Review: Wollstone by Hayden Thorne

The moment Emil Gogean sets foot inside Wollstone Academy’s fairy tale-like campus, he realizes his freshman year in high school is bound to be a very strange one. The school itself, a uniquely romanticized boarding school for boys, boasts remarkable elements that appear to be deliberate -- as though a hidden power has chosen woodland details, a chapel ruin, and school masters who seem to hearken back to a long-gone age, with a clear purpose in mind.

When strange things begin to happen to Emil, an unnerving warning from his late grandmother returns to haunt him. A warning about Emil attracting the attention of the king of the dead.

Strange faces in wood patterns and mullioned windows. The apparition of a boy among the trees. The unfathomable feeling of sadness permeating the idyllic environment. Emil gradually learns that Wollstone is more than just a school, that the answers to a three-hundred-year-old mystery surrounding a tragic romance lie in the ruined stones of a small chapel and in Nature itself. And that Emil, whose appearance in school has set certain wheels in motion, will have to place himself at the mercy of three mysterious students if he wishes to learn the truth about Wollstone, the boy lost in the woods, and himself.

Before I even start my review about the story I want to draw your attention to the cover - isn't it beautiful? It really appealed to me anyway and that, along with the blurb and it's YA premise, is what drew me to this book and accept this review request.

Set in a boarding school, new kid at school, Emil, is no stranger to the supernatural. He is aware of the presence of more than most can see, but it isn't a huge part of his life - til now. Sent to Wollstone Academy at the wish of his beloved (and now dead) grandmother, Emil quickly realises there is more to this ancient school than first meets the eye. Time and events ensure he is soon knee-deep in a three hu7ndered year old mystery.

Although Emil is a gay character, and in a way this is integral to the storyline - it's about loves lost - it is not a book about a teenager dealing with being gay. It is a mystery story, a ghost story, a paranormal story, whose protagonist happens to be gay. i think more books of this structure should be available mainstream. But now is not the time for a political debate on reading materials and how available they are to the younger generation.

Hayden Thorne has created a wonderful mystery, great characters and a fabulous setting....and this is where I have a confession to make.

This book took me ages to read because I was bored by it. But for the life of me I can't figure out why. I am wholly convinced it is firmly a case of it's me, not you. My head is a weird place, some very, very popular books just don't work for me. On paper everything about this book should have dragged me in and had me hooked. I've analysed and re-analysed why this isn't the case....and I am yet to come to a conclusion. I can't actually fault anything about it, yet it didn't work for me. I would hate others to be put of by my apathy towards it though. This is the kind of book I do want out there, available.

Maybe I've finally convinced myself I'm not a teenager anymore(hell it only took twenty odd years). Maybe I am just not the target market. Whatever. If this book interests you give it a go. I truly cannot say why it didn't work for me - and I really would like to see it succeed. I'd love people who have read this and enjoyed it to let me know, I want to work out why I didn't - I almost feel like I failed this story and it's author. I truly hope you love it.
A copy of this book was given in exchange for an honest review.

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