is to withdraw into the background and avoid as much attention as possible. She has but one friend. After all, it isn’t easy being the best friend of a murderer. Especially when you defended that friend to the very end. There is just a certain amount of realism happening here that can be greatly appreciated.
Willow is credible and refreshing as a female protagonist. She is high school student, that loves her family, longs for a lost friendship and wants to stay out of the spotlight. She is not super human, she is not perfect. There is no play on how amazingly beautiful or popular she is. Willow is not a hero. What she is, is a young girl who finds herself confused and desperate to help when her lost friend returns. Normal teenager with a big heart and a lot of loyalty, and I loved her for this very reason!
Ashton is full angst and aggression. He spent 4 years of his life locked away for a crime he claims he did not commit. He wants to clear his name. But he quickly learns he is rejected by his peers and scrutinized by Gilt Hollow, the only home he has ever known. He makes bad decisions and leaves a lot to question, but he struggles with his desire to protect Willow. This is not your typical “captain cool” scenario. This kid is messed up, rightfully so. And I am so thankful for that.
Supporting characters mainly consist of high school students and a local sheriff. So you get some drama, ok a lot of drama (but the entertaining kind) and a ton of finger-pointing. It all works. I couldn’t get enough of these brats.
The setting for Gilt Hollow is a simple town with a bit of a relaxed feel. I was picking up on the whole hipster vibe. Well aside from all of that who murdered who stuff. The author has done an extraordinary job of constructing an ordinary environment. There really is not a lot that stands out here, and I think that is exactly what makes it work. Gilt Hollow feels as real as any other town holding true to the credibility of the characters and story.
This is a steady paced read that you find yourself so easily absorbed in that it is over before it begins. The writing style is concise and to the point. There are no flowery details or unnecessary time “fillers”. Each page turns itself. Ashton and Willow’s story is the main and only focus here, and I could not wait to see how they faired. There is a touch of romance, that occurs slowly and beautifully. If I am okay with the romance, trust me, it works 😉 I was pleasantly surprised by how well everything was falling into place, yet the mystery was maintained up until the very final chapters. I just wanted, no needed, to know the truth. Who did it?!
Gilt Hollow has redeemed YA Mystery as far as I am concerned. What had the potential to be a run of the mill story, unfolded into a welcoming and refreshing page turner. I want this one to be made into a show or a movie so badly! I do not even care that I know how it ends. Loved the characters and the entire plot! I am only deducting one star because I felt like the ending was abrupt. I was expecting just a little more. Then again, maybe I was being selfish. 4 stars for days ❤
⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
About The Author
You may recognize Lorie’s name as the co-author of the bestselling Doon series, which is a reimaging of the musical Brigadoon. A few years ago, Lorie left her corporate career to become a full-time author and stay-at-home mom. She now spends her days dodging automatic water-gun fire and trying to translate her effusive imagination to paper. Gilt Hollow is her first solo novel.
Follow Lorie on Twitter @LorieLangdon