Tag Archives: Mystery

A Question of Holmes by Brittany Cavallaro

A Question of Holmes by Brittany Cavallaro. March 5, 2019. Katherine Tegen Books, 320 p. ISBN: 9780062840226.  Int Lvl: YA; Rdg Lvl: YA; Lexile: 720.

In the explosive conclusion to the New York Times bestselling Charlotte Holmes series, Holmes and Watson think they’re finally in the clear after graduating from Sherringford…but danger awaits in the hallowed halls of Oxford.

Charlotte Holmes and Jamie Watson finally have a chance to start over. With all the freedom their pre-college summer program provides and no one on their tail, the only mystery they need to solve, once and for all, is what they are to each other.

But upon their arrival at Oxford, Charlotte is immediately drawn into a new case: a series of accidents befell the theater program at Oxford last year, culminating in a young woman going missing on the night of a major performance.

The mystery has gone unsolved; the case is cold. And no one—least of all the girl’s peculiar, close-knit group of friends—is talking.

When Watson and Holmes join the theater program, the “accidents” start anew, giving them no choice but to throw themselves into the case. But as the complicated lines of friendship, love, and loyalty blur, time is running out—and tragedy waits in the wings.

Sequel to: The Case for Jamie

Part of series: Charlotte Holmes (Book 4)

Potentially Sensitive Areas: Strong language, Strong sexual themes, Cigarettes, Alcohol, Mention of rape

 

About the Author

Brittany Cavallaro is a poet, fiction writer, and old school Sherlockian. She is the author of the Charlotte Holmes novels from HarperCollins/Katherine Tegen Books, including A Study in Charlotte and The Last of August. She’s also the author of the poetry collection Girl-King (University of Akron) and is the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship. She earned her BA in literature from Middlebury College and her MFA in poetry from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Currently, she’s a PhD candidate in English literature at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. She lives in Wisconsin with her husband, cat, and collection of deerstalker caps.

Her website is http://brittanycavallaro.com.

Around the Web

A Question of Holmes on Amazon

A Question of Holmes on Barnes & Noble

A Question of Holmes on Goodreads

A Question of Holmes on LibraryThing

A Question of Holmes Publisher Page

Advertisements

Following by Jeffry W. Johnston

Following by Jeffry W. Johnston. February 5, 2019. Sourcebooks Fire, 256 p. ISBN: 9781492664611.  Int Lvl: YA; Rdg Lvl: YA.

Rear Window meets Serial in this riveting new thriller from Edgar Award-nominated author that follows Alden as he tries to solve a crime only he believes was committed.

Alden likes to follow people. He’s not trying to be a creep, he just wants to be an investigator someday, and it’s good practice.

But spying on people comes with risks, like when Alden sees popular Greg Matthes seemingly murder his girlfriend, Amy, one night in the bad part of town.

But the facts aren’t adding up, especially because Amy may be alive. Now Alden has to figure what he could have seen… and what secrets Greg is hiding.

Potentially Sensitive Areas: Mild language; violence

 

Reviews

Booklist (January 1, 2019 (Vol. 115, No. 9))
Grades 9-12. High-school junior Alden has always fancied himself an amateur detective: “It’s important work. You never know about people; what they show on the outside is often not what’s on the inside. You’ve gotta watch for those brief moments when the hidden part slips out.” After Alden’s parents are killed during a mass shooting, investigating suspicious leads is all he can think about. Curiosity gets him in hot water when he follows popular senior athlete Greg to a secluded area behind the high school and witnesses what he thinks is Greg murdering his girlfriend, Amy. When Amy turns up at school unmistakably not murdered, Alden has to reshape his theories. Guided by his best friend (and daughter of the local police chief) Charlie, Alden walks a fine line between sticking to his convictions and making a false police report. Johnston’s (The Truth​, 2016) latest is a slow-burn thriller that veers in surprising directions, with a final twist no one will see coming. Teasing chapter endings and engaging characters will propel readers forward.

