I read quite a lot of ARCs from this publisher - Angry Robot - and this book is an example of the reason why. I really enjoyed it, it is a great example of YA fantasy. The plot centres around Becca, a clever American teen, whose main focus in life is taking care of her younger brother Ryland. Ryland hears voices that aren't there, and the authorities are quite keen to institutionalise him. One day two men come from a school that is run by Becca's father. He left when Becca was 7, abandoning her mother, and she is understandably very angry with him. The men want to take Ryland to this school in Ireland. After some debate Becca agrees to this - but only if she can go too - and thus opens up a world of magic, romance and danger.
I gobbled this book up in one sitting, and was devastated to reach the end. I can't quite put my finger on why I liked it so much. Becca is a good main character, not stupid, passive or soppy. She does, however, fail to notice several very obvious things. The plot of this book is not subtle, and everything that happens is very obvious (to everyone but Becca) - you will not be surprised by anything that occurs. That might be part of its charm I suppose - like a Disney film, you know what you are going to get before you sit down.
The supporting cast are good, it is nice to see a love interest who is a decent and kind fellow rather than controlling or stalkerish although he could do with a bit more personality. I also liked how the relationship between Becca and her father is played out. I hope that it continues to be written this way - no trite platitudes but with genuine flaws in both parties.
The predictably could be considered a bit of a downside. This is not high literature. Additionally the main plot is dangerously close to plagiarising the TV series Heroes. Holders is a great read, however, and I can think of a number of girls in my library who will go crazy for it. It has left me wanting more.