The Mystery of Hollow Places

Book Information
Rating: Excellent
Reading/Interest Level: Young Adult
Author: Rebecca Podos
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Year: 2016
ISBN: 9780062373342
Pages: 304

Imogene Scott’s father has mysteriously disappeared and Immy is determined to find him. But before she can, Emmy has to find out what happened to her mother. Immy uncovers many secrets about her mother: that she dealt with bouts of powerful depression, that she never actually married Immy’s father, and that she now lives with her husband a short distance away. Immy contacts her mother and learns that she never could bring herself to contact Immy, but she did connect with her daughter through her artwork. After a painful discussion filled with uncovered truths, Immy finds her father at a beach-side hotel dealing with his own mental health issues. Immy talks with her dad and brings him home, deciding that they are a good enough family just as they are.

Rebecca Podos’s writing in her debut novel masterfully oscillates between witty and lyrically poignant. Imogene is a refreshingly deep character with many unique quirks and a narrative voice that rings with realism. Moreover, the journey of discovery that drives this story also drives Imogene’s character development to satisfying heights. The plot is interesting and multi-tiered pulling many threads together—Josh’s disappearance, the mystery of Immy’s mother, Immy’s own self-discovery—and weaving them into one, uniform story. The relationship between Immy and her step-mother Lindy did leave a little to be desired, especially since the ending revolves so much around Immy, Josh, and Lindy coming to terms with themselves as members of a family. But in summation this was a very well-written story of self-discovery and hope.

*Contains moderate language and mild scenes of teen partying and drinking.