Kirkus Reviews (November 1, 2018)
Practicing his investigative techniques, aspiring detective Alden follows golden boy Greg to an abandoned ball park at the edge of town where he believes he witnesses a murder. In an update to the fable of “The Boy Who Cried Wolf,” Alden is the guy spotting crime and anonymously informing the police in order to assuage the guilt he feels around the death of his parents during a mass shooting at a fair. He is obsessed with the need to prevent the mayhem he feels exists around him. But is this crime real? Greg, a senior and popular athlete at their high school, is dating pretty, red-haired Amy—and now Alden thinks he has murdered her. Alden’s best friend, Charlie, is the daughter of the chief of police and for a time becomes involved in trying to prove or disprove the crime that Alden believes was committed. A junior, Alden lives with an uncle who is trying to be a parent but lacks experience; this side plot adds to the overall picture of Alden’s isolation. There are minimal physical descriptions beyond hair color, and main characters follow a white default. Little in the characterization or writing make this stand out, but Alden’s motivation rings true, and his vulnerability is appealing. A twisty mystery. (Fiction. 12-16)

About the Author

I write young adult mysteries and thrillers. My first two novels, FRAGMENTS and THE TRUTH, were both Quick Pick for Reluctant Young Adult Readers selections by the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA). FRAGMENTS was also a 2008 Edgar nominee by the Mystery Writers of America for Best Young Adult Mystery and THE TRUTH was a 2017 In the Margins Top 10 Book Award winner. My new teen thriller, FOLLOWING, is out in 2019. Besides also publishing numerous short stories and articles covering various genres and subjects, I have been a film and theatre reviewer.

His website is jeffrywjohnston.com.

Around the Web

Following on Amazon

Following on Barnes and Noble

Following on Goodreads

Following  Publisher Page

Thicker than Water by Natasha Deen

Thicker than Water by Natasha Deen. January 29, 2019. Orca, 144 p. ISBN: 9781459821989.  Int Lvl: YA; Rdg Lvl: 3.2; Lexile: 450.

Zack Bernard has a thing for crime shows, especially the forensic-investigation kind. So when his friend Ella goes missing, Zack can’t help piecing together what he thinks is concrete evidence that could lead to her whereabouts. The problem is, it’s all pointing toward his dad. He knows his dad is lying about not having seen Ella because Zack saw them together at the mall the day she disappeared. What he doesn’t know is why. With the help of his friend Ayo, Zack tries to solve the mystery himself to avoid having to make the ter-rible choice between losing someone close to him and betraying his family.

Potentially Sensitive Areas: None

 

Reviews

Kirkus Reviews (December 1, 2018)
When his friend goes missing, Zack Bernard realizes her disappearance is not the only mystery. The story focuses on Zack, a West Indian–Canadian teen living in Toronto who’s a fan of true-crime shows and plans to become a detective. When his friend Ella Larson disappears, Zack can’t let the police be the only ones investigating—especially because he knows something the police don’t: Zack saw Ella with his guidance-counselor father at the mall and, later, getting into his car. Afraid to jeopardize his father’s job, Zack withholds this information. Zack’s dad refuses to talk to him about what he saw, his friend Ayo Mohammed thinks he needs to respect the confidentiality of his father’s records, and they both think Zack should let the police handle everything. But his gut instinct says something terrible happened to Ella, and Zack’s going to do everything he can to find out what it is even if he finds out something he didn’t want to know. A challenge with hi-lo books is displayed with this title: The plot is too complex for the format, forcing an overly tidy and sanitized conclusion to the central mystery. However, readers will definitely keep turning the pages; Zack’s and Ayo’s immigrant families provide some subtle characterization for each of them. For reluctant readers with a taste for crime, this title should scratch the itch. (Mystery/thriller. 12-18)

