Hi guys! I’m so backed up with reviews lately since I’ve read more books and written more reviews than I can post! I’m so glad that I’m able to have the opportunity to post them! Today’s book review is on 14 Hollow Road by Jenn Bishop. I had Jenn on the blog a few months ago, in which you can find the link here, and she sent me a copy of her latest book to review, also. I’m so glad she did because I loved it, and you can see why below!
About the Book
The night of the sixth-grade dance is supposed to be perfect for Maddie; she’ll wear her beautiful new dress, she’ll hit the dance floor with her friends, and her crush, Avery, will ask her to dance. Most importantly, she’ll finally leave her tiny elementary school behind for junior high. But as the first slow song starts to play, her plans crumble. Avery asks someone else to dance instead–and then the power goes out. Huddled in the gym, Maddie and her friends are stunned to hear that a tornado has ripped through the other side of town, destroying both Maddie’s and Avery’s homes.
Kind neighbors open up their home to Maddie’s and Avery’s families, which both excites and horrifies Maddie. Sharing the same house . . . with Avery? For the entire summer? While it buys her some time to prove that Avery made the wrong choice at the dance, it also means he’ll be there to witness her morning breath and her annoying little brother. Meanwhile, she must search for her beloved dog, who went missing during the tornado. At the dance, all she wanted was to be more grown-up. Now that she has no choice, is she ready for it?
Disclaimer: I received a free signed copy of this book (and some extra swag) in exchange for an honest review. This will not affect my review at all.
I did not expect 14 Hollow Road to be this amazing of a book. You normally think with MG books that they should be light and fluffy, like a YA summer contemporary novel, but not in this case. This book defies all those stereotypes, and it will stand out as one of my favorite, if not my favorite, middle grade read of 2017. I just couldn’t put it down, and it was so beautiful. I mean it, it was amazingly beautiful. *cue single teardrop* If I had to create a lesson for elementary school students (like in 4th to 8th grade), I would get them to read this book. This is a book that adults, young adults, and children should read because it truly has the potential to change your view on disasters and those affected.
I have never read an MG book in my entire life that has so much power and depth and emotion as 14 Hollow Road. This novel, written for children a few years younger than me, had me on the verge of tears. Bishop’s vivid imagery and powerful prose transported you in Maddie’s shoes as she sees the devastation the tornado had on her home and her neighborhood, how it changed her life forever. I could truly feel the sadness that struck Maddie at various times during her summer after the tornado the night of her 6th grade dance. I was so stunned at how deep the author dug into the protagonist’s feelings and emotions and into a serious topic for middle grade readers (natural disasters). It truly is one of the most well-crafted books I have read this year!
I truly could relate to Maddie in so many of her emotions and what she had to go through, and I think people both of young and old can also connect with her well. Because you can really feel what Maddie is going through, you can easily go “I know how you feel.” Although I haven’t undergone everything Maddie went through, I could connect with her when she feels like she’s losing her best friend, or when she lost something or someone that’s very dear to her, or when it truly feels like the end of the world and she doesn’t know what to do. She’s one of the most unique and relatable narrators I have ever read in a book, and she’s just so lovable. You can truly feel how her childlike innocence quickly clashed with the harsh reality of the world. You can truly see how her viewpoint of the world and the people around her has changed. You can truly see how she wants to hold on to a sliver of hope, but she doesn’t at the same time. It’s so spectacular and breathtaking.
This is going to be one of my go-to recommendations now. If someone asks, “What’s a good read for my child?” I’m going to go “Read 14 Hollow Road by Jenn Bishop because it so amazing and there’s a good chance you might cry.” For a middle grade read, it definitely blew me away and exceeded all my expectations. It surprised me in so many ways, especially at how much depth and emotion is put into the this book, and I loved each and every second of reading now. Jenn Bishop is now an author that I’m putting on my radar, and I am looking forward to what she has in store next. She truly has an amazing gift of writing books that will change the perception of readers and that break your heart over and over again. This truly is one of the best middle grade fictional reads I have ever read!
Some of My Favorite Quotes: “That’s when it really hits me: everything is gone. Today we’re going to find all that’s left, and that’s it. That’s all we have of everything we used to have. Only what we find today.”
“You know, when I get mad or frustrated about everything that happened, I try to remember that the tornado didn’t get me. It just got my house. I’m still here.”
“I didn’t realize. I didn’t realize how much these little things matter. My mom- she was so sad when she couldn’t find this stuff. There’s so much more, thought. I know it’s lost. This could be all she has left. This and their wedding album.”
About the Author
Jenn Bishop is a former youth services and teen librarian. She is a graduate of the University of Chicago, where she studied English, and Vermont College of Fine Arts, where she received her MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults. She roots for the Red Sox from her new home city of Cincinnati. Her debut novel, The Distance To Home, is published by Alfred A. Knopf, an imprint of Penguin Random House.
Do you have any thoughts or questions?
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