The Hallowed Ones
Author: Laura Bickle
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date: September 25th 2012
My rating: 4.5 Stars
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.
I was wowed by this story. Who would have thought the mix of Amish people, end-of-the-world, and vampires would make a bloody brilliant story?!! I was riveted, scared and on the edge of my seat in parts!
Katie is an Amish girl preparing for her Rumspringa, and she can hardly wait. Rumspringa literally means “running around,” and it’s a time when the Amish youth travel to the Outside and have a glimpse of life outside the walls of their community. That way, when they get baptized and commit to the Amish way and god, they are sure it’s what they want. Life seems to have other plans for Katie, because the Outside world has changed and soon Rumspringa will be the least of her concerns.
The Hallowed Ones started out basically giving us a look into the life the Amish, or the Plain Folk as they call themselves. I found it fascinating learning about their ways. They lead such a simpler life than most of us do, probably a more content one. It had me asking a lot of what-if questions, and had me wondering how I’d fare in a community like this.
Katie, was a girl I could totally relate to. She had a mind of her own and didn’t just accept what their leaders said at face value, although she often felt guilty about it afterward. I have similar reactions to authority, which doesn’t always turn out well, lol! When they find an Outsider at the edge of their fence, unconscious and injured, the Elders decide not only to leave him there, but to bar anyone from going in or out of the gates. Katie is outraged that her people would refuse aid, and disobeys the Elders order by bringing in and sheltering this stranger in an unused barn.
Inevitably, what’s been going on outside trickles in. Let me warn you right now, that parts of this story should not be read in the dark. I had chills and nervous energy thrumming through my body while reading this. There are some scary scenes and some pretty gruesome ones, as well, and I was lapping it up! I love it when a book scares the you-know-what out of me! Of course, I pay for it later when I’m too scared to shut the final light off before going to bed!
As if this story couldn’t get any better, we have romance too! I’ll admit, this was light on romance but it was enough, even for a romance junkie like me to be satisfied. This sent a thrill though me:
His fingers meshed in mine. I nodded wordlessly and moved away, pulling against his grip. But he didn’t let go. He reeled me back in as if I were a fish. With a startled gasp, I stumbled and landed against his chest. A flicker of amusement glittered in his eyes. He kissed me on my forehead, whispered against my skin. “Be careful Bonnet.”*
The Hallowed Ones pleasantly surprised me with an original story and captivating characters. The story ended and I immediately wanted more! I wasn’t pulling my hair out over the ending, but I felt like we were just at the halfway point. I guess we kind of are, because there’s a sequel coming in fall of 2013. I’ll be the first in line waiting to pick it up!
*Quote taken from and uncorrected proof and may change in the final copy.