Thanks to the @kidlitexchange network for the review copy of this book. As always, all opinions are my own. This 14 Hollow Road review contains affiliate links, which means that Lu and Bean Read may receive a small commission (at no additional cost to you) on products purchased through external vendors.
14 Hollow Road is a well written, easy-to-read coming of age novel appropriate for older middle grade readers.
14 Hollow Road Summary
The new middle grade novel 14 Hollow Road opens with 12-year-old Maddie headed to the 6th grade dance on the last day of school. All Maddie’s thoughts are centered on one thing: dancing with her crush Avery. Disaster strikes when Avery asks Maddie’s friend Gabby to dance instead of her. Soon, though, that’s the least of Maddie’s worries, as the dance is soon canceled by news that a tornado has torn through town affecting some of the students’ homes.
What Maddie planned as the best summer life is turned upside down when she learns her family’s home was destroyed and her dog has gone missing. Even worse, both Maddie and Avery’s families must move into the neighbor’s house for the entire summer. The tweens spend the summer grieving their losses, navigating complicated relationships, and learning what it means to be a true friend.
14 Hollow Road Review
In 14 Hollow Road, author Jenn Bishop has written an extremely readable novel that I’m certain will have many tween readers on the edge of their seats. Although most young people won’t have to experience the loss of life and property that a tornado can bring, they will likely relate to Maddie’s other uncertainties as she transitions to middle school. In addition to living down the hall from her middle school crush (eek!), Maddie struggles with evolving relationships and friendship drama that will feel familiar to many readers.
Despite the ups and downs and mistakes made by all the characters along the way, none of the middle schoolers are categorically unpleasant. In a genre that is too often overtaken by “mean girls,” it was refreshing to read a book about nice kids who sometimes make mistakes.
One shortcoming of the book is that the author used the device of the tornado to create tension between Maddie and Avery rather than to truly explore what would happens to the young people in the aftermath of the disaster. The tornado-related drama between characters sometimes felt forced, with the parents frequently dismissing Maddie’s concerns at times when her concerns were more than normal (e.g., why didn’t any member of Maddie’s family try harder to find the dog?).
Overall, 14 Hollow Road entertained me until the end. I would recommend it to older middle grade readers who are ready for innocent romantic themes.
14 Hollow Road published on June 13, 2017, from Knopf Books for Young Readers.