ARC Review – The Mystery of Hollow Places by Rebecca Podos

22811780Title: The Mystery of Hollow Places

Author:  Rebecca Podos

Rating:  ★★★★★

Synopsis: 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.

Huge thank you to the publisher for sending me a copy of this book to review!

River’s Review:

I read this book in less than 24 hours. I read it in two sittings. I had momentary existential crisis while reading it. Parts of it took place down the street from my house.

I first heard about this book because it’s written by a friend of a friend and I was like hmmm friend I’ll have to read this book. I know that it’s not big on everyone’s lists, but it should be. Put it on your TBR now. It’s a beautiful novel about loss, love, mental illness and friendship. The writing is gorgeous and simple and clean and I just loved it so much.

It’s so weird for me to read books set in a place that I live (other than the handful of books set in Japan that I’ve gotten though). Nobody ever writes about Western Michigan (where I grew up), so it always kinda wigs me out a bit when I read about places that I’ve been to and know of. This book takes place in and around Boston. The characters eat at a restaurant that is five minutes away that I went to the friend of the author’s birthday party at. It just made this book feel so much closer and so much more real.

What is this book about? I’ve heard a lot of bloggers express not wanting to read this because they aren’t sure what it’s about. It’s about a girl who loses her mother and then her father and how she goes to find them. It’s about being friends with someone not because you have to, but because you want to. It’s about family that isn’t your blood. It’s about how mental illness and how it can effect everything around you… past and future.

Imogene (or Immy for short) only knows that her mother and father met when her mother went to the morgue to ID her grandmother’s dead body. Immy’s father was the medical examiner who did her grandmother’s autopsy. Immy’s parents fell in love and had her and when Immy was two, her mother left. Years later, when Immy’s in high school, her father re-marries and then one night, gets up and leaves the family.

Immy’s father, a famous author of medical mysteries, is bi-polar. Immy remembers the highs and lows. She thinks that her father has gone to find her mother and has left her clues. So Immy starts to search, using her father’s books as a “how to solve a mystery” guide and with the help of her best friend, her very own Watson, she does just that.

I loved that this book dealt with how mental illness in an adult can effect a teen. So often we see books where the teens are struggling, and it was very interesting to see how the adult in the picture is. Often times I read YA books where the parent disappears and you’re left wondering how could they do that? Exploring the way is important.

I really enjoyed the mystery in this too. Immy is smart and resourceful. I loved her best friend, Jessa, and how she helped Immy and stayed by her side even when things got tough.

Overall this is a beautiful book with some powerful messages and great writing. Please check it out!

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