School Library Journal (February 1, 2019)
Gr 8 Up-This continuing series follows teenagers dealing with transitions. Logan is a photographer reeling from the recent death of her mother in The Unbroken Hearts Club. When she and her best friend Cole begin attending bereavement meetings hosted by her father, she is forced to confront her loss, as well as her possible feelings for Cole. Aspiring criminologist Zack’s best friend goes missing in Thicker Than Water-and all signs point to Zack’s father being involved, all while his parents’ marriage falls apart. In The Bodyguard, Ryan, known as “Replay,” is a star football player who dreams of becoming a filmmaker. To raise the money to apply to film school, he begins working as a bodyguard to Markus, an Estonian exchange student with dark secrets tied to online gambling. Readers will be enticed by the edgy themes and compelling stories of adolescents following their dreams. VERDICT Written at a third and fourth grade reading level, these novels are distinguished by multidimensional characters and briskly paced plots. © Copyright 2019. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc.

About the Author

Natasha Deen’s family moved from Guyana, South America to Canada to escape the country’s political & racial violence. She loved growing up in a country of snow & flannel, but often felt out of place. Thank goodness for books that showed her being different could also mean being awesome. Natasha lives in Edmonton, Alberta with her family where she spends A LOT of time arguing with her cats and dogs about who’s the boss of the house.

Her website is www.natashadeen.com

Teacher Resources

Thicker than Water Teacher’s Guide

Around the Web

Thicker than Water on Amazon

Thicker than Water on Barnes and Noble

Thicker than Water on Goodreads

Thicker than Water on LibraryThing

Thicker than Water Publisher Page

Spin by Lamar Giles

Spin by Lamar Giles. January 29, 2019. Scholastic, 400 p. ISBN: 9781338219210.  Int Lvl: YA; Rdg Lvl: YA.

Even in murder, the music lives on.

When rising star Paris Secord (aka DJ ParSec) is found dead on her turntables, it sends the local music scene reeling. No one is feeling that grief more than her shunned pre-fame best friend, Kya, and ParSec’s chief groupie, Fuse — two sworn enemies who happened to be the ones who discovered her body.

The police have few leads, and when the trail quickly turns cold, the authorities don’t seem to be pushing too hard to investigate further. But nobody counted on Paris’s deeply loyal fans, ParSec Nation, or the outrage that would drive Fuse and Kya to work together. As ParSec Nation takes to social media and the streets in their crusade for justice, Fuse and Kya start digging into Paris’s past, stumbling across a deadly secret. With new info comes new motives. New suspects. And a fandom that will stop at nothing in their obsessive quest for answers, not even murder…

Potentially Sensitive Areas: Mild sexual themes

 

Book Trailer

Reviews

Booklist starred (January 1, 2019 (Vol. 115, No. 9))
Grades 9-12. During Charleston’s 2018 YALLFest author panel, Giles pointed to music fandoms like Beyoncé’s Beyhive as his inspiration for Spin. These create the perfect launchpad for his explosive, gripping novel that will leave readers on the edge of their seats. Giles blends a clear love of hip-hop with the juiciness of fandoms and the gripping, heart-stopping thrill of a good murder mystery. ParSec is the stage name of 16-year-old Paris Secord, a talented up-and-coming DJ on the local music scene. When Paris is murdered, her newfound fame is cut short. Paris’ best friend Kya and her most adoring fan, Fuse, are shaken to the core by her death. They both suspect the other of murdering Paris, and public accusations between them explode into scandal—until they discover that Paris had a major deal brewing and there may have been a third party who would have wanted her dead. Kya and Fuse are determined to unearth Paris’ killer but may lose their lives in the process, because whoever killed DJ ParSec is intent on remaining anonymous. Spin delivers everything you could want in a book: lush, complex characters; a spine-chilling plot; a vividly drawn world; and, best of all, hip-hop. It’s a music genre and a lifestyle that doesn’t see rep in YA books nearly enough, and Giles delivers it in style.

