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note to self: i’ll be there for you, always

written june 6, 2021. Photo by Kristine Cinate on Unsplash I have always looked for myself in other people. I think the idea was that they would somehow hold the pieces of me that I felt were missing. That maybe, if I wrapped my identity up in theirs enough, we would somehow make a whole person. It's not healthy to live like this, but I did it anyway — burning through relationships and searching for something I couldn't quite name. It was never enough, not to be myself, but it was never enough to latch my identity to other people, either. I got close, several times — I thought I had reached the pinnacle of self discovery. I thought I had completed myself. But in the end, relying on other people to help build yourself is never a viable way to do things. It's only recently that I've started to become comfortable with the idea of being enough, as I am, on my own. Several years ago, in this same position, I would have searched for another person to attach my identity onto,

Book Review: Gilt Hollow by Lorie Langdon

Willow Lamott's best friend is a convicted killer, and no one in the small town of Gilt Hollow will let her forget it. Over 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 Lamott stepped back into his life. 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 wonders if his return to Gilt Hollow will destroy everyone he loves.

My Thoughts:

Gilt Hollow is a solid mystery novel with a compelling plot line full of intrigue. My favorite part is that it revolves around the life of Ashton after he's released from juvie, which is a plot line I can't say I've read before. Not only that, but Ashton believes he was wrongfully convicted. However, his possible crime and his stint in jail have burned a lot of bridges, particularly with his best friend Willow. Well, ex-best friend. With years of miscommunication behind them, Willow and Ashton have a story filled with angst, feels, and mystery-solving. Gilt Hollow blends mystery and romance into a seamless Young Adult debut.

What else you can expect:

  • A well-written, eerie vibe. This book takes place around Halloween, and you can definitely tell from the atmosphere and setting. This book is a good book to read in October especially!
  • Questions. You will be curious from the start about whether Ashton is innocent.
  • Relationship angst: Ashton and Willow don't have an easy journey, and their ups-and-downs as they reconnect are fascinating to read.
  • An exciting ending. The climax of the novel takes place as a Halloween party, complete with costumes and everything, which was the perfect thing to cap off an already eerily exciting novel.
  • Harry Potter references. As a recent convert to the Harry Potter fandom, I loved the references to our favorite wizards.
My only problems were that the cover made me think it would be a bit more of a disturbing thriller rather than a slow-paced mystery, but I think that was my fault for projecting my expectations onto the novel. It also wasn't as gritty as I was expecting (but that's totally on me because I'm too used to more "adult" themed mysteries). The pacing was a little slow, and at times it was hard to get into the book, but I think that's my own personal fault, not the fault of the author. Ultimately, all of my issues with the book boil down to me having different expectations for the book, which is my problem. And in the end, I'm not disappointed at all that I read Gilt Hollow. It was a super entertaining read.

I would recommend this book to: young teens who want a clean yet intriguing and slightly creepy mystery to read. Gilt Hollow is a relatively clean book and manages to be unnerving without being overwhelming.

All in all, Gilt Hollow is an intriguing, atmospheric read and will keep you guessing till the very end with many lovable characters and unexpected plot twists along the way.

About the Author: Lorie Langdon has over ten years of experience writing online and advertising for a Fortune 500 company, and left her thriving corporate career to satisfy the voices in her head. Now as a full-time author and stay-at-home mom, she spends her summers editing poolside while dodging automatic water-gun fire, and the rest of the year tucked into her cozy office, Havanese puppy by her side, working to translate her effusive imagination into the written word. Lorie is one-half of the author team that writes the popular DOON series, a YA reimagining of the musical BrigadoonGilt Hollow is her first solo novel.

 Many thanks to NetGalley and Zonderkidz for providing me with a copy of this book.


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