Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Review: The Mystery of Hollow Places by Rebecca Podos

The Mystery of Hollow PlacesTitle:  The Mystery of Hollow Places 
Author:  Rebecca Podos
Publisher: Balzer and Bray
Publishing Date: January 26th 2016
Pages: 304
Genre: YA Realistic Fiction/Mystery
Series: Stand Alone
Source: ARC 
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.

Rebecca Podos' debut is a powerful, affecting story of the pieces of ourselves that remain mysteries even to us - the desperate search through empty spaces for something to hold on to.

This book caught my attention right away and I knew I wanted to read it. I love a good mystery. This one sounded emotional and good. and it was. A very enjoyable read. I liked the story, I liked the mystery, I liked liked the characters, and I liked all the stuff in between.  This  read was good at fulfilling the mystery lover in me and the realistic fiction lover in me. 

Imogene Scott lives with her father and her stepmother. Her mother disappeared when she was really young. She knows two things. Her father loved her mother and her father loves her. The day that her father turns up missing is the day her world gets turned upside down. Imogene will have none of this. She will not settle for a missing father and knows he wouldn't just get up and leave her for no reason. She starts to unravel clues to when he is and follows the trails. She gets more than what she bargained for of course. And that is when it gets emotional. 

I enjoyed this read. It was good for the mystery and for the realistic fiction. I really liked Imogene and she wasn't hard to connect to at all. She was the only character I connected to but the story was more about her growth and her discoveries. So I was okay with this. All the other characters were kind of off in the background as noise. 

Imogene was a pretty strong character but not a very emotionally sound person to me. She knew what she wanted but did not know how to deal with her discoveries. She didn't want change in her life or to accept that her life was anything other than what she always saw on the surface. She buried things. That is how she dealt. In looking for her father she discovered there were many things she needed to come to terms with and deal with. Of course it didn't really happen until the end. 

The other character that I liked was her stepmother. Now I didn't realize this until the end of the book, because I saw everything through  Imogene's eyes and she didn't really like her stepmother. She didn't dislike her... she was just there on Imogene's life and she accepted that. In the end though... she turned out pretty okay. 

The story was really easy to read. It was almost too easy at times. It felt more of a story for a younger teen in the writing but maybe not in the content. The mystery kept me wanting to read more. I knew where it would end up but didn't. I knew she would eventually find her mother or her father or both but didn't know how she would find them or if all would be right when she found them. It kept the pages turning. 

The only issue I really had with the book was the ending was wrapped up just a little to pretty for me. That is why I mentioned it felt like it was written for a younger crowed. A little to happy of an ending for the kind of emotional book it was. However this did not take away from the enjoyment of the book.I just think it didn't have as much of a punch in the end. 

I liked it. I read it quickly and ended it with a feel good feeling. I enjoyed it truly.

Rebecca Podos' debut YA novel, THE MYSTERY OF HOLLOW PLACES, is forthcoming from Balzer + Bray (HarperCollins) on 1/26/16. A graduate of the Writing, Literature and Publishing program at Emerson College where she won the M.F.A. Award for Best Thesis, her fiction has been published in Glimmer Train, Glyph, CAJE, Paper Darts, Bellows American Review, and Smokelong Quarterly. Past Awards include the Helman Award for Short Fiction, the David Dornstein Memorial Creative Writing Prize for Young Adult Writers, and the Hillerman-McGarrity Scholarship for Creative Writing. She works as a YA and MG agent at the Rees Literary Agency in Boston


  1. Thanks for the review! I'm not sure this is the book for me, but I'm glad you enjoyed it! I just don't think I'll like a book with only one character at the forefront.

    ~ Lefty @ The Left-Handed Book Lover

  2. I wouldn't have suspected that this would be suitable for a younger audience - they really didn't market it that way. I'm glad you enjoyed this one, even if the main character was quite introverted. :-)

  3. Ohh, I don't think it would be hard to connect to, but I think for me, I'd have a hard time dealing with her because she'd probably frustrate me, and probably the writing, too. I honestly don't like when it's aimed at YA, (at the mature YA considering she's seventeen) and it feels younger. :( Glad you enjoyed it though, even with the quickly tied up ending.


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