Katie is on the verge of her Rumspringa, the time in Amish life when teenagers can get a taste of the real world. But the real world comes to her in this dystopian tale with a philosophical bent. Rumors of massive unrest on the “Outside” abound. Something murderous is out there. Amish elders make a rule: No one goes outside, and no outsiders come in. But when Katie finds a gravely injured young man, she can’t leave him to die. She smuggles him into her family’s barn—at what cost to her community? The suspense of this vividly told, truly horrific thriller will keep the pages turning.
|Publisher:||Houghton Mifflin Harcourt|
|Product dimensions:||5.50(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.90(d)|
|Age Range:||12 - 18 Years|
About the Author
Laura Bickle is the author of four fantasy novels for adults. The Hallowed Ones is her first novel for teens. She works in a public library and lives with her husband in Columbus, Ohio. Visit her website at www.laurabickle.com.
Read an Excerpt
After the end of the Outside world, the Plain folk survived.
At the time, I didn’t know that the end of Outside had happened. None of us really did.We knew that something was wrong, of course. That knowledge trickled in slowly, like a leak in a roof. The signs accumulated, and then there was no denying the dark stain spreading over the pale ceiling of our world.
My first inkling was on a day in late September under a cloudless blue sky. The ravens had begun picking at the corn that was drying in the fields, black specks in the gold. I leaned on the wooden fence post, watching the birds scratch and listening to them caw to one another in their inscrutable hoarse language. The wire fence was pierced here by a wooden gate, to move farm equipment and cattle.This was a remote part of our little settlement of Plain people, but it made a good place to get away from chores and parents.
Beside me, Elijah had picked up a rock to scare the birds away.
“Don’t throw that,” I said, automatically.“It’s mean.”
Elijah looked at the stone, shrugged, put it down. He was a year older than me, but he would do anything I asked.Tall and lanky and sunburned from working outdoors,he cut a handsome figure: dark hair and hazel eyes that crinkled when he smiled. I wasn’t sure what I thought about that yet. We had grown up together. But things were changing.We both could feel it.
He leaned against the fence beside me, staring out at the field. I knew what he was looking at, the same thing I was . . . at what lay beyond the field. At the black ribbon of road just beyond the corn that carried the English to and from their business Outside. They drove their shiny cars down the two-lane highway, intent on going home or to work or school. At this distance, we could barely make out the drivers. Sometimes men or women drove boxy sedans in pressed suits and blouses. Often they would be couples with children strapped into harnesses in the back seat. Other times the drivers would be people around our age, talking on their phones or chatting with friends in the passenger seat.We were too far away to see their expressions. But during the summer, with the windows down, we could sometimes hear snippets of their laughter.
Since the time we were children, Elijah and I had made up stories about the people in the cars.We imagined that they were driving to the movies or going to parties. Once, we spied a sleek black limousine and fancied that it contained men in tuxedos and women in evening dresses. Maybe a group going to prom. It was as far away from our everyday world as we could envision.
“Someday that’s going to be us out there,” Elijah said, gesturing with his chin toward the road.
“Soon. Three more weeks.” I’d been daydreaming about Outside for so long. And it was almost time for Rumspringa. Literally, it meant “running around.” It was the time for young Amish men and women to go beyond the gate and taste the Outside world.After years of begging and pleading, my parents had finally relented and let me go Outside this year, on two conditions: that I wait until the harvest was completed, and that Elijah go with me.We wouldn’t be formally living together, of course. I intended to room with one of the girls I’d grown up with, Hannah Bachman. And one of Elijah’s friends, Sam Vergler, would go too. Sam and Hannah had been courting since Hannah had turned sixteen.We’d have a girls’ apartment and a boys’ apartment. Proper. But for all practical intents, Elijah and I would be going on Rumspringa together.
Though he could have gone sooner Elijah had declared that he wouldn’t participate in Rumspringa without me. He’d been saving money, apprenticing to a master carpenter and helping out with his father’s farm. He seemed content, though, with his day-to-day life, content with the waiting.And I knew that my parents hoped that Elijah and I would someday be married. Indeed, I couldn’t picture myself being married to anyone else . . . though I admitted that it would be strange to see him with a beard like the ones worn by all married Amish men, rather than his handsome, clean-shaven face. It was the destiny I’d accepted. I was Amish. I didn’t dislike my life and accepted the inevitabilities cheerfully. Still, I wanted the experience of Outside.To know that I’d made the right choice.To be absolutely certain.
There was a difference, I had decided, between knowing and believing. And I wanted both.
“What’s the first thing we’re going to do Outside, Katie?” Elijah asked, grinning.“Eat sushi?”
