Rebecca Podos’ debut novel, The Mystery of Hollow Places, is an intriguing mystery about a girl who sets off to find both her parents – the mother who abandoned her, and the father who seems to have abandoned himself.
Imogene’s life has never been all that easy. Her mother, suffering from depression, left her and her father when she was still very small. She had tried to be a good mother, but felt like she couldn’t, so she did the only thing she could – she left. Imogene’s father, a best selling mystery writer, had a difficult time dealing with her leaving. While he did remarry the family therapist, Lindy, he never really seemed to be all together happy again. While Imogene has a best friend, Jessa, she doesn’t really have any others, but she is sort of friends (with a longtime crush) on Jessa’s brother, Chad.
When Imogene’s father disappears, leaving no clues as to where he had gone, Imogene and Lindy are completely heartbroken, but they have no idea where he might have gone. Imogene relies on the old bedtime story that her father used to tell her, along with some of the clues in her father’s books, to try and piece together clues and find him. From having Jessa help her to break into the records room in the hospital where she was born, to driving across states to look for clues, Imogene uncovers little pieces of her past while she looks for the father she loves. However, she also begins to uncover some things about her mother, and tires to figure out if her father might have tried to find her, Imogene works her way through some family secrets and makes new discoveries about her parents, her past, and what lengths she will go through to find her family.
I enjoyed the whole mystery aspect of this book. Imogene’s character was interesting, and I admired her dedication to finding her dad, and uncovering secrets about her mother. While I hated the fact that Imogene’s mother just upped and left, I really disliked her more toward the end of the book. Imogene was really likable though, because she cared so much about her parents and just wanted her family. Imogene’s stepmother Lindy did what she could to try and bond with Imogene, but it didn’t always work, because Imogene just didn’t really want to let her in.
Imogene felt like she had to tackle the mystery of her missing father on her own, and it was interesting how she used some of the stuff from his books to put things together. The story was enjoyable, and it was definitely a promising first novel from author Rebecca Podos!
Note: I received an ARC copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.