- Paperback: 368 pages
- Publisher: Strange Chemistry (March 5 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1908844434
- ISBN-13: 978-1908844439
- Product Dimensions: 13 x 2.5 x 19.6 cm
- Shipping Weight: 340 g
- Average Customer Review: 3 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #3,234,002 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Holders Paperback – Mar 5 2013
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'A fierce and intelligent heroine, a sibling with a challenging destiny to discover, a heart-warming romance, and an X-men type school for special powers in the Emerald Isle, all add up to a superbly gripping tale. I loved Becca and can't wait to read more of her world. A fantastic read!'
– Suzanne McLeod, author of the Spellcrackers.com urban fantasy series
"Recommended to: Fans of X-Men, Fantasy buffs and anyone willing to have their world rocked. The Holders is a refreshing change in the Young Adult Fantasy arena, buy this book, hold it close to your chest and fall in love."
-Rebekah, Reflections of a Book Worm."
"I liked this one a lot! I would recommend it to fans of Veronica Roth, Veronica Rossi and Leigh Bardugo, or anyone who enjoys a good urban fantasy or books with a Celtic background...4.5/5 Stars"
"Unexpected betrayal, fascinating twists in the story, and the attraction between Becca and Alex makes his story an incredible read."
"Very well-written and unique, The Holders is an awesome read that will leave you with a strong hunger for the next book."
-My Crazy Book Obsession
"Becca and Alex's romance was so well done - bursting with believable romantic tension enough so that, had I been reading a physical copy, I would have been skipping ahead to try and find the next scenes involving them together."
"Although this is a YA novel, its depth makes it much more than that. If you’re into heroic, paranormal, fantasy novels with a touch of romance then you’ll want to know more about this one."
"The Holders is total awesomeness. The characters are wonderful. This storyline is fantastic. The romance is heart-melting. Julianna Scott is an awesome writer and storyteller."
-I Heart YA Books
"For the first time in a long while I became invested in the characters in this book as though I had been reading about them for a long time."
-Booky Ramblings of a Neurotic Mom
"The story has some great surprises and twists, lots of magic, lore, and dangerous excitement. I highly recommend picking this one up, I doubt you'll be disappointed! The next in this series will be high on my list of anticipated reads next year!"
-Stories & Sweeties
"Top-notch YA Urban Fantasy"
"What really worked for me in this story were the characters, and the intertwining relationships between them all. The back of this book might say it's about a school for people with powers, but really this book is about people, relationships, and watching them evolve."
About the Author
Julianna was born In Pittsburgh, Pensylvainia, and spent the majority of her educational career convinced she would be a musican. However, after recieving her music degree from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania, she realized that she'd been born in the wrong era for her dreams of singing jazz to adoring fans clad in zoot-suits and flapper dresses to come true, and began to wonder if her true calling might be elsewhere.
While Julianna had always excelled in writing throughout school, she'd never considered it a career possibility until about three years ago, when she'd gotten her first story idea and decided to go for it. She grabbed her laptop, started typing away, and has never looked back.
She lives in the Chicago area with her husband and two daughters. The author lives in Chicago, IL.
Showing 1-3 of 3 reviews
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The Holders revolves around Becca, a seventeen year old who has spent most of her life protecting her little brother, Ry. Ry has always been different from the other kids, and Becca is fiercely protective of him, so it only makes sense that she's highly suspicious when two men show up out of nowhere saying that they can help. In the end she decides that Ry can go with them - but only if she can go as well.
From there we're taken off to Ireland, truly a part of the book I really enjoyed. Ireland has always fascinated me, and the bits and pieces we glimpse throughout the book are compelling and interesting. Mixed into this is burgeoning romance and best of all - secret powers!
The abilities that come up in the book was something else I really enjoyed. I've always loved it when authors show us abilities that are rooted in 'our' world, and this book has plenty of those, from people who can read minds, cast illusions, move things and more. The way this is presented, from history to how it's passed down, to how they control it, is obviously well thought out and fascinating for someone like me who loves getting down to the intricacies of how things work and compelling worldbuilding.
The weak part of the book comes from a bit of predictability - I was able to guess at the major reveal in the book and also the major relationship that developed. The romance especially was a weak spot, for me - it felt as though it developed a bit quickly, for my tastes, and... Okay, I'll admit it, the age difference bothers me, though I'm not a prude. The connection between the two romantic leads is a bit tenuous, in my opinion - I've read concepts like this before, and it is very difficult to pull off. This book has more thought put into it than most, but I still found it a bit lacking.
Overall, though, The Holders is a great debut novel and I would definitely pick up the second book in the series!
Disclosure: An ARC was provided through Netgalley for review.
Author: Julianna Scott
Genre: Young Adult (YA), supernatural
Type: e-book, Advanced Reading Copy (ARC)
Series: 1st book in The Holders series
Publisher: Strange Chemistry
Publishing Date: March 5, 2013
First Line: "The moment I saw Ryland's silhouette in the window of our old tree house, I knew something was wrong."
My Thoughts: This was a good start to a new YA series. It has an interesting premise regarding supernatural powers and set in beautiful Ireland. The addition of Ireland's Celtic mythology, history and the beautiful Gaelic language set this book apart for me.
One of the things that had me wanting to get my hands on this book was the overall premise. I think it was because it had a very X-Men feel to it. Surprisingly, the major similarities didn't put me off but made me want to read this book even more. In The Holders we have a boarding school for 'special' kids set up by a brilliant and talented man, Jocelyn (ie. Professor X). In the past, Jocelyn knew a man Darragh (the Magneto of the book) who felt that the supernatural powers that were granted to these special few by the Irish gods should be used to gain power over mere mortals. Jocelyn vehemently disagrees and there lies the main conundrum. Very X-men, good vs evil, mutant versus mortal, right?