Kirkus Reviews starred (November 15, 2018)
Two African-American teens who dislike each other find themselves working together to solve the murder of a mutual friend.Kya Caine and Fatima “Fuse” Fallon were both in the orbit of Paris Secord, aka DJ ParSec. Kya and Paris were friends from their neighborhood, while Fuse’s skill with social media made her the ideal person to promote this music among #ParSecNation fans. On the night Paris is murdered, both girls happen on the scene within minutes of each other; her death is a blow, and their shock and pain run deep. When they are briefly kidnapped by #DarkNation, a group of violent, extreme fans, they put their differences behind them to find the killer. The young women come from different worlds: Kya, the daughter of a hardworking single parent, resents upper-middle-class Fuse. But the drive to find answers before #DarkNation or the killer strike again propels them. They agree on the likely culprit and know their best chance of proving their guilt will occur during the high-energy commingling of everyone touched by the rising star and her music in an upcoming memorial concert. This is genre fiction at its best: a taut mystery with rich characterization and a strong sense of place. Social realities, such as class and family dynamics, add depth. The depiction of the grassroots music scene that feeds hip-hop and keeps it cutting edge is seamlessly woven into the narrative. Not to be missed. (Mystery. 12-18)

About the Author

L. R. Giles hunts monsters. When he catches them, he locks them in stories. His work has been featured in the Dark Dreams anthology series, he’s won the prestigious Virginia Commission for the Arts Fiction Fellowship, and he was a Top 10 Finalist in the international SciFi Now/Tor UK War of the Words competition. He resides in Chesapeake, Virginia with his wife.

Her website is www.lamargiles.com.

Around the Web

Spin on Amazon

Spin on Barnes & Noble

Spin on Goodreads

Spin on LibraryThing

Spin Publisher Page

¿Quién es Carmen Sandiego? (Who in the World is Carmen Sandiego?) by Rebecca Tinker

¿Quién es Carmen Sandiego? (Who in the World is Carmen Sandiego?) by Rebecca Tinker. January 29, 2019. HMH Books for Young Readers, 256 p. ISBN: 9781328526816.  Int Lvl: 5-8.

Based on the Netflix original series with a foreword by Gina Rodriguez. For decades, people have asked the question: Where in the world is Carmen Sandiego? But just who is this infamous and elusive globe-trotting criminal? 

A skilled thief on a mysterious mission, Carmen Sandiego is endlessly pursued by ACME and Interpol. But the woman in the red fedora is always one step ahead! In this novelization, based on the Netflix animated series, Carmen shares her own backstory for the first time ever. Now, it’s time to find out…. Who in the world is Carmen Sandiego.

Potentially Sensitive Areas:Criminal culture; Violence

 

Video Trailer

 

Teacher Resources

Who in the World Is Carmen Sandiego? Character Page with Printables

Around the Web

Who in the World Is Carmen Sandiego? on Amazon

Who in the World Is Carmen Sandiego? on Barnes and Noble

Who in the World Is Carmen Sandiego? on Goodreads

Who in the World Is Carmen Sandiego? on LibraryThing

Who in the World Is Carmen Sandiego? Publisher Page

The Truth and Lies of Ella Black by Emily Barr

The Truth and Lies of Ella Black by Emily Barr. February 12, 2019. Philomel Books, 336 p. ISBN: 9780399547041.  Int Lvl: YA; Rdg Lvl: YA.

Ella Black has always had dark inclinations. She’s successfully hidden her evil alter ego from her family and friends, but Bella is always there, ready to take control and force Ella to do bad things. When Ella’s parents drag her out of school one afternoon and fly across the globe to Rio de Janeiro with no believable explanation, Bella longs to break free–and so does Ella. Because for all that her parents claim to be doing what’s best for her, Ella knows there is something going on that they’re not divulging, and she is determined to find out what.

Once in Rio, Ella learns a shocking truth about her family that gives way to a mission through the streets and beaches of Brazil in search of her authentic self. But the truth has many layers, and as Ella uncovers more and more about her own history, she struggles to come to terms with just where it is that she came from.