“Ugh. No.” I wrinkled my nose.This was a game we played often: When we are Outside . . . “I am going to buy a pair of britches. Jeans.”
He stood back and looked at me, considering. “You? In britches?”
“Ja,” I said, lifting my chin defiantly. “And I want to go to the movies.”
“The movies?” he echoed. He was still fixated on the jeans; I could tell by how he stared at my rump.“What kind of movie do you want to see?”
“I’m not sure.” I smiled slyly. I’d found a newspaper while Outside with my father earlier that day. He occasionally delivered fresh produce to a convenience store that catered to English tourists. If I picked the produce, I could keep the money. I kept mine squirreled away in a wooden box that Elijah had made for me, with the word rumspringa carved on the top. After we delivered the produce, I found the page of movies in a trash can outside of the store and had tucked it away in my apron pocket. I pulled it out now and smoothed it over the top beam of the fence.“See.There’s a lot to choose from.”
Elijah leaned over my shoulder, and I could feel his breath disturbing the tie on my bonnet. “Wow.” His finger traced over the listings.There was one that showed an explosion and soldiers in uniform. Another depicted a cartoon dragon with wings wrapped around a castle. I was partial to that one. It seemed magical, dangerous, and compelling. Though he was only printed in black-and-white, I imagined that the dragon was blue — blue as the sky at dusk.
“How about this?” Elijah pointed to an advertisement for a film that showed a female spy in a leather suit. Her breasts strained to be released from the zipper that contained them, and she held a gun longer than her impressive legs.
I peered at the woman in leather.“If you want. As long as I can see the dragon film.”
Elijah laughed.“I would think you’d object to that. But she is wearing britches.”
I shrugged. The woman seemed very unreal, as two-dimensional as the paper she appeared on. I wasn’t threatened by fantasy. “No. I’d be eager to see if she really looks like that in the film, though.”
“So am I.” He lifted his eyebrows. I swatted him playfully.
Our gazes gradually settled back to the horizon, at the black ribbon of road. The whine of an engine echoed in the distance, like a mosquito.
“Ooh, a speeder,” Elijah said. He stepped up on the lowest rail of the fence for a better look. Sometimes the speeders were followed by policemen with lights blazing and siren howling — a special thrill.
I shaded my eyes with my hand and peered at the faraway road.To my surprise, it was not a sports car that zinged along. This was a square sport-utility vehicle, piled high with luggage and boxes lashed to the roof. The driver, a man, was yelling. His wife was turned around in the passenger’s seat, and I could not see her face. Nor could I see the expressions of the children. But I could hear high-pitched crying.
“They must be in a hurry to go camping,” Elijah murmured. “I’m glad I’m not going on that vacation,” I said.
The vehicle sped out of sight, and no police car followed it. I frowned, feeling sorry for the family. That sense of unease was foreign to me. My parents had always given my younger sister and me a happy home. I had never been afraid of my father, nor could I remember him ever having a cross word with my mother. Like Elijah and me, they had grown up together. That familiarity had not bred contempt, and they didn’t concern themselves with what lay beyond the gate.
I did. And I wondered if Elijah and I would ever be like them.
I jumped, hearing my father’s voice behind me. I whirled, stuffing the newspaper page into my apron pocket.
My father was crossing the meadow to the fence. Under his straw hat and above his gray beard, I could see the glimmer of a smile.Though his voice was stern, he wasn’t angry with me. And I had never given him reason to be, never been disobedient . . . that he knew about. He didn’t know about the time that I’d spent at the county library when I’d been ostensibly studying to be a teacher. He didn’t know that I’d read about dinosaurs and planets and plenty of other things not accepted by the Amish. He may have suspected, but he didn’t know. And he was a fair-enough man not to punish me just for the simple suspicion of wrongdoing.
He nodded at Elijah. He never chastised me for spending time with Elijah.“Mrs. Parsall is here to see the puppies.”
I smiled,though my stomach churned. “She’s at the kennel?”
“Ja. She stopped by the house first, and I told her to go on to meet you there. She’s wondering how many puppies to expect for her customers.”
“I’ll see to her now.” “Good girl.”
I gave Elijah an apologetic smile and hurried across the sloping meadow to the weather-silvered barn in the distance.
My father had given me the responsibility of managing the family dogs three years ago. I’d been very proud to have the job — he even allowed me to set the prices and keep a portion of the money. He’d told me that it would help make a businesswoman of me. I’d made a profit every year, tucked it away in my Rumspringa box. Maybe it should have gone into the sparsely filled hope chest my mother had given me. But Rumspringa was the apple of my eye, my immediate future.
