“Willow Lamott’s best friend is a murderer, and no one in the small town of Gilt Hollow will let her forget it. For 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 reminded him what he’d been missing. 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 fears his return to Gilt Hollow will destroy everyone he loves, especially the girl he left behind.”
YAS. This was everything I wanted, but was denied while reading The Foxglove Killings and Last Time We Were Us. It was just. Gah. Dynamic, well paced, and generally adorable.
Also, duel POV. YEEAAAAAAASSSSS.
It was also extremely well balanced. We have a great, exciting plot, which doesn’t drag in the middle. Then we also have this wonderful emotion woven throughout.
And when I say emotion, I don’t mean just romantic tension…. Willow and Ashton also still have this incredible friendship with each other that isn’t displayed in most YA novels.
We’ve all read the best-friend-becomes-more storyline. In almost all of them, the emphasis is that the two characters in question ‘don’t want to lose their friendship’ so they resist becoming more.
Then then it’s usually all about a maddening back and forth before they realize they are meant for each other…and that their feelings have changed their friendship anyway.
But in Gilt Hollow, while that tense thought is still there… isn’t the major focus. The focus is whoever is committing these crimes around town, (coincidently? Or not?) at the time Ashton is released from prison (Jail? Juvie?.)
Even when we discuss emotional threads, there is one that pulls up equal to the friends turned lovers trope. And that, is that Gilt Hollow exhibits the actual friendship in such a heartfelt way.
The teasing is there, and not the romantic kind. It’s an intimate best friend teasing. The kind that ONLY your best friend could get away with.
And I think that’s one of the reasons I loved this book. The relationship between Willow and Ashton is so genuine <3 I just. Explode.
Sometimes when we have bad-boy archetypes, we don’t ever question their morality. Most of the time it’s “He’s a bad-boy but not really, he’s got a heart of gold, and his reputation is an accident…”
But in this book (while you still root for Ashton) there’s a moment at midpoint where you question, right along with Willow, what Ashton is really capable of. SO GOOD.
It was just so….intimate. Yep. That’s the word I’m using. It was just filled with this closeness that I don’t get to enjoy as often as I wish.
I’ve read Lorie Langdon’s former novels (which are co-authored by Carey Corp.) Of which, Carey Corp had a previous solo novel. So when I saw that Lorie was writing her first solo work? Boom. So there.
So I went to her signing at the ALA. I even got a Gilt Hollow poster signed (which was way cool, though somehow got color rubbed off it during the course of the day… boo.)
I’m totally hanging that up in my room.
Anyway. I 100% recommend this read to anyone looking for a murder mystery, with great pacing and beautiful relationships. <3 It’s perfect.
*And as a person who loves playing Pokémon Go, I HAVE TO MENTION….there is a HILARIOUS Poké moment in this book. It’s HILARIOUS. definitely one of these teasing moments in the book. Which is funny, because I don’t think it’s possible to have known that Pokémon Go would launch and become a major phenomenon. XD