Friday, March 22, 2013

The Hallowed Ones - Review

Title:  The Hallowed Ones
Author: Laura Bickle

Synopsis:  “Katie is on the verge of her Rumspringa, the time in Amish life when teenagers are free to experience non-Amish culture before officially joining the church.  But before Rumspringa arrives, Katie’s safe world starts to crumble.  It begins with a fiery helicopter crash in the cornfields, followed by rumors of massive unrest and the disappearance of huge numbers of people all over the world.  Something is out there … and it is making a killing.
          “Unsure why they haven’t yet been attacked, the Amish Elders make a decree: No one goes outside their community, and no one is allowed in.  But when Katie finds a gravely injured young man lying just outside the boundary of their land, she can’t leave him to die.  She refuses to submit to the Elders’ rule and secretly brings the stranger into her community – but what else is she bringing in with him?”

Review:  I spent all of my teenage years in a Mennonite Community.  I walked the walk, talked the talk, dressed the dress… whatever you want to call it.  I immersed myself in the culture and I loved it.  We still had cars and telephones, although back then hardly anyone had cell phones, so it wasn't as extreme as the Amish.  I tell you this so you understand that when I saw the cover of The Hallowed Ones I absolutely had to have it.  Some of my family still follows many of the Mennonite ways, although I am no longer living in the Mennonite Community for those of you that wonder.  My Mother’s nearest neighbors are Amish, and I am very familiar with their beliefs and customs.  I understand that each Amish community is a bit different, but I was a tad disappointed in Bickle’s portrayal of the Amish.  Two points: 1) The Amish do not pray out loud at meals.  They pray silently before and after a meal.  2) The Amish do not believe that they can know they are going to heaven as this would lead to pride.  Now I understand that this may garner me some flack as each community is different.  However I have been led to understand, by the Amish that I know, that these are rigid rules and beliefs that should be the same in every community.  I also understand that there is such a thing as poetic license which is why I will not let this small disappointment tarnish my love of this book.
          I did love The Hallowed Ones.  I read it in less than a day.  It was my birthday and I treated myself to a trip to Barnes and Noble.  I bought a lot of books.  At one point a salesperson offered me a basket.  I declined because my rule is that I can’t buy more books than I can carry.  A few minutes later another salesperson offered to take some of the books to a register for me.  She looked very concerned for my safety.  I can carry a lot of books!  Okay, back to the book.  The cover of The Hallowed Ones grabbed my attention right away.  I didn’t really pay attention to what it was about until I got home; I just knew that I needed this book with the Amish girl on the cover. 
The Hallowed Ones is a horror novel about an apocalypse told from the perspective of an Amish teenager.  It was wonderful.  I was sad when I finished it.  It made me angry and it made me sad.  It made me smile and it made my heart pound.  I loved Katie and the fact that she didn’t just blindly follow along with what the Elders told everyone to do like a sheep.  She loved her community but wanted to understand the reasons that they did things the way that they did.  She knew that she would most likely end up choosing the Amish life but wanted to experience life outside of the community first and all of that was ruined by this disaster. 
When we read and write novels about apocalypse or dystopian earth we rarely consider what would happen to these people who already live apart from the rest of society.  With no phones, no television and no radio, these communities would be the last to know about a disaster and the least affected by one.  The Hallowed Ones was very original and told a story that many of us have not really considered before now. 

Publisher: Graphia / Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
ISBN: 978-0547859262

If you like this book you may want to read:

Obernewtyn: The Obernewtyn Chronicles book 1 by Isobelle Carmody

The Forrest of Hands and Teeth Series by Carrie Ryan


  1. Great review! I had no idea there were Amish YA horror books. I believe I am your newest follower. Good luck and I look forward to seeing what you are talking about next.

    1. Hi JoanneMarie. Thanks for following my blog. I didn't know there were Amish YA horror books either and was thrilled to find this one. The author has another in this series coming out this fall and I can't wait!