Running the kennel was often a challenge for me—letting go of what I loved.Though we’d always been kind to our dogs, we’d heard stories of others who weren’t so humane. Those tales made me very, very sad. I loved the dogs dearly, and it was hard for me to give them up. Even to Mrs. Parsall, who promised that she found them loving homes and showed me photographs that people had sent her of the puppies as they grew up. She sometimes told me what their new names were, though they were still classified in my head under the nicknames I’d given each and every one.
Mrs. Parsall was waiting for me outside the dilapidated barn, dressed in jeans and a floppy sun hat. She was a plump, middle-aged woman with blond hair and glasses that slid down her nose. I adored her. She extended her arms out for a hug, and her blue eyes crinkled. She often encouraged me to use her first name, Ginger, but that seemed too disrespectful.
“Katie, how are you, dear?”
I grinned against her shoulder.“Good, good. And you?”
Mrs. Parsall smiled. “Wonderful. And how is Sunny? Is she ready to have her babies?”
“Come see for yourself!” I pushed open the creaky sliding door and led her into the barn.“I expect she might go another week, maybe two. But she’s huge.”
Mrs. Parsall grinned.“That’s great. I have a waitlist . . .The more, the merrier.”
The barn was cool in shadow, and it took a moment for my eyesight to adjust from the brilliance of the day. It was an old gray barn, not for any good use for cows and horses anymore, and more than distant from my house. It sat a stone’s throw from the foundations of a house that had once existed decades ago. I’d been told that the house had been struck by lightning.The neighbors who once lived there moved east, and their property had fallen into disrepair. But it was my own little kingdom.
The Hexenmeister had painted a hex sign over the barn door years ago, when I’d started breeding dogs. The symbol he’d picked included sheaves of wheat, for fertility. That part was for the dogs. He’d also worked in spokes of purple tulips, signifying faith and chastity. That part was for me. I’d smiled when I saw it, but it felt like the Hexenmeister was giving me a lecture every time I saw the contradictory images.
Sunlight streamed into the barn through chinks in the old slats, and I smelled sweet hay.Though I called this place a kennel and there were wire cages, I rarely used them.The golden retrievers I raised were a good bunch and had free run of the farm, except when birthing or when the puppies were very small. It wouldn’t do to have one injured or have a bitch give birth in an unknown place.
But Sunny was here, waiting for me. She ran up to me, her bulging body wobbling as she came to greet us. She licked my hands and arms, made an effort to jump on my shoulders, but she was just too heavy with puppies for that kind of horseplay. Mrs. Parsall crouched down at Sunny’s level, and the dog vigorously washed her face with her tongue.
Mrs. Parsall ran her hands over Sunny’s sides. “Oh my. You look about ready to pop, old girl.”
Sunny wagged her tail. This was her third litter. She was a good mama, attentive and loving to her pups.
“Who’s the sire?” Mrs. Parsall asked.
“The papa is Copper. He’s likely to be around somewhere, maybe chasing chickens.”
“Ah. They’ll have beautiful pups.” She rubbed Sunny’s glossy stomach.“Just beautiful.”
“I think so,” I said modestly. “Copper has the broad chest and that dark gold. I’m hoping that the pups will inherit their mother’s desire to stay home, though.”
Mrs. Parsall kissed Sunny behind the ear. “A little wander-lust never hurt anyone.”
I laughed. “You’ve not seen Copper being chased by the rooster. He isn’t fond of the dog harassing his hens.”
Mrs. Parsall looked up at me through her bifocals. “This will be your last litter before you do the Rumspringa thing?”
I nodded. As eager as I was to experience Outside, a pain welled in my throat at the idea of leaving the dogs.“It will be. But I’ve been training my little sister about the dogs. She’ll care for them in the meantime.”
“How long will you be gone?”
I shrugged. “I’m not sure. I haven’t really thought about how long.” The group of us had talked about going north, to the nearest large city, to rent apartments and find some work. We could be gone a week or a year.
Or . . . a small voice in my head prodded. Or you could be gone for always.
But as much as I wanted to experience Outside, the Plain community was all I’d ever known, and I didn’t know if I had the desire or the fortitude to leave it permanently.
I suppose that was what Rumspringa was for. To test limits and make decisions. Most of the young people in our community came back after only a few weekends Outside, spent at amusement parks or camping. Some made no formal display of leaving.They just wandered to the malls and cities during the day, wearing jeans and makeup and experimenting with cigarettes and fast food in a halfhearted way before being baptized into the Amish faith and giving up those things for good. Very few Amish “jumped the fence” and stayed Outside. But it still seemed possible.Vague, but possible.