Potentially Sensitive Areas: Mild sexual themes, Sexual assault, Strong language,

Reviews

Kirkus Reviews (December 15, 2018)
Ella Black is a 17-year-old English girl with a dark side she hides from everyone. Lately Ella finds it harder and harder to hide Bella—Bad Ella—or the Monster, as she dubs her alter ego. Her parents show up one day at school saying that they all have to go away at once, to Rio de Janeiro, with no explanation. Ella fears that they have found out her secret or that she is terminally ill. But the truth, which she finds out after doing some snooping, is something she had never imagined. Heartbroken and tormented by the secret she discovers, Ella runs away from her parents and ends up in the favelas of Brazil, where she confronts her previous assumptions about the residents. Questioning all she thought she knew about her life, her family, and herself, she learns how to survive while living on the streets. Ella changes her appearance—purple hair makes her noticeable—but how long can she keep herself hidden from those determined to find her? Barr (The One Memory of Flora Banks, 2017, etc.) employs devices such as repetition and sentences broken down into a single word per line that quickly become stale, and the novel drags on for too long. A predictable storyline with lackluster tension, insufficient character growth, and an insta-love romance make this story fall short of being an engaging psychological thriller. An interesting premise with an anticlimactic and disappointing ending. (Thriller. 14-18)

About the Author

Emily Barr worked as a journalist in London, but always hankered after a quiet room and a book to write. She went travelling for a year, writing a column in the Guardian about it as she went, and it was there that she had an idea for a novel set in the world of backpackers in Asia. This became Backpack, which won the WH Smith New Talent Award. She has since written eleven more adult novels published in the UK and around the world, and a novella, Blackout, for the Quick Reads series. Her twelfth novel, The Sleeper, is a psychological thriller set on the London to Cornwall sleeper train.

In 2013 she went to Svalbard with the idea of setting a thriller in the Arctic. The book that came out of it was The One Memory of Flora Banks, a thriller for young _adults

Her website is www.emilybarr.com.

Around the Web

The Truth and Lies of Ella Black on Amazon

The Truth and Lies of Ella Black on Barnes & Noble

The Truth and Lies of Ella Black  on Goodreads

The Truth and Lies of Ella Black  on LibraryThing

The Truth and Lies of Ella Black  Publisher Page

It Wasn’t Me by Dana Alison Levy

It Wasn’t Me by Dana Alison Levy. November 13, 2018. Delacorte Press, 336 p. ISBN: 9781524766436.  Int Lvl: 5-8; Rdg Lvl: 6.7; Lexile: 740.

THE BREAKFAST CLUB meets middle school with a prank twist in this hilarious and heartwarming story about six very different seventh graders who are forced to band together after a vandalism incident.

When Theo’s photography project is mysteriously vandalized at school there are five suspected students who all say “it wasn’t me.”

Theo just wants to forget about the humiliating incident but his favorite teacher is determined to get to the bottom of it and has the six of them come into school over vacation to talk. She calls it “Justice Circle.” The six students—the Nerd, the Princess, the Jock, the Screw Up, the Weirdo, and the Nobody—think of it as detention. AKA their worst nightmare.

That is until they realize they might get along after all, despite their differences. But what is everyone hiding and will school ever be the same?

Potentially Sensitive Areas: Discrimination, Homophobic slur, Mild language

 

Reviews

Booklist (October 1, 2018 (Vol. 115, No. 3))
Grades 5-8. Having to go to school over break stinks, but circumstantial evidence surrounding vandalism brings six unhappy seventh-graders together for a justice circle facilitated by a favorite teacher. Like The Breakfast Club, each student carries a label by which they are automatically judged (the nerd, the princess, the jock, the weirdo, the screw-up), and this experimental gathering seeks to discover not only who destroyed Theo’s photographs but why. Despite a slow start, the story becomes as much a whodunit as an examination of judging others based on assumptions. Each day, the five possible perps fill out a questionnaire, offering readers a glimpse into the characters’ personalities and thin layers of clues. Meanwhile, the six learn about each other’s backgrounds, passions, and commonalities, leading to surprising results. Told primarily via Theo’s first-person narrative, readers join him as he discovers what happened and feel his ever-changing emotions about the events. Plenty of laughs and loads of interesting introspection help drive the story. Fans of Levy’s Family Fletcher books will love that Jax is one of the suspects.

