Liz knew she was dreaming, although this brought little comfort as the blood ran down her face. It rushed up her nostrils and caught in the back of her throat. The metallic taste choked her, panic creeping in.
Liz has been having recurring nightmares. When she moves away from Wales to escape bullying, she finds the place of her dreams of the edge of Hollow Pike. She brushes the thought off as coincidence, after all, aren’t all woods pretty much the same? Yet the history of Hollow Pike is rife with Pagan rituals and witch hunts, could there be any truth in the silly superstitions of the townsfolk?
Immediately Liz falls in with the popular crowd at school although she is drawn to the “freaks”. Soon enough, she’s the victim of bullying again but there’s something much more sinister going on. Are her new friends hiding something? Is witchcraft really being practised in this Yorkshire town? Is she even safe?
It’s a creepy and tense story with a dash of paranoia. It’s not a new-girl-at-school-learns-magic sort of plot but one on the edge of being perfectly believable. I’ve also come to the conclusion that I much prefer British young adult writing, these teenagers actually seem a lot like the teenager I remember being as well as the ones I overhear talking on the bus. They’re not mature and sensible. They are bitchy, get drunk and obsess about what other people think.
I keep reading books at the moment that remind me of films and I generally don’t like comparing the two but this did make me think of Heathers now and then. Overall Hollow Pike is a solid début novel from ex-teacher James Dawson. If anything, teenagers might just learn that teachers are paying attention.