Published by HarperCollins on January 26th 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Mysteries & Detective Stories, Family, Parents, Social Themes, Depression & Mental Illness, Social Issues, General
Length: 6 hours and 46 minutes
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The Mystery of Hollow Places is a gorgeously written, stunningly original novel of love, loss, and identity, from debut author Rebecca Podos.
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 of a powerful loneliness, a woman who many referred to as “troubled waters.”
Now Imogene is seventeen, and her father, a famous author of medical mysteries, has struck out in the middle of the night and hasn’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. And she decides it’s up to her to put to use the skills she’s gleaned from a lifetime of reading her father’s books to track down a woman she’s only known in stories in order to find him and, perhaps, the answer to the question she’s carried with her for her entire life.
I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
I was not a fan of the narrator. There was this odd lilting tone that made it sound like the MC was super whiny all the time. During the voices for other characters, it was fine but since the book is in first person, all the inner dialogue and well, everything when other people weren’t talking, just GRATED on me. So… maybe I wouldn’t have disliked this book as much if it weren’t for the narrator? Perhaps. But I also wasn’t a fan of the story part of it either…
Imogene’s father has gone missing and she believes she is the only person who can find him (and maybe even her mother who left when she was a child). I really was intrigued by the premise because I am all about mysteries but to be honest, this was really light on the mystery side. There was a lot of obsessing about her best friend’s older brother, Chad, and I felt like it took up way too much of the book. Imogene came off sounding so much younger than being a senior in high school. I think that’s why all the boy talk annoyed me so much, because it sounded so trivial. I thought about this for a long time because hey, this is YA after all, but I read a lot of YA contemporary where the MCs obsess about boys and I LOVE it. So this is not a case of me being too old for the YA boy talk, at least I don’t think so, since I can think of so many other ones where I loved it.
Anyway, Imogene thinks she is the only person who can find her dad because of this stone he left behind that she believes he left as a clue for her. Which is all fine and good but she excludes this information from the police because of course, a seventeen year old girl knows so much better than the authorities. There is a point where her best friend Jessa tells her she should tell the information she knows to the police because it can help find her dad and she says no. Because she wants to find him? It drove me nuts because the police have a lot more resources and man power and they really could’ve used the information and in my opinion, if she had worked with them, found her dad sooner.
So she believes she knows best. But at a certain part, recruits Jessa’s older brother to make a phone call for her because she “needs a grown up” to do the call. I rolled my eyes so hard. So clearly, you recognize that you are not a grown up, but you’re trying to play at detective. And see what I mean by her sounding so much younger than a high school senior? You can’t even make a phone call and sound confident and authoritative? She literally says they need a grown up and I just got so so irritated.
I’ll admit that I wanted to DNF it and probably should’ve but I was just curious about what happened to her dad. It was interesting but kind of anticlimactic for me. I liked what it had to say about family but… gosh, I think I just disliked Imogene so much, nothing could salvage it. She’s also a jerk to her best friend and her step mom.
This mystery left a lot to be desired for me. It felt like there was more boy drama than mystery and I did not like the MC at all. She was annoying and felt written younger than her age. I just don’t think this book was for me, but that’s not to say you won’t like it — I think the rest of my GR friends enjoyed it. Give it a try, but as the narrator grated on my nerves, perhaps don’t try it on audio.