Yesterday you were able to read an interview with Julianna Scott, author of The Holders. I was lucky enough to read it early and I must say I was pleasantly surprised!
Becca has spent the past years watching over her younger brother Ryland, who hears voices. Every time she and her mother managed to scare away experts and doctors who wanted to take him. Until one day two men show up, claiming to know what's wrong with Ryland. He is a gifted Holder and belongs at St Brigid's School in Ireland, with his own kind. This time, their mother thinks it's best they let Ryland go. Becca is torn, but agrees on one condition: she gets to accompany him. In Ireland Becca discovers more and more about the secret world of the Holders and that she may not be as normal as she thought she was...
The Holders is Julianna Scott's first YA novel and I must say I really enjoyed it. Scott has created a magical community within our normal world. We learn about The Holders through Becca's eyes: their history and their present. Slowly we learn more and more details, although there are still questions to be answered in the sequel.
The plot is predictable though. There were some twists, but it was perfectly clear where the story was going.
Still, Scott's writing style was very enjoyable and the story flowed well. The only thing that irked me a little was how descriptive Becca was. She tells a lot, which is understandable as she is the novel's narrator, but I would have liked to see more dialogue.
The characters are well-build and mostly realistic.
Becca, of course, our protagonist and heroine. She is loyal, protective and rather fierce. Her personality has She is apparently also very smart, but tends to react before thinking. She'd do anything to keep Ryland safe, which is exactly what she has done the past years. Her pain is almost tangible when she realises Ryland does not need her for the first time in his life. At St Brigid's she has real friends, which is new for her, and finally learns to trust others.
Alex is a bit too perfect - even after a terrible youth he is still the incarnation of kindness, loyalty, humour, and well, he's attractive. That did not take away his likeabilty though. I couldn't help smiling, and crying too, for him. His feelings for Becca are painfully obvious to everyone but her and I liked the way their relationship was handled.
In this first book, a lot of supporting characters are introduced. They all have their own story and are all necessary for the story. Bubbly Chloe, the always bickering Anderson and Reid, the knowing Min, younger brother Ryland and long-lost father Jocelyn. One character we are not yet introduced to is Daraagh, our villain. He is only briefly mentioned, yet I am sure he will make a grand entree in the next installment.
The Holders is an enticing mix of an ancient legend, Irish countryside and interesting characters. Definitely a promising start to a brand new YA series!
My rating of this book
A digital ARC was kindly provided to me by Strange Chemistry in exchange for an honest review.
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