Horn Book Magazine (November/December, 2018)
Having reluctantly agreed to exhibit his self-portraits in his school’s art gallery, seventh grader Theo is devastated when the photographs are defaced and destroyed. With trepidation he joins the five students suspected of committing the vandalism in a Justice Circle, hoping to understand how one of them could be so cruel. The suspects seem predictable types—a jock, an overachiever, a weirdo, a class clown (Jax Fletcher from Levy’s Family Fletcher books), and a stayer-below-the-radar—who are introduced in the novel’s opening pages through the first of the written assessments they are required to complete each day. As time goes on, they start to shed defensiveness, show vulnerability, and gain an appreciation for one another through their shared experience. As for Theo himself, through his introspective first-person viewpoint we see him dealing with hurt, anger, confusion, empathy, and compassion as the culprit is slowly revealed. Levy delves into sensitive topics that are both timely and of great importance to middle-school readers while also providing plenty of entertainment and humor—yoga-ball soccer, anyone?—with this winning school story. monica edinger

About the Author

Dana Alison Levy was raised by pirates but escaped at a young age and went on to earn a degree in aeronautics and puppetry. Actually, that’s not true—she just likes to make things up. That’s why she always wanted to write books. She was born and raised in New England and studied English literature before going to graduate school for business. While there is value in all learning, had she known she would end up writing for a living, she might not have struggled through all those statistics and finance classes. Dana was last seen romping with her family in Massachusetts.

Her website is danaalisonlevy.com

Around the Web

It Wasn’t Me on Amazon

It Wasn’t Me on Barnes and Noble

It Wasn’t Me on Goodreads

It Wasn’t Me on LibraryThing

It Wasn’t Me Publisher Page

Two Can Keep a Secret by Karen M. McManus

Two Can Keep a Secret by Karen M. McManus. January 8, 2019. Delacorte Press, 336 p. ISBN: 9781524714734.  Int Lvl: YA; Rdg Lvl: YA; Lexile: 730.

Echo Ridge is small-town America. Ellery’s never been there, but she’s heard all about it. Her aunt went missing there at age seventeen. And only five years ago, a homecoming queen put the town on the map when she was killed. Now Ellery has to move there to live with a grandmother she barely knows.

The town is picture-perfect, but it’s hiding secrets. And before school even begins for Ellery, someone has declared open season on homecoming, promising to make it as dangerous as it was five years ago. Then, almost as if to prove it, another girl goes missing.

Ellery knows all about secrets. Her mother has them; her grandmother does too. And the longer she’s in Echo Ridge, the clearer it becomes that everyone there is hiding something. The thing is, secrets are dangerous–and most people aren’t good at keeping them. Which is why in Echo Ridge, it’s safest to keep your secrets to yourself.

Potentially Sensitive Areas: Drugs, Mild sexual themes, Strong language, Underage drinking

 

Book Trailer

Author Interview

Reviews

Booklist (November 1, 2018 (Vol. 115, No. 5))
Grades 9-12. McManus follows up her smash hit debut, One of Us Is Lying​ (2017), with another twisted mystery centered around wily teens. Echo Ridge is an idyllic small town in all ways but one: five years ago, homecoming queen Lacy Kildare was strangled, her body left in the presciently named Murderland theme park. The park changed its name, but the town never moved on—Lacy’s body may have been the first one to turn up, but she wasn’t the first girl to go missing. Ellery and her twin brother, Ezra, have just moved to Echo Ridge to live with their grandmother while their mom, whose own twin vanished in high school, undergoes a stint in rehab. When another girl goes missing, true-crime obsessive Ellery is determined to find the truth. But Echo Ridge is dangerous, and she and her family may be more involved than she knows. This is as much a social commentary as it is a layered mystery, and a somewhat abrupt finale won’t keep readers from speeding their way to the end.

