Length: 304 pages
Source: eARC from publisher
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.
Thank you to Balzer & Bray / Harper Collins for sending me this book in exchange for an honest review.
THE MYSTERY OF HOLLOW PLACES was a fascinating and engaging read. Imogene, whose father has suddenly disappeared, is convinced that she can figure out where he went as well as find her true mother by using the mystery skills she has obtained from her father’s stories.
Imogene is convinced that she can figure out where her father is if she finds her mother. What I really appreciated about this book was the surrealistic nature of Imogene and how she was so convinced that her father had left clues for her to find him; it was quite enthralling to read her thoughts about finding her parents.
Another aspect of the book that I loved was the diversity. As you may know, I’m a sucker for diversity in YA. Imogene is half-Asian, half-white, and Podos definitely shines light on the fact that not all characters in YA fiction are Caucasian, which I extremely appreciated.
On the other hand, an aspect of the novel that I was unsure about was how easy everything was for Imogene. For example, she takes public transportation without a phone or any travel necessities over the course of a few days, but she doesn’t seem to be in any trouble. She also manages to break into hospital records, retrieve private information from employers — essentially stalk her own mother. Realistically speaking, Imogene shouldn’t have been able to get through all those thresholds without involving some sort of law enforcement.
Also, I’m not lying when I say this, but Imogene and Chad TOTALLY had a thing (I swear!). Honestly, there was so much chemistry between the two that I really expected them to get together by the end of the book, which unfortunately did not happen. I’m not saying that every YA has to have a romance (even though many of them do), but I now, in a way, understand why Podos didn’t put Chad and Imogene together — I suppose it has to do with the building friendship-brother/sister relationship rather than a romantic one.
Overall, despite some unrealistic aspects of the book that ultimately made me quite confused, the overarching themes of the novel were incredible. I would recommend this book to you if you love mystery/whirlwind adventures!