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 shes 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.
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Praise for THE MYSTERY OF HOLLOW PLACES:
"The noir-like tone of Imogene’s first-person narrative is a perfect match for the gray, chilly New England winter atmosphere, and her frequent referencing of detective novels is not only a key component of her character but also a charming nod to the genre. Sharp plotting, unexpected twists, dynamic characters, and a sensitive treatment of mental illness make Podos a writer to watch."
—Booklist STARRED Review
"Imogene's fiercely determined to arm herself with the spirits of Lisbeth Salander, Annika Bengtzon, Sherlock Holmes, and her father's own protagonist, Miles Faye, to figure out her life's greatest mystery: the truth about her parents. Although there's a sprinkling of romantic tension and an authentically portrayed best friendship, the author smartly focuses on Imogene's journey of self-discovery. This heartfelt and page-turning debut introduces readers to a whip-smart and wise heroine."
—Kirkus STARRED Review
"Debut author Podos creates an engrossing mix of detective story and family story, as Imogene compulsively follows the trail but also beings to realize the fantasy that has driven her family narrative."
—BCCB STARRED Review
"Wholly original with a brilliant voice and gripping plot. This book utterly captivated me."
—Jasmine Warga, author of My Heart and Other Black Holes
"A page-turner ... with writing that’s crisp and efficient and characterization that’s strong and dynamic. This extraordinary debut novel from Rebecca Podos is an easy contender for a Morris or Edgar Award."
"Lit lovers, take note, particularly if you're a big fan of classic crime stories ... You're going to love Imogene, who is whip-smart, brave, tough, and realistic too."
"More than just a mystery, Hollow Places explores what it is to have and to miss a mother, in a wry, self-aware voice I couldn’t resist."
—B&N Teen Blog
"Podos gets the realer side of teenage angst just right in her debut…everyone from Imogene to her best friend to her stepmother defy stereotype in this haunting tale of identity. The setting also shines, as we’re thrust into New England winter and all it entails. A sublime, surreal treat."
—RT Book Reviews
"The most persistent heartbeat in "The Mystery of Hollow Places,' the refrain that holds everything together, is the reality of mental illness, how it can drive people to pull away from those they care about the most. With each step, Imogene draws closer to realizing that finding her parents probably won't take away the hurt of losing them in the first place...But at least she can fill her own hollow place with acceptance and truth."
"Debut author Podos makes capable use of believable characters and addictive clues to keep readers guessing. Through Immy’s preoccupation with du Maurier’s Rebecca, Podos provides the stirring thematic core of the novel—that obsession with the past can be its own form of dangerous curse."
“Podos delivers an eerie debut novel that is a solid homage to mysteries and Gothic novels alike."
—School Library Journal