Kirkus Reviews starred (October 15, 2018)
History threatens to repeat itself in a small town known for disappearing teen girls. When their mother is suddenly sent to rehab, twins Ellery and Ezra Corcoran are uprooted from California to live with their grandmother in Vermont. True-crime–obsessed Ellery knows the town is infamous for girls going missing. Her own aunt, her mother’s twin, disappeared 23 years ago, never to be found. Just five years ago, Lacey Kilduff was found murdered in nearby Murderland, a Halloween theme park. All eyes are on the twins as the new kids in town, and Ellery’s pulled between the popular girls and Malcolm Kelly, the younger brother of Declan, Lacey’s boyfriend and the person everyone suspects murdered her. Disturbing acts of vandalism pop up, threatening a sequel to events at Murderland. When Ellery’s nominated for homecoming queen, the threats begin to target her and the other princesses, and no matter what he does, Malcolm keeps ending up at the wrong place at the wrong time, making for an easy scapegoat. Alternating between Ellery’s and Malcolm’s perspectives, the mystery unfurls at a deliciously escalating pace, filled with believable red herrings and shocking twists. Readers will furiously turn pages until the satisfying end. Though the students are predominantly white, Ellery and Ezra are biracial (white and Latinx), and Ezra is gay. Malcolm is white, and his best friend is a bisexual Korean-American girl. Masterfully paced with well-earned thrills and spooky atmosphere worth sinking into. (Thriller. 14-18)

About the Author

Karen M. McManus earned her BA in English from the College of the Holy Cross and her MA in journalism from Northeastern University. When she isn’t working or writing in Cambridge, Massachusetts, McManus loves to travel with her son. One of Us Is Lying is her debut novel.

Her website is www.karenmcmanus.com.

Around the Web

Two Can Keep a Secret on Amazon

Two Can Keep a Secret on Barnes & Noble

Two Can Keep a Secret on Goodreads

Two Can Keep a Secret on LibraryThing

Two Can Keep a Secret Publisher Page

The Vanishing Stair by Maureen Johnson

The Vanishing Stair by Maureen Johnson. January 22, 2019. Katherine Tegen Books, 384 p. ISBN: 9780062338082.  Int Lvl: YA; Rdg Lvl: YA.

All Stevie Bell wanted was to find the key to the Ellingham mystery, but instead she found her classmate dead. And while she solved that murder, the crimes of the past are still waiting in the dark. Just as Stevie feels she’s on the cusp of putting it together, her parents pull her out of Ellingham academy.

For her own safety they say. She must move past this obsession with crime. Now that Stevie’s away from the school of topiaries and secret tunnels, and her strange and endearing friends, she begins to feel disconnected from the rest of the world. At least she won’t have to see David anymore. David, who she kissed. David, who lied to her about his identity—son of despised politician Edward King. Then King himself arrives at her house to offer a deal: He will bring Stevie back to Ellingham immediately. In return, she must play nice with David. King is in the midst of a campaign and can’t afford his son stirring up trouble. If Stevie’s at school, David will stay put.

The tantalizing riddles behind the Ellingham murders are still waiting to be unraveled, and Stevie knows she’s so close. But the path to the truth has more twists and turns than she can imagine—and moving forward involves hurting someone she cares for. In New York Times bestselling author Maureen Johnson’s second novel of the Truly Devious series, nothing is free, and someone will pay for the truth with their life.

