(Image from Barnes & Noble)
Aside from a mystical tale about her parents meeting over a dead body at the morgue, Imogene Scott knows little about her mother. Only two facts stand out: Sidonie Scott suffered from depression and she left when Immy was just a toddler. Since then, Immy has relied only on her father, a forensic anthropologist turned bestselling mystery writer. Although her stepmother, Lindy, tries, she and Immy just don't see eye-to-eye. So, when her father fails to come home one night, Immy is naturally distraught. Prone to bi-polar episodes, Joshua Scott could be anywhere doing anything. Because of a vague clue he left behind, Immy believes her father is searching for Sidonie, his one true love. If she can track down her long-lost birth mother, she knows she'll find Joshua as well.
Raised on a steady diet of mystery novels, Immy knows a thing or two about solving difficult puzzles. Using methods gleaned from her favorite stories—including those written by her dad—she uses the few clues she has to follow the trails of her missing parents. As she separates the facts from the fiction she's been told, Immy will make some shocking discoveries about her parents and herself. The more that's revealed, the more she comes to appreciate her perfectly imperfect family, friendships, and future. But, the answers to her deepest questions remain elusive—What happened to Joshua Scott? Does Sidonie have anything to do with his disappearance? Most importantly, why did Immy's mother abandon her? And will Immy's already broken family ever be whole again?
Traditional-type mysteries are a rarity in the world of YA. The Mystery of Hollow Places, a debut novel by Rebecca Podos, thus feels like a breath of fresh air, even though it's really not all that original. Still, there's something to be said for a teen book that focuses more on a mystery than on a romance (or, God forbid, a love triangle) or petty high school dramas. At its heart, The Mystery of Hollow Places is about Immy trying to find someone—not her parents, but herself. All of these elements, plus the story's exciting, fast-paced plot, make it an enjoyable read. I would have liked to encounter more twists in Immy's road to self-discovery (and mystery-solving), but overall, the book kept me both engrossed and entertained. I'm anxious to see what Podos does next.
If this were a movie, it would be rated:
for language (a dozen or so F-bombs, plus milder expletives); brief references to illegal drug use and underage drinking; and non-graphic references to sex
To the FTC, with love: Another library