Twins Matt and Emily have very unusual abilities - anything that they draw they can bring to life and they can step into a painting or picture and visit another world for an adventure. Although their abilities are fun to use they are also rare and highly sought after by people who want to use them to do harm. The twins are only just learning about the danger they are in and why their mother has always tried to keep their powers secret. Forced to go into hiding they go to stay with their grandfather on a remote island off the coast of Scotland, there they will learn more about their heritage and find out about Hollow Earth.
As a massive fan of John Barrowman as soon as I discovered he had written a YA book with his sister Carole I knew I wanted to read it. I was intrigued by the synopsis and looking forward to reading about characters with such unusual abilities. I'm not sure why I thought that the story was going to be aimed at older teens but it is actually meant for the younger end of the market. The main characters are 12 and I think the story is fantastic for children around that age or younger but as an adult I didn't find it as captivating as I'd hoped to. Although it was an enjoyable story it didn't wow me as much as I hoped it would.
Having said that I really enjoyed finding out about Matt and Emily's abilities. When the twins get in trouble after jumping into a painting at an art gallery I couldn't help but picture the scenes in Mary Poppins where they end up inside the chalk drawings and it brought a smile to my face. I liked the fact that the twins were so close and looked out for each other and I also enjoyed finding out about their family and the history of the Animare. I felt like I wanted more though, we don't really find out much about Hollow Earth which surprised me considering the title of the book. I have heard that this is the first book in a planned trilogy (although I couldn't find official confirmation of that) so hopefully that explains why I was left with so many questions.
Hollow Earth is a great adventure story for younger readers and I can see it becoming a popular bedtime story but it might not have enough to capture the attention of older readers. If you have a particular interest in art or enjoy reading younger YA fiction then you'll probably love it too. I am curious to find out what happens to Emily and Matt in the next book but I'm not sure if I enjoyed this one enough to continue reading the series.