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Stephanie Parent, Reader and Writer

Stephanie Parent is a graduate of the Master of Professional Writing program at USC and attended the Baltimore School for the Arts as a piano major. She moved to Los Angeles because of Francesca Lia Block's WEETZIE BAT books, which might give you some idea of how much books mean to her. She also loves dogs, books about dogs, and sugary coffee drinks both hot and cold.

Hell's Hollow

Hell's Hollow - Summer Stone Even though I love to read, I’m a slow reader and often have a hard time getting into books…so when I find a book where the words just flow and pull me along so it feels like reading is no effort at all, I always sit up and take notice. And Hell’s Hollow by Summer Stone was definitely one of those books for me! From the first page, the writing drew me into this slightly magical, beautiful but dark world full of compelling characters. I knew right away that, along with the protagonist Sera, I was going to fall in love with haunted, mysterious lost boy Zach—and I did!I know a lot of readers are tired of YA paranormals that all seem the same, but I would encourage those readers to take a chance on Hell’s Hollow, because this novel really doesn’t read like a typical YA paranormal at all. One of my favorite things about the book was the way the town of Hell’s Hollow, the mythology and secrets behind it, and the characters living there were all so well developed, and the way these elements intertwined to create the story and world. In this way, the novel actually reminded me a bit of the magical realist works of Alice Hoffman and Sarah Addison Allen, which are also often set in small towns with rich, unusual secondary characters and a touch of magic.I also appreciated that Sera was a strong, intelligent main character and that the romance in the novel wasn’t too exaggerated or overwhelming. Sera and Zach both had isolated upbringings without a lot of contact with others their own age, so once they connected, their developing friendship was just as important as their romantic feelings. I found this very refreshing, and it helped the author avoid that over-the-top focus on love in so many YA paranormals. Most of all, I loved Zach, not just as a romantic lead but as a person. The more I learned about his very sad past, the more I cared about him. Finally, I also liked the complex but ultimately strong relationships between the different generations of women in Sera’s family.I think fans of Alice Hoffman and Sarah Addison Allen will really like this book. I’d love to read more about these characters and the world of Hell’s Hollow, and whether it’s that or something completely different, I’m eager to see what Summer Stone writes next!