Drop Shadow

Hollow Chest

By Brita Sandstrom


Debut author Brita Sandstrom arrives with a sweeping, unforgettable historical ghost story of the darkness around and inside us, and the courage it takes to keep hope alive.

Charlie has been having nightmares—visions of eyes in the dark, of claws on his chest, holding him down—ever since German bombs rained down on London, taking his father’s life, taking his city’s spirit, taking his beloved brother, Theo, off to WWII in France. But soon, Theo will be home, and even if Charlie’s grandpa Fitz warns him that soldiers sometimes come back missing a piece of themselves, Charlie isn’t worried. Whatever Theo has lost, Charlie will help him find it.

When Theo finally does return, however, he is cold and distant. Their family, like the city itself, feels more broken than ever. And Charlie soon discovers the reason for his brother’s change: war wolves–terrifying ancient beasts who consume the hearts of those broken by grief and loss. If Charlie truly wants to save his brother, he’s going to have to find them.

But can a heart that’s been consumed ever be replaced?

Brita Sandstrom

Brita Sandstrom is a graduate of Hamline University’s MFA program in writing for children and young adults. Hollow Chest is her first book. She lives with her family and collection of cats in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

“War-ravaged London spring[s] vividly to life in Sandstrom’s exceptional debut, provid[ing] a rich setting through which to examine the fragility and incredible resilience of the human heart.”

- Booklist

"Sandstrom’s debut impresses with its sympathetic characters and smooth, evocative writing."

- Kirkus

“In this poetic debut, Sandstrom tells a story that is equally tender and terrifying.”

- Publishers Weekly

“Hollow Chest is remarkable on so many levels—its exquisite writing, its startling originality, its deep empathy. An astonishing debut.”

- Anne Ursu, award-winning author of The Lost Girl

“Brita Sandstrom’s debut is the rare sort of book that gives new language to old truths. Tender, sweet, painful, and brave, Hollow Chest is full of astonishing love.”

- Elana K. Arnold, award-winning author of The House That Wasn't There

"I read this book breathlessly, ardently, my heart thumping in my chest. Brita Sandstrom has woven a story stitched through with hope and terror and longing. At its center is the utter audacity of love - how we hang on even when we are broken, and how we must never let go. A lovely, moving debut."

- Kelly Barnhill, Newbery Medal-winning author of The Girl Who Drank the Moon


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Published by Walden Pond Press an Imprint of HarperCollins Publishers