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  • Writer's pictureSofiya Pasternack

Review: The Mystery of Black Hollow Lane

Author: Julia Nobel

Genre: mystery

Release Date: March 5th, 2019

Series: none


Emmy's dad disappeared years ago, and with her mother too busy to parent, she's shipped off to Wellsworth, a prestigious boarding school in England. But right before she leaves, a mysterious box arrives full of medallions and a note reading: These belonged to your father.

Just as she's settling into life at Wellsworth, Emmy begins to find the strange symbols from the medallions etched into the walls and stumbles upon the school's super-secret society, The Order of Black Hollow Lane. As Emmy and her friends delve deeper into the mysteries of The Order, she can't help but wonder—did this secret society have something to do with her dad's disappearance?

What I Liked

This is a great mystery for middle graders! The setting is very realistic and has a very sort of quasi-magical feel to it. One of my favorite parts of living in England was the history of the place. The house I rented was older than the USA (and haunted, according to the landlady, but he was a nice ghost and wouldn't bother us, so not to worry). So being transported into an old school-slash-church and remembering the feeling of living in a 350-year-old house made of thick stone with winding staircases and strange doors to nowhere was just wonderful. Emmy is a great protagonist who is wiser than her years, and her friends are great to read about. Lola is stubborn and unafraid, and Jack is careful and quietly thoughtful. The three of them together are a force to be reckoned with, and their mystery-solving skills lead them on grand adventures all over their school.

What I Would Have Liked to See

Some more British culture! I lived in England for a few years and the culture shock was for real, friends. There was definitely some stuff in this book that made me nostalgic for my time in England (in East Anglia, no less!) and I kind of wanted more.

My Favorite!

The Coventry carol making an appearance in the book! This is my favorite Christmas carol (we can talk later about a Jew having a favorite Christmas carol) because it's so haunting and sad. My favorite version was done by the King's College Choir years and years ago, and unfortunately I can't find it online anymore. But any version is beautiful, and it really hit me with that melancholic beauty as I read!


Emmy goes to a boarding school in England when her famous mom goes on tour. When she realizes her missing father used to go there, she starts to uncover mystery upon mystery, with her father--and herself--at the center of it.


I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley for my honest review. All thoughts are my own!



meet sofiya!

Sofiya Pasternack is a mental health professional, the highly-distractible author of Jewish MG and YA fantasy, and prone to oversharing gross medical stories.

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