Mrs. Parsall smiled. “You are always welcome at my house. You know that.” Her home was empty now that her son and daughter had gone away to college across the country.Though she was very proud of them, I could tell that she was lonely. But contemplating Rumspringa at Mrs. Parsall’s house seemed a bit like a sleepover at a favorite aunt’s . . . not the full experience of Outside that I craved.
I gave her a spontaneous hug and a grin.“Thank you.”
She patted my cheek. “You just have to be careful. There are a lot of dangers out there for a young woman.”
“Don’t you mean for a naive young woman?” I didn’t bristle; my tone was teasing.
“For anyone.” Mrs. Parsall’s pretty moon face darkened.“It’s not like it used to be.”
“My parents went Outside for their Rumspringa,” I said. “They told me to be wary of the intentions of strange men. And smoking and drinking and staying out late.” My parents had raised me to be a so-called nice girl; they wanted me to return as one.
“Not only that. Things have become more violent.” She frowned.“There was a mass murder, not too far from here, last week. A whole family slaughtered in their sleep.”
I shuddered, though the idea seemed unreal as the movie advertisements.“I will have Elijah.”
“Just be very, very careful,” the older woman said. “It’s a dangerous world.”
“You sound like my parents.”
“All parents love their children. You should have heard the lecture I gave my kids before they left the house.” She grinned. “Though they were well-armed with cell phones, checking accounts, laundry soap, and condoms, I still worried.”
“Mrs. Parsall!” I could feel the blush spreading beneath my pale cheeks.Though I had seen the dogs breed many times and knew perfectly well what caused children, I was still uncomfortable with the idea of myself having babies. Or experiencing sex, for that matter.And love . . . love was a mysterious thing. I saw a lot of couples marrying out of a sense of acceptance, of duty. That was a kind of love, but not the passionate love that I saw people emphasize Outside.
“These are the facts of life, m’dear.” Mrs. Parsall chuckled. “Love and lust and laundry soap. Just ask Sunny.”
Sunny grinned her inscrutable canine grin, her pink tongue protruding beyond her teeth. She was a dog and already more wise than I was about such things.
I walked Mrs. Parsall outside the barn, through the golden field back to my house. No one but she and I and the dogs ever came back here, and there was no path worn in the grass.The sun had lowered on the horizon, shining through the leaves of sugar maple trees just beginning to yellow with the coming of fall. I could still feel the warmth of the day through the dark brown cotton of my dress. If I didn’t look up at the trees, I could almost convince myself that it was still summer. Almost.
But our community was bustling with the work of autumn and the activities of harvest: younger children gathered apples from a small orchard; men drove horses with carts containing bales of hay to barns; a group of women was busy gathering grapevines to make wreaths to sell in the English shops for Christmas.
We were a good-size settlement of Plain folk, about seventy families, spread over half a county. We had heard rumors of other Plain communities that were shrinking, owing to the youth and the spell of Rumspringa. And there were tales of other communities that grew so fast, there was no farmland for young families. But not ours. Ours had remained the same size and shape as far back as anyone could remember.There always seemed to be enough land for everyone to have at least forty acres to farm, if they wanted it.
And everyone seemed happy, unaffected by the schisms that seemed so common in other Amish settlements. The Bishop said that was because we stuck to the old ways. Everyone knew what was expected of us.There was no renegotiation of rules every time some new technology flew up a bonnet.The Ordnung was the Ordnung. Period. And we had been rewarded for following the Ordnung: there was always enough work and food and spouses and land for everyone. God provided for his people.
The pumpkin patch that my little sister tended was nearly as ripe as Sunny with distended gourds. There was one particularly large monster of a pumpkin that Sarah had a special fondness for.Twice daily she squatted beside it, whispering to it and petting it.Whatever she was doing seemed to be working — the pumpkin was easily over a hundred pounds, with another month to go before it would be severed from the vine.
Mrs. Parsall leaned against the bumper of her old blue station wagon. She pulled her keys from her pocket, gave me a one-armed hug.“You take care of yourself, kiddo.”
I grinned against her shoulder. But something dark against the blue sky caught my attention. I squinted at it, first thinking it to be a bird. But it wasn’t a bird at all.
I stepped back from Mrs. Parsall, pointing at the sky.“Look!”
A dark dot buzzed overhead, growing larger. It was a helicopter, flying so low that I could hear the whump-whump-whump of its blades. It was painted green with a white cross on the side, seeming to wobble in the blue.
Mrs. Parsall shaded her eyes with her hands, shouting to be heard above the roar.“It’s Life Flight.”
“It’s a what?”
