ARC Review: The Mystery of Hollow Places-Rebecca Podos

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Release Date: Jan 26, 2016


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.


3.5/5 Stars

***I received this eARC as a gift in exchange for an honest review through Goodreads


  • You’re looking for a book about self discovery and the search for meaning
  • You’re into coming of age contemporaries mixed with a little mystery
  • You want a book that is not romance-centric

The Mystery of Hollow Places is a story of lost and found, of the secret places in ourselves that we need to uncover to feel whole, and the hard truths and disappointments that we’re afraid to feel about our parents. 


  • The sleuthing is very Nancy Drew. The literary references to Rebecca and Sherlock Holmes were wonderful. The leaps and jumps to new leads and connecting the dots was spot on and invirgorating, kept the plot rolling forward.
  • Imogene (Immy) is introverted and philosophical; her internal dialogue is thoughtful and like a pep talk. The aching emptiness where her mother should be in her life is like a living, breathing thing supplanted by the half-stone heart (geode). For the most part, she’s level headed and quick witted, she adores her father and worships his story-weaving ability. She’s brave, she won’t let things like money or fear stop her from saving her father. 
  • Jessa is a true friend despite Imogene’s insistence that she’s more like a biological example of mutualism. They work with each other and fully accept each other’s quirks. Jessa knows who she is and embraces it, without the superficial, snobby popular and cliched attitude that is in a lot of YA. 
  • The bedtime story is brilliant. Those first few pages are captivating and whimsical, everything you could want in an opening. 
  • One of the best portrayals in the story is of parents. There are all kinds of parents and often, YA books will put them into one of two categories, the amazing, there for you parents that are more like friends or the failed parent. Imogene’s parents are not either, not fully. Parents can disappoint and hurt, they’re human and they don’t have all the answers. I liked and appreciated that Rebecca Podos showed parents as REAL people with their own issues. 


  • Deals with bipolar disorder but doesn’t really go into it. Imogene’s dad’s behavior would have been easier to understand had there even been a brief sentence or two to summarize the symptoms and side effects of going without medication. 
  • The meeting with Sidonie was a big letdown. After all this time and desperation, the gaping hole in herself where her mother should have been, Imogene kind of just…shrugs. The entire story is a build up to this moment and when it actually happens it was like it didn’t matter one way or another. The internal dialogue sort of explains the reaction a teensy bit but not enough to balance out the story. 

If you like any of the following, you’ll enjoy this:

Pleasant reading, 



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