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Category Archives: Mysteries

One of Us Is Lying

Title: One of Us Is Lying
Author: Karen McManus
Series:  N/A
Recommended for: 7th grade & up
Pages: 361
Call Number/Link:  Teen Fiction McManus

Synopsis: On Monday afternoon, five students at Bayview High walk into detention. Bronwyn, the brain, is Yale-bound and never breaks a rule.  Addy, the beauty, is the picture-perfect homecoming princess. Nate, the criminal, is already on probation for dealing. Cooper, the athlete, is the all-star baseball pitcher.And Simon, the outcast, is the creator of Bayview High’s notorious gossip app.

Only, Simon never makes it out of that classroom. Before the end of detention, Simon’s dead. And according to investigators, his death wasn’t an accident. On Monday, he died. But on Tuesday, he’d planned to post juicy reveals about all four of his high-profile classmates, which makes all four of them suspects in his murder. Or are they the perfect patsies for a killer who’s still on the loose?
Everyone has secrets, right? What really matters is how far you would go to protect them.

Review: As far as mysteries go, this one was one of the better ones I’ve read. It didn’t make me hate it & I didn’t have it all figured out in the first 10 pages. However, it’s still pretty predictable. I had most of it figured out about a third of the way in. There were a few small details I missed, but generally got it as a whole. My biggest issues with the book was about stereotypical the characters were & how it dealt with mental illness/depression. The characters never really moved out of their “brain, jock, beauty, bad boy” characteristics. Cooper is the closest, but his surprise twist isn’t handed well. The cops literally out him as they let information leak about the case and why he would be a suspect. (Can we just say shody police work too?) The “surprise” twist comes in the fact that Simon set it all up and killed himself, but wanted to take them down/make them suffer for a year along the way. The reason? He was depressed. However, never do we really see that he’s depressed. Instead, we see a kid with a god complex who wants revenge & has used his “power” to manipulate and destroy people for years. It was a highly thought out plan that was complex and well tuned. Could he have been depressed? Of course, but shouldn’t have been the base for all this. He was a kid with serious issues that went way beyond depression, especially consider some other things we learned about him. Throwing in the depression almost vilified it/suicide and just made me feel weird. Honestly, if she had just taken out the depression part, which was maybe only mentioned in the last 30 pages, I would have liked this one much more. As it, it’s a meh book–one I can see teens thinking is okay (most of the book teens were okay, but not love) but no grand slam for sure.

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Posted by on September 24, 2017 in Mysteries, Teen

 

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Theodore Boone, Kid Lawyer

theodore-booneTitle: Theodore Boone, Kid Lawyer
Author: John Grisham
Series: Theodore Boone
Recommended for: 4th grade and up
Pages: 263 pages
Call Number/Link:  TEEN FICTION GRISHAM, J.

Synopsis: With two attorneys for parents, thirteen-year-old Theodore Boone knows more about the law than most lawyers do. But when a high profile murder trial comes to his small town and Theo gets pulled into it, it’s up to this amateur attorney to save the day. 

Theo is a good kid who likes to help others. He happens to know the law because of his parents both being lawyers. So kids come up to him with their parents problems and ask for help.  That felt real unrealistic to me, but this is fiction.  In this book Theo is approached by a kid that knows a persons that is an eyewitness to a huge murder trial. This would be the only eyewitness to the murder, but the trail is already underway and Theo does know what to do.  So most of the book he is trying to figure out what to do, while random cases come to him.  This was an ok read for me.  I was expecting a lot more out of John Grisham.  The whole time I felt like I was getting lectured.  I may try reading the next to see if this first book was just setting the stage for the next in the series.

 
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Posted by on October 18, 2016 in Mysteries, Teen

 

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Never Missing, Never Found

27190610Title: Never Missing, Never Found
Author:  Amanda Panitch
Series: N/A
Recommended for: 8th Grade & Up
Pages: 320
Call Number/Link:  Teen Fiction Panitch

Synopsis: Some choices change everything. Scarlett chose to run. And the consequences will be deadly.

Stolen from her family as a young girl, Scarlett was lucky enough to eventually escape her captor. Now a teen, she’s starting a summer job at an amusement park. There are cute boys, new friends, and the chance to finally have a normal life.

Her first day on the job, Scarlett is shocked to discover that a girl from the park has gone missing. Old memories come rushing back. And now as she meets her new coworkers, one of the girls seems strangely familiar. When Scarlett chose to run all those years ago, what did she set into motion? And when push comes to shove, how far will she go to uncover the truth . . . before it’s too late?

Review:  This book is my…man, I just don’t know. I keep reading these thrillers in hope of getting one that’s awesome, but I’m continuously let down. This one was hard enough to follow at times due to the jumping back and forth from past to present. I’ll be honest in that the past scenes were much more interesting than the present timeline. But then you get to the end and it’s like SERIOUSLY?! This is an unreliable narrator to the max. In fact, I truly question how truthful the past scenes were now.

But will teens like it? Maybe? Either they’ll love it or be completely frustrated/disappointed like I was. The ending twist caught me off guard, but I guessed a lot of the rest as the story unfolded. Or at least guessed their involvement. I would say give this one to teens are who older and newer-ish to the thriller scene. I think teens who are well-read in this area will see it mostly as predicable.

 
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Posted by on July 12, 2016 in Mysteries, Realistic, Teen

 

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Defender

25902252Title: Defender
Author: Graham McNamee
Series:
Recommended for: 8th Grade & Up
Pages: 240
Call Number/Link:  Teen Fiction McNamee, G

Synopsis: They call her Tiny, but Tyne Greer is six foot six, a high school basketball star who is hoping the game will be her ticket out of the slum. She lives in a run-down building called The Zoo, where her father is the superintendent. One day she discovers a crack in the wall of an abandoned basement room. And sealed up in the wall is a girl’s body. Horrified, she runs to get her dad. But after he goes to take a look, he comes back and tells Tyne that nothing’s there. No girl. No body. He tells her she must be seeing things in the dark.