“It’s a medical helicopter. From a hospital.” “It shouldn’t be doing that, should it?” “Hell, no. It — ”
The helicopter veered right and left, as if it were a toy buffered by a nonexistent tornado.The breeze today was calm, stirred by the helicopter blades and the roar. I thought I saw people inside, fighting, their silhouettes stark through a flash of window, then lost in the sun.The helicopter made a shrieking sound, the whump-whump-whump plowing through the air as it bumped and bucked. It howled over us, so close that I could have reached out and touched it if I’d been standing on the roof of our house.
Mrs. Parsall grabbed me and flung me to the ground. I shoved my bonnet back from my brow in enough time to see the helicopter spiral out of control, spinning nose over tail into a field. It vanished above tall tassels of corn.
For a couple of heartbeats, I saw nothing, heard nothing.
Then I felt the impact through my hands and the front of my ribs, bit my tongue so hard I could taste blood. Black smoke rose over the horizon.
“Oh no,” Mrs. Parsall gasped.
I scrambled to my feet, began to run. I heard Mrs. Parsall behind me, the jingle of her purse strap. I dimly registered her voice shouting into her cell phone. I ran toward the fire, across the grass. I swung myself up and over the barbed-wire fence, mindless of the scratching on my hands and in my skirt.
I plunged into the stalks of corn, taller than me, following the smell of smoke and the distant crackle of fire. I was conscious of the brittle yellow stalks tearing at me as I passed and realized that they were too flammable this far into the season. If the fire got loose in the corn, we’d have no way to stop it.
But my immediate concern was the people on the helicopter.
I ripped through the field and shoved aside blackened stalks of corn to view the site of the crash. The heat shimmered in the air, causing my eyes to tear up. I lifted my apron to cover my nose against the smell of oily smoke.
Fire seethed above me in a black and orange plume, curling around the husk of the dead helicopter. The bent and broken tail jutted out from the ground at an odd angle. The cockpit had broken open, flames streaming through the broken glass.
And I swore I saw something moving inside.
What People are Saying About This
"This is a book to make you fear the shadowsa horrifying and gruesome tale of faith, and things that blink red eyes in the night. I began reading in the daylight, and read on into the late hours, leaning close, biting my lip. I could not look away; I was obsessed. Katie is an unbreakable soul." —Lauren DeStefano, New York Times Bestselling author of the Chemical Garden Trilogy
"What an eerily believable, unique story! I can't stop thinking about itor shivering."—Melissa Marr, New York Times bestselling author of the Wicked Lovely Books
"Tight pacing, suspenseful scenes, Wow! moments of tension, and exposure into a world I knew little about, The Hallowed Ones is an exciting, terse read. . . . Laura Bickle's debut novel for young adults has quickly become my favorite dystopian novel of 2012. . . . It left me wanting more, so much more."—readergirlsblog.com
"Readers will find it hard to put down this suspenseful, scary, compulsively readable adventure."—Kirkus
"Katie's an original character, and her thoughtful rebellion makes her an interesting addition to supernatural fictions's gallery of strong heroines."—Bulletin
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
The Hallowed Ones brought me into a World of the unexpected, where opposite ends of the spectrum collide. A quiet little Amish community is about to meet a horrific evil that puts their lifestyle, beliefs, and lives in jeopardy in this dark coming of age tale. It was a hard book to put down and became an extra appendage over the last 24 hours. The creatures were brutal, merciless, and will make you want to sleep with your lights on. Katie was an interesting and believable character who matured as the story progressed. She was rebellious, brave and wasn't going to blindly fall in line just because she was told to do so. She knew how to think for herself. She had heart. I thoroughly enjoyed her character. This story brought out your emotions. I had full fledged anger towards the arrogance of the Elders, especially the Bishop. He needs a good kick in the shins. For me, there were some overall religion issues that brought the book down to a four star rating. Otherwise, I was fully immersed within the pages and stared at it blankly for a few minutes when it ended hoping for more pages to magically appear. I don't know if there is a sequel in the works, but I will definitely be standing in line waiting for it if there is. Laura Bickle has a new fan. The Hallowed Ones was provided to me by the publisher through NetGalley. The opinions are my own.
Surprisingly a good story. Unexpected twists.
What can I say about this book? First--it's about an Amish girl Katie. Oh, I know what you are thinking, Amish? But you HAVE to read it. Katie witnesses the end of the world as she knows it, and with it her chance to experience Rumspringa (and I spelled that wrong I apologize) The time teens go out and live without the Amish rules before coming back to be baptized and join the Amish world. But--that pales to what is happening in the world and her insatiable curiosity is the best and the worst thing about her. The author is brilliant weaving in the creepy things that are happening in the world-- the juxtaposition of the slow, and reliable world of the Amish to everything falling apart. --I have to be careful; because if I say too much I will give away spoilers and you really, really have to experience it.) The characters are real, sympathetic, and frustrating. Katie is likable and I love her compassion. As a reader of Urban Fantasy and Paranormal--This is an outstanding book and I can hardly wait to dive into book two. Side note: I also listened to the Audio; narrated by Nora Hunter; She was adept at layering in the tension and made it a joy to listen to this story.
