So with the reviews trickling in, and I know people are finishing Hollowstone, I’m thinking of doing a Q&A session (which will be behind a cut for spoilers) where you all can ask me all the questions you’ve been dying to ask. What’s my writing process, who inspired this character, what in the hell were you thinking writing this monstrosity? So if you have questions, PM me and I can gather a list.
And speaking of reviews, I’ve got a great one from Javan Nelums:
This is my first YA (young adult) book review, and I’m writing a review for Hollowstone. This story is written by Dennis Upkins. He’s an avid blogger at live journal, although I personally don’t agree with the topic and issues, he has proven himself as an intelligent blogger and he has posted topics ranging from comic books, representation of POC (People of Color), homosexuality and typical topics that pops up in his head. He speaks out that Hollowstone was released at June 8th at Amazon. In the course of two days, I’ve finished read the book.
The plot of the story:
Noah Scott is an African American teenager that lives in Atlanta, Georgia with his grandmother. Lost his parents at a young age due to Hurricane Katrina. He gets accepted to the elite Hollowstone Boarding school. Hollowstne is a typical rich boarding school full of the rich and powerful. There Noah meets with racial and social challenges. There he meets friend and roommate Caleb Warner, kinda like a young Tony Stark without having the Iron Man Suit, a cool rebel rich dude. They share their adventures together bonding on the terms of brothers. (think Brandon Heat and Harry McDowel from Gungrave.) This peace is broken when Caleb is brutally shot. So Noah must uncover the truth behind the murder of his friend and the secrets of the school. Think of the noir films, mixed with the teen genre or I would like to call Teen Noir.
This story is good for people who like the mystery and the supernatural. Like I mention before, the story reminds me of a bit of Gungrave. Instead of the friend turn against each other, they started to have a stronger bond, although one of them dies. I’m kinda sad that the story didn’t include Personas (The Playstation Persona RPG series) or any other shounen mcgruffens. It does have a good twist and turns and visual tools to make the story come to life. I’m surprised that it’s not a comic book or Manga, though it would be best to be it’s own webcomic.
The school Hollowstone reminds me so much of the boarding schools that we see on TV. You can picture the students in their uniforms. Hollowstone a gothic school, the teacher, and etc. Also it uses the Southern gothic culture. In fact the school itself is a character.
Nowadays, it’s rare to see a good character in the YA genre. The characters are usually mopey teen with stereotypical problems (Prom, girlfriend, social life and etc). Noah Scott is an exceptional character. He’s an honest teen at a corrupt school. In fact he reminds me of Cole Phelps of the game LA Noire. At school he deals with classism, racism and all types of isms. Despite the hardships, Noah is not going to back down to do what is right. Caleb or Cal is Noah’s best friend and roommate. He introduces Noah to the other side of Hollowstone. Despite his laid back persona, he has a troubled past.
Dennis Upkins tackles every subject that some people avoid to bring up in YA fiction. Such as racism, sexism, elitism, homosexuality and classism. Now in some teen fiction, it’s typical, a white teen character with cliche problems. Mr. Upkins takes typical teen drama and turns it on it’s side. Although some of the parts I didn’t feel comfortable with, it was a good break from the norm which is rare nowadays.
So if you like some armchair mystery with a bit of supernatural, you will like this. It will tackle some issues that will make people think or get upset, which is kinda the point. The story has good pacing for those that are fast readers. I would prefer that the story would use a comic format or be an anime.
My overall rating is 8.75 out of 10.
It’s a good story, some of the characters are lively. I’m not a fan of the supernatural, but its does well with the story. It’s a bit slow, but there’s a reason for it. Also it’s good to have minority character without it being cliche (like born in the hood, selling drugs, a gangbanger and other black stereotypical cliches.) It really in your face of oppression at times, you’ll find yourself getting angry at the subject matter despite how you feel about it. So this is a good read for people who like to break away from the current YA fiction trends. So I give it a recommendation for people looking for a good read.
Also if this turn into a live movie: Get Tyler Perry or Spike Lee.
Also if you want me to give your book for a review or you just want to give me crappy books. I’m happy to do it.