Hollow Earth follows the adventure of Emily and Matt Calder, twins living with their mother in London. Like all young people, the twins’ imaginations keep them entertained, often getting them into trouble. 

But, unlike most 12 year olds, the twins gradually start to realise that they are different than most, and that their imaginations can do more than they -or anyone else- expected.

Who wrote it?

Hollow Earth is the first in the two-part series written by John and Carole E Barrowman and is their first novel for young adults. Readers might recognise John Barrowman for his role as Captain Jack in Doctor Who and Torchwood. Carole E Barrowman is a teacher of English and creative writing at Alverno College in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, regularly writing and talking about books on television.

What is it all about?

When the reader first meets the twins, they are sat in the National Gallery in front of a painting of a boy swimming in the River Seine. They are bored, warm and wishing they were anywhere else but there. It’s when Matt pulls out a sketchpad and starts to copy the painting that things change very quickly. One moment they are wishing they could go for a swim, the next they are splashing around in the River Seine- with the same boy they were drawing moments earlier!

From this point, the twins’ lives are turned upside down. Fleeing London to live with a long-lost grandfather on the island of Auchinmurn, they discover that they are part of a long line of Animare. The name is given to those who have the ability to bring a drawing or painting to life. Along with their grandfather, they also meet Zach, a Guardian in training. Guardians are there to protect their Animare and with that, they form a special bond. However, the twins soon discover that certain details about their lives are being kept from them, including the extent of their powers. They have questions, and lots of them.

But, with a society against them trying to bind their powers, and terrifying tales of a legend about Hollow Earth, the twins take it into their own hands- and imaginations- to solve the secrets being kept from them.

Why read it?

Hollow Earth is an adventure from beginning to end with enough imaginative power to satisfy any young reader. The novel itself is well thought out with artistic references and hints to real legends. The characters are so likeable and easy to root for and although they are good, rounded characters, it is their stubbornness and inability to follow instructions that makes them “real” twelve year olds. Although aimed at readers aged 9-12, the theme and storyline makes it appealing to an older reader and we have been quick to recommend it to fellow book lovers.


Hollow Earth and Bone Quill are available now, priced £6.99 each, paperback (Buster Books).


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