As I said, I don't have a problem with the X-Men similarities (which kind of surprised me). But ... if you're going to do a supernatural book I expect to see a lot of supernatural powers in the book. Unfortunately I felt like we just got a little hint at the powers that some of these Holders possess. I think that witnessing some of the powers that the Holders had would have helped me understand their world at St Brigid's better. This book was rather meek in showcasing the unique powers that these Holders possessed.
As for the characters? While I did like Becca and Alex as main characters it was a certain secondary character who stood out and made me want to keep reading. My favourite has to be Jocelyn, the rather mysterious headmaster of St Brigid's. We're given a glimpse into who he is but I'm really looking forward to seeing where his storyline goes (as well as learning more about his history). And yes, Jocelyn is a male. I will freely admit that I had never heard of using Jocelyn as a male name before (and was a little confused when he was first introduced) but apparently Jocelyn was originally a male name. Huh. Learned somethin' new.
While Becca and Alex were good main characters there were a few things that irked me a bit about them. Becca, for all her graduating high school at the age of 15, didn't come off as all that smart or mature. She seemed to be very obsessed with her little brother, Ryland and put off when he finally found a place and friends who accepted him.
Alex, while a very likable character, was a much more innocent leading man than I was expecting but I will admit that he balanced Becca's character well. While their relationship progressed rather quickly, I did find it sweet and I 'got' their connection. I appreciate the fact that Ms Scott didn't allow their relationship to overpower the storyline or become too saccharine/cheesy.
While Becca and Alex's relationship was well written my favourite relationship (and I feel the most authentic) was Becca's relationship with Jocelyn. I liked that it was very rocky and I look forward to seeing how their relationship progresses as the overall story unfolds in future books.
Overall, the story flowed very well and I think that's what helped keep my attention even though the story was rather predictable. Would I have liked more drama and action in the storyline? Yes, definitely. I do like to be on the edge of my seat with this kind of read and wasn't quite there until the very end of the book.
As you can see I kind of went back and forth with this book. I liked parts of it, enjoyed reading the book overall but there were some weaker spots as well. Ms Scott has written an intriguing first book of her series and while I feel this book lacked in a couple of areas I am interested enough to see where she'll be taking her characters in future books.
Note: My sincere thanks to Angry Robot and NetGalley for providing me with this complimentary e-book copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
My Rating: 3.5/5 stars
Reminiscent of Xmen, but the start of a brand new original YA series.
Loved it. I recommend!!
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
Ryland has been able to hear voices most of his childhood, and more than once, it has almost had him thrown into a psychiatric center. Becca, his over-protective older sister, has made it her job the past few years to make sure that doesn’t happen. When two strangers come to offer Ryland a chance to learn more about his ability and how to control it at a private school in Ireland for those with abilities like his, she is skeptical, but decides to go along.
Along the the way, the two discover that Ryland is a “holder”, coming from a long bloodline of people who were gifted with abilities. They also learn that their father, who disappeared shortly after Ryland’s birth without so much as a goodbye, is the leader of the school Ryland is to attend.
Going to the school brings several changes to both Becca and Ryland. As Ryland finds a place where he can fit in and not have to worry about his abilities hurting anyone or being hurt himself, his dependency on Becca’s protection decreases, leaving her feeling unwanted and unneeded. She finally has a chance to live her life for herself.
About the time that she realizes she can finally go to college without worrying about her brother, she discovers more about the history of the holders and the one they are hoping will save them from destruction.
This book is awesome. Filled with intrigue, romance and adventure, it’s a tale for everyone. Becca will do anything and everything it takes to protect her brother, and has left nothing for herself. She’s skipped going to college a couple of years so that she could be there if he needed her, and only recently took a job because her mother insisted it. She allows Ryland to go to the Ireland only if she can go as well and make sure he’s fine in his new situation.
I fell in love with the characters as well as the storyline. It was easy to see how Becca had sacrificed so much for Ryland and her devotion to continue doing so at the risk of losing any kind of life and friendship of her own. Top it off with the surprise three quarters of the way through the book about the holders and their “savior”, and this book is grade-A-awesome!
I loved the romance between Becca and Alex. It was a slow build up, which I prefer. I guess I should say, it wasn't totally slow paced bc there was instant attraction, but it still didn't feel rushed. The characters got to know one another before they realized that they were destined to be more. It reminds me of real life romance, not the typical "over-protective/stalkerish guy who just can't seem to stay away from" the "weak, shy, doesn't understand how she is worthy of aforementioned stalker bc he is so gorgeous and she is so stupid and plain even though she has like every guy in town on her tail and everyone is always telling her what a catch she is" girl that you typically find in young adult novels these days.
I thought that the pacing and world-building was also done well. I love anything that is supernatural so that is a good start. It was different from most of what I have been reading (a lot of faerie/angel/vampire/werewolf/demon hunter out there). I didn't get bored and I was eager to get to the next part of the novel and learn more about "holders" the entire time I was reading, and every time I was ripped away from this book to deal with "real life" I was biting at the bit to get back to it. It was interesting and there was just enough action. It reminds me of my favorite animes where they really focus on the relationships between people. Human emotion is in the forefront while the rest of the story kind of takes a back seat.
So why 4 stars? Honestly it was the price, it is worth the buy, but I didn't feel like it was long enough to justify over $5.00, especially since this is the first of a series. However, I will definitely read the sequel and pay whatever they ask :)