This really is more of a horror/thriller in my opinion but I did enjoy it, I was just surprised. Something happens in the "outside" world. People in the local towns, included some members of Katie's community, have disappeared and when it is investigated, stores have left lights on, windows are broken, and shops are ransacked. What else Katie finds is death, and a lot of it. There is quite a bit of violence in this book. It actually reminded me a bit of Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (which I loved). Heads were definitely rolling on a several occasions in the story. Katie herself, in my opinion, is a typical confused teenager. She loves her community but also wants the experience of the outside world. The author does a nice job using Katie's thoughts and feelings to share the inner conflict she is experiencing. She has what seems to be just the right amount of disobedience to allow the reader to recognize that maybe the Amish life isn't meant for her. The expectation is that she will return, be baptized, marry, and take her place in the community. Only part of her isn't quite sure what she wants and, as the book continues, she begins to realize that her community isn't the trusting, safe place she thought it was. Katie is an extremely strong character even though the reader can also sense her vulnerability. You can see and feel her terror in each violent scene but she continues to move forward and do what has to be done. The relationships in the story are interesting. Elijah is portrayed as her best friend and future husband and she is content with that at the beginning, even almost looks forward to it. I liked Elijah until about the middle of the story when he began to change and in my opinion, show some of his true colors. Alex, on the other hand, represents the exact opposite of contentment. He represents disobedience and passion. He treats her as an equal rather than someone who needs to be obedient. When the terror on the outside finds its way into the community, she makes some major life decisions that not only affect her but the safety of all the community. I agreed with all of them and was actually happy with the final events in the book even though it left me wanting more. The book deals with a few heavy themes. Trust, faith, life decisions, love, self worth. All handled very well. There is a sequel to this book called, The Outside. I definitely plan on picking it up.
So very pleased with this!!! Wonderful story, interesting characters, well written... I truly enjoyed this book, and look forward to the next.
This was good......moving on to book two.
Really enjoyed it!
Growing up in an Amish community, Katie is looking forward to Rumspringa for a real taste of the Outside world. Her and childhood friend Elijah have everything planned out that they want to do before going back to the Plain community to give up their childhood ways and get married. But a series of strange events send Katie's life into an uncontrolled spiral. Strange things are happening, people are disappearing, and Katie must decide if she should trust herself and do what is right or listen to the Elders and ignore everything, hoping it will go away. As you can see from my five-star rating, I really, really liked this book. Katie is not fearless, but despite her fear she does what she believes is right. Throughout the story she is constantly searching for something to justify or confirm her community's faith. She realizes that she is not perfect, which makes her feel guilty, but she can't help but question how God's will fits into the horrific events taking over her life. She is young and innocent and has an appealing quality to her that made me want her to keep fighting against the Elders even though she would eventually get caught. I loved her sweet, innocent relationship with Elijah and was rooting for them from the beginning, but then later was hoping something more would come of Alex. I look forward to finding out more about him in the next book. Not having ever read a book set in the Amish world, I was not really sure what to expect. But I thought the author did such a wonderful job of building up the world the story was set in. Katie's day to day life and the activity within the community was so eloquently described, I felt I could literally step into the pages of the book, and the writing was alluring and descriptive. I guess I should mention at some point that this is a horror story, and at times a bit gory. However, the horror aspect did not overshadow the rest of the storytelling. I felt there was a good balance in the story and am looking forward to the next one to find out what happens.