Tyne is sure it was real, though, and when she finds evidence that the body was moved from the hole in the wall, she knows the only one who could have done it is her father. But why? What is he hiding?

Tyne’s search for answers uncovers a conspiracy of secrets and lies in her family. The closer she gets to the truth, the more dangerous it becomes for her. Because some will do anything to bury the past…and keep her silent.

My Review: I really liked this one a lot. It was quick read and would be perfect for reluctant readers. This murder mystery is engaging and sucks you right in & holds you all the way until the end. (I only guessed who it was towards the end & the reason I couldn’t place at all!) The ending felt a bit jarring, but I understand that the author was just trying to wrap all any loose ends/answer questions that the reader may have. There’s a couple of unbelievable moments, but for the most point this was was right on target.

 
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Posted by on April 30, 2016 in Mysteries, Realistic

 

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Zero Day

Zero DayTitle: Zero Day
Author: Jan Gangsei
Series: N/A
Recommended for: 7th Grade and Up
Pages: 359 pages
Call Number/Link:  TEEN FICTION GANGSEI, J.

Synopsis: Eight years after being kidnapped Addie Webster, now sixteen, resurfaces under mysterious circumstances, significantly changed, and her childhood best friend, Darrow Fergusson, is asked by a national security advisor to spy on her to uncover whether she is a threat to her father’s Presidency or the nation.

This is a well written story that has many layers. I like that at each chapter you get a little bit more of the story. For the most part Addie is the narrator, but other characters get to tell their part of the story.  I spent most of the time trying to figure out who took her and for what reason.  This is Jan Gangsei’s first novel, and I look forward to see what else she comes up with.

 
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Posted by on March 30, 2016 in Mysteries, Teen

 

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Scarlett Undercover

23197297Title: Scarlett Undercover
Author: Jennifer Latham 
Series: N/A
Recommended for: 6th grade and Up
Pages: 320
Call Number/Link:  Teen Fiction Latham, J.

Synopsis: Meet Scarlett, a smart, sarcastic, kick-butt, Muslim American heroine, ready to take on crime in her hometown of Las Almas. When a new case finds the private eye caught up in a centuries-old battle of evil genies and ancient curses, Scarlett discovers that her own family secrets may have more to do with the situation than she thinks — and that cracking the case could lead to solving her father’s murder.

My thoughts: First, let me say YAY for diversity, because YAY! It’s awesome to see a Muslim main character. Other than that, this one falls into the okay category for me. It’s fast paced and pulls you in right away, but then takes this sort weird supernaturally/mythological turn. By the end, I’m not sure if I should believe the legend that her family and many other for years and years and years have been a part of or if it’s simply the madness of an overzealous cult. I lean more towards the first, but still I would have enjoyed it had it not added in that craziness. Also, it seemed super convenient how everything ended up.

Scarlett herself is a great character. She has a lot of sass and spunk, but sometimes the way she though/spoke drove me insane (think old time detective stories). The side characters, especially her sister and a friend or two, held a lot of potential, but felt kind of one-dimensional. I just wanted MORE, but never really got it. Even the love/romance just sort of felt there.

 

If you can get pass the flaws, this is one worth checking out. While it’s a stand alone at the moment, there is room to make this into a series. Should that happen, I would totally pick it up as there is quite a bit of potential to tap into.

Read-a-likes:
Deadly Cool by Gemma Halliday
Dance of the Shadows by Yelena Black (If they want the supernatural spin mystery)

 
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Posted by on July 30, 2015 in Mysteries, Realistic, Teen

 

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All Fall Down

all fall downTitle: All Fall Down
Author: Ally Carter
Series: Embassy Row Book # 1
Recommended for: 6th Grade and up
Pages: 310 pages
Call Number/Link:  TEEN FICTION CARTER, A. 

Synopsis:

Grace Blakely is absolutely certain of three things:1. She is not crazy.
2. Her mother was murdered.
3. Someday she is going to find the killer and make him pay.As certain as Grace is about these facts, nobody else believes her — so there’s no one she can completely trust. Not her grandfather, a powerful ambassador. Not her new friends, who all live on Embassy Row. Not Alexei, the Russian boy next door, who is keeping his eye on Grace for reasons she neither likes nor understands.Everybody wants Grace to put on a pretty dress and a pretty smile, blocking out all her unpretty thoughts. But they can’t control Grace — no more than Grace can control what she knows or what she needs to do. Her past has come back to hunt her . . . and if she doesn’t stop it, Grace isn’t the only one who will get hurt. Because on Embassy Row, the countries of the world stand like dominoes, and one wrong move can make them all fall down.

– (Scholastic)

Grace can only remember little bits about the day her mom died.  What she remembers is her mom being shot by a man with a scar. Graces’ family has been trying to convince her that her mom died in an accidental fire.  Is Grace crazy? Did she make the whole memory up? Who should she believe?  The first half of the book you are getting to know the different characters that live on Embassy Row.  The last quarter of the book is where most of the action happens. This book was enjoyable to read.  I was hoping for more action, but I can tell the author is laying the ground work for the next book.  I am putting this for 6th grade and up because a huge part of this book is dealing with Grace’s internal struggle with what she thinks she sees and what everyone whats her to believe happened.

 
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Posted by on February 9, 2015 in Mysteries, Teen

 

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