The hollow was the perfect place to hide.
Or so Free’s dad thought. He hadn’t consulted her on his impulsive plan: flee California, Free’s five-year-old brother illegally in tow, hide out in McDowell County, West Virginia, make fast cash during ginseng season, and then escape to a nicer place where the law won’t find them. Seventeen year-old Free isn’t thrilled about living in a holler alongside rednecks and thieves, but she is willing to do whatever it takes to keep her little brother safe.
With their father disappearing into the hollow with increasing frequency, Free and Little exist largely alone—until their neighbor Cole appears—with lots of questions.
Cole’s spent his entire life in the holler—and his entire life working out a way to leave his druggie mother and incarcerated brother. As the editor of the school newspaper, he’s an expert in getting to the bottom of a story, and he’s determined to crack Free—who seems un-crack-able. Until her dad is caught stealing and the family she was desperate to protect is ripped apart.
Free suddenly needs Cole, and as her plan of escaping McDowell County escalates at a thrilling pace, she can’t deny the inexplicable pull she feels toward him. To repair what her father has broken, Free turns to Cole for help, the only person willing. But as they become closer, and Free’s feelings deepen for Cole, she finds that he needs her help as much as she needs his.
A Young Adult novel by