The wonderful and very amazing Jen from YA Romantics had recommended this book to me telling me how scary good it was. That was back around Halloween (I know it took me a long time to finally get it) but I finally picked it up and I am so glad I did. This book puts the frightening back into vampires! There is definitely no sparkly brooding vamps here people. Nope! These are the vampires that will be just as happy eating your face off as they will draining you of your entire blood supply. But these guys are mindless killing machines either; they are smart and clever killing machines. Laura Bickle has taken a turn for the more traditional storyline with the terrifying vampires that decide to go after everything. And I love her for this. Don't get me wrong: I love the brooding sexy vampire that hates what he/she truly is as much as the next guy. But....there is just something about the scary as hell vampires that love being what they are and love hunting down their food source like a predator. A good comparison for these vampires are the ones from 30 Days of Night. But there is a lot more to this story than just vampires; sorry I really dig those guys though. Our main protagonist, Katie, is a very different heroine but definitely one I truly love indeed. Katie is an Amish girl impatiently waiting for the chance to go out on her Rumspringa, which is basically like Spring Break for the young Amish people. It's where they go out into the world and experience the secular world and decide if they want to stay or come back to their people. This is where we see how completely cut off from the world this Amish community truly is because the Outside world is in complete disarray while life continues to move along at a slow and steady pace for them. But they finally see the upset that is happening when it comes to close for comfort at their doorsteps. I really loved Katie as an character. She was curious; always questioning her elders and the rules they set in place as the world went further into turmoil. Katie is also very strong and handled the apparent threats in the town much better than I think anyone else would have. But we also see that Katie can be fragile as glass at other points in the book. I think I really enjoyed the well roundness of her personality. Even her faith, while some of the closed mindedness she exhibited when she learned other religious groups could try to battle the evil by saying: "God cannot be everywhere. Not everyone is right." did upset me, I found that Katie was much more devout than some of the elders with her faith because of her undying need to protect those who needed it. No matter if they were Amish or not. She didn't have that snobbery that most of the other Amish elders and families there in the community had against outsiders. These two dynamics: the Amish and vampires, are definitely an original idea to me. I think it was an awesome idea to take these two seemingly vast opposites and put them into a book where it seems the world may very well be coming to an end in the most evil way possible. Then we get to see how these two play against each other as well compliment each other too. I was completely hooked from the first minute I started reading this book. I always had this ominous feeling about me as I read it; like someone was going to jump out at me and scream "BOO!" any moment. I love that feeling, just like when you watch a scary movie. It was just amazing for me that I got it from reading a book. I hardly ever have that creepy feeling and when I find a book that takes my breath away with that kind of energy I know I have found a truly special thing! I loved The Hallowed Ones and I cannot wait till I can't get my hands on the second book. I give it .........................
In short, WOW. I absolutely LOVED this book and it has easily made it´s way into my favourites of the year. The book tells of an Amish girl close to her Rumspringa she has decided to go on with her lifelong friend, and more, Elijah. Rumspringa means leaving the familiar community and seeing the world outside without all the restrictions. But before that can happen something in the world Outside happens.. and everyone is forbidden to leave or enter their lands. As strange and terrible things starts to happen they are faced with the only conclusion. That something has already gotten inside..and Katie is among those fighting of the evil. The horror in this book sneaks up on you and before you realise, you are feeling like YOU should be running for your life. Most of the time I need romance in a book for me to really love it. In this book there is a part for romance too, though it is definitely not the focus of the story. The book has made me flinch a number of times and hold my breath like watching a movie that makes you scared. There were moments when I had to think that I cannot continue reading in the dark, that I had to quit and wait for morning and light. So yes, I pretty much loved this book for the terribleness of it! If you can´t handle gory details, this book is not for you, also I wouldn´t give the book for anyone really young either. But for others I would definitely recommend this book! It goes straight to my absolute favourites of the year! There were many themes woven into this story which made it the more intense. I am sure the book would´ve worked only as a story about Amish people being faced with paranormal danger from Outside, but all the other themes made it more powerful a story.
I literally have NOTHING bad to say about this book! Well, okay. I do hope there’s a second book, only because it ended with a “and they left into the vampire ridden sunset”. Yeah. I seriously need to know what happened to them next!! I’ve had the opportunity to review this book a couple of times, but seeing an Amish girl on the cover kind of turned me off. I was just like, “Meh. I don’t feel like reading about how great dirt and God are. Thanks.” My inside voice is quite sharp and not very nice. However, after the third time it showed up in my email, I said to myself, “Self, this might just be fate. Or an aggressive promotion. Either one. You should try it.” I am SO GLAD I did!!! Man! I was GLUED to my Kindle! I couldn’t put it down! I loved the fact that Katie wasn’t the typical, obedient girl. If she were, I’d have had a really hard time reading it. I might not be an out right rebel, but I bristle at the idea of mindlessly obeying. Katie followed both her heart and her gut! That girl, while emotionally immature (she’s a teenager, it’s kind of expected), has a lot of moxie! I was cheering her on! And Alex? Oh dear, good grief! I’m sincerely glad that Ms. Bickle didn’t do what I thought she was going to do and make him a vampire. When he first appeared on the scene and Katie started noticing the flaking hex sign on her kennel, I cringed and said, “Oh, no. Not again. Please, please, please! Not again.” She didn’t. Alex is a perfectly human teenage boy. She did a great, great job penning him. The setting! AAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHH!! The setting was brilliant!!! Loved it! There are just so many of the little details that Ms. Bickle sprinkled throughout the book that made me feel comfortable in this Amish community. It really could have gone another way. You know when you open a book and you’re thrust into a setting that just makes you squirm? Where you’re picturing yourself there and you’re like, “Oh, man. They’re going to see me. It’s going to go badly. Their church (yes, the imaginary one) is going to go up in flames. This is going to be bad.” Ms. Bickle used what I would call a very fine brush when painting her setting. She used Katie to do it. Katie has such LOVE for her community and for all the people there, and her beliefs. It was just so natural. I thought it was amazingly brilliant! So! Should you read this book? YES!!!!!! You DEFINITELY SHOULD!! Go now! Do it!
