Monday, January 18, 2016

Review: The Mystery of Hollow Places by Rebecca Podos

Title: The Mystery of Hollow Places
Author: Rebecca Podos
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Age Group: Young Adult
Category: Contemporary/Mystery
Release date: January 26th, 2016
Pages: 304 (ARC)
Rating: 3 out of 5
Source: Publisher
Goodreads | Amazon Author

All Imogene Scott knows of her mother is the bedtime story her father told her as a child. It's the story of how her parents met: he, a forensic pathologist, she, a mysterious woman who came to identify a body. A woman who left Imogene and her father when she was a baby, a woman who was always possessed by a powerful loneliness, a woman who many referred to as troubled waters. 

When Imogene is seventeen, her father, now a famous author of medical mysteries, strikes out in the middle of the night and doesn't come back. Neither Imogene's stepmother nor the police know where he could've gone, but Imogene is convinced he's looking for her mother. She decides to put to use the skills she's gleaned from a lifetime of her father's books to track down a woman she's never known, in order to find him and, perhaps, the answer to the question she's carried with her for her entire life.

Imogene has never known her mother--nothing more than the story of how her parents met.  She can't even remember what she looks like, since she left before Imogene was even two years old.  When her father disappears on Valentine's Day, leaving behind what she believes to be a clue, she knows that if she can track down the woman she knows so little about, she'll be able to find him, too.

The Mystery of Hollow Places is a wonderfully written novel that handles heavy topics- such as mental illness, broken families, and abandonment- in the most graceful way.  Imogene is a brilliant character that I could empathize with.  She has incredible determination and does the best with what little she has.  The relationships are what make this story worthwhile, not only with family and what lengths they will go to for each other, but her friendships with Jessa and Chad, as well.  Although the stress puts everyone on edge, it's clear that their bond is strong enough to hold them together no matter what.

I really enjoyed the journey, even though I already had a hunch as to how this story would end.  Imogene used her dad's mystery novels to help her, but real life doesn't always work out the way you hope it will.  This book is about so much more than the mystery behind her parents disappearance and why.  The author tries to show readers what it's like to suffer from a mental illness and how it's different for everyone; how others who are on the outside might not be able to understand why someone would choose to make certain decisions.

While this isn't the kind of mystery that makes your heart pound, it will keep you turning the pages.  Quite possibly my favorite thing about The Mystery of Hollow Places is that although it's a little on the heavier side, topic-wise, it isn't overwhelmingly sad.  It's a solid, entertaining read, but I don't feel that it will stick with me in the long-run.  I would definitely like to read more from this author in the future, because she has great potential as a storyteller.

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