I had heard some amazing things about The Hallowed Ones - so one day, while in the mood for something deliciously creepy, I picked it up expecting the best. And fortunately, it had such a strong start that drew in right away. Unfortunately, it never really picked up for me after that. I felt like I spent the remainder of the book waiting for "it" to happen (I'm not really sure what "it" was, but I was hoping for something truly exciting and captivating) but it just never arrived for me. REASON TO READ: 1. Brilliant plot concept: The idea behind this story is like blow-your-mind amazing. An Amish setting? In an apocalyptic world (this is great because Katie's Amish community is so isolated that you have no idea what's going on with the Outside world- INCREDIBLY MYSTERIOUS, love it!) with some freaky killer thing(s) running around? I'm not sure it can get much scarier than that. And the first few chapters are fantastic. They perfectly set the atmosphere up to scare your socks right off, and everyone is like, "WHAT IS GOING ON HERE?!" and there's some blood and life gets crazy. And then Katie seems to spend most of her time trying to figure out where she stands in her faith and her love life. There's nothing wrong with that, but it didn't jive very well with the direction the book initially seemed to be headed in. The role of faith was interesting, and for the most part it fit very well until eventually it just felt like we were beating a dead horse. Plus I really couldn't care for her love life - at all. I sympathized with Katie for a while, because she was in such a tricky spot but after a while it just seemed ridiculous. And I couldn't bring myself to care when I didn't understand why she was acting out that way. But really, I was hoping for more scares. It felt too much like there was a trade-off part way through the book: exchange scary scenes for kissing/doubting ones. So I believe the ultimate problem for me was that my expectations were for something entirely different, and I was disappointed by that. Review copy received from Thomas Allen & Son Ltd for my honest review; no other compensation was received.
Books about the Amish are my secret love. I've lived within 10 miles of Amish (and Mennonites) for the majority of my life and I've always fantasied about what it would be like to live among them. Most books about the Amish are found in Christian literature which tends to be preachy, so I end up skipping whole scenes. When I heard about a paranormal Amish story, I was immediately intrigued, and yet skeptical. I wasn't sure how capable the author was of staying true to the Amish lifestyle and religion, while still maintaining an element of suspense. I'm happy to say that Laura Bickle surpassed all expectations. My only complaint about the novel is that the author went to great lengths to explain the Amish lifestyle and traditions, so at points, the pacing of the novel suffered. On a flip side, I appreciate how at no point did the novel feel preachy, even as Kate was being preached to by the other characters. The author did an excellent job of separating the characters' religious views from the narrative, so even as different religions were mention, there was no bashing or persuasion that one was better than another. With Kate's upbringing, she acts differently from any other heroine in YA fiction that I know. I admire her bravery. I understand both her rash decisions and the guilt that came soon after. There is a love triangle, however it gradually enters the story and as a reader I know that for Kate, it isn't as simple as choosing between one man or another. Rather it is about choosing whether to commit to the Amish faith or explore the dangerous world outside. (I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for my honest review.)
Creeptastically wonderful! I think this book should come with some kind of warning- "plays on all of your fears." That would be a good one. I love vampires, I've read tons of books that feature them- I was seriously worried that I was going to have nightmares about this one though. And vampires do not usually get to me. I had to wake up my husband and make him come lay on the outside of the bed to protect me from whatever imaginary beasts this book was going to cause my tired mind to invoke. I loved the characters. Katie is freaking amazing. I love her questioning spirit. Don't just let them tell you what to do, girlfriend! You ask your questions! It is awesome that she can use her brain to look at situations and see what is the right thing to do, verses what the Elders tell her what to do. Man, do I hate it when people try to act like they know everything and just expect you to blindly follow! And I love that she breeds dogs! That is such a real trait. Laura has done a marvelous job at crafting this world and the monsters in it. I highly recommend this to everyone! Read it, feel your arm hairs go up as you wonder if this is what our future holds and pray that it isn't.
Very good! This is a must read.
I read this upon recommendation of one of my favorite authors, Karina Halle, and I was not dissapointed. It was a quick read but different from the usual apocalyptic stories. Looking forward to reading the next one!