Sequel to: Truly Devious

Part of Series: Truly Devious (Book 2)

Potentially Sensitive Areas: Mild language, Underage drinking, Smoking

 

Video Review

Reviews

Booklist (January 1, 2019 (Vol. 115, No. 9))
Grades 9-12. When true-crime-obsessed teenager Stevie Bell made surprising headway on Ellingham Academy’s infamous 80-year-old cold case, she wasn’t expecting one of her classmates to turn up dead and another to vanish. But in Truly Devious​ (2018), they did, and now Stevie’s parents have pulled her out of school, far away from mysteries both past and present. Stuck, at least, until she gets an offer she can’t refuse from a man with plenty of ulterior motives. But for this single-minded sleuth, nothing is more important than Ellingham’s secrets. In this second trilogy installment, Johnson gives and she takes away: a few major mysteries are satisfying solved, but other long-standing riddles remain tantalizingly indecipherable, and several new ones come into play by the enigmatic end. That Johnson handles all these plots without stalling her tale or relying on shock value to hook her audience is a testament to her skills as a storyteller. Readers, hang tight: there’s one more round to come, and if the signs are right, it’ll be to die for.

About the Author

Maureen knew from an early age she wanted to be a writer. She went to high school at an all-girls’ Catholic school and graduated from University of Delaware with a degree in writing. She now lives and writes in New York City.

Many of the adventures Maureen’s characters face in her books are based on real-life stories. Maureen has traveled all over Europe, and is a Secret Sister to vlog brothers Hank and John Green.

Her website is www.maureenjohnsonbooks.com.

Around the Web

The Vanishing Stair on Amazon

The Vanishing Stair on Barnes and Noble

The Vanishing Stair on Goodreads

The Vanishing Stair on LibraryThing

The Vanishing Stair Publisher Page

The Guggenheim Mystery by Robin Stevens

The Guggenheim Mystery by Robin Stevens. October 16, 2018. Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers, 336 p. ISBN: 9780525582366.  Int Lvl: 3-6; Rdg Lvl: 5.2; Lexile: 750.

The adventure that began in Siobhan Dowd’s popular and acclaimed novel The London Eye Mystery at long last continues with Ted, Kat, and their cousin Salim investigating a theft at the Guggenheim Museum that’s been pinned on Salim’s mother!

When Ted and his big sister, Kat, take a trip to New York to visit their cousin Salim and their aunt Gloria, they think they’re prepared for big-city adventures. But when a famous painting is stolen from the Guggenheim Museum, where Aunt Gloria works, the surprises begin to mount faster than they could have anticipated. With the police looking at Aunt Gloria as the prime suspect, Ted, Kat, and Salim become sleuthing partners, following a trail of clues across NYC to prove her innocence–and to pinpoint the real thief. Ultimately, it comes down to Ted, whose brain works in its own very unique way, to find the key to the mystery.

Sequel to: The London Eye Mystery

Part of Series: The London Eye Mysteries (Book #2)

Potentially Sensitive Areas: None

 

Author Interview

Reviews

Booklist (September 15, 2018 (Vol. 115, No. 2))
Grades 5-8. Kate and Ted are visiting their cousin Salim, now in New York thanks to his mother’s new job as a curator at the Guggenheim Museum. As in their first adventure, The London Eye Mystery (2008), they are called upon to become detectives, here because a painting has been stolen and Salim’s mother arrested. The book’s narrator is 12-year-old Ted, described last time out as having a brain that “runs on a different operating system” (seemingly autism spectrum disorder); yet it’s his ability to see patterns, indiscernible to most, that allows him, with Kate and Salim’s help, to identify the real perpetrator. The previous book’s author, Siobhan Dowd, died, leaving only this sequel’s title; in an author’s note, Stevens describes how she went about constructing this novel from three words. She’s done an admirable job with the characters. Ted especially is his same quirky self, a boy both a participant in and an observer of his life. The mystery has a few creaky spots, but Stevens moves things along briskly. A welcome return for this dynamic trio.

Kirkus Reviews (July 15, 2018)
A clever junior detective must solve an art heist in this New York City–set sequel to the late Siobhan Dowd’s London Eye Mystery (2008). Twelve-year-old Ted Spark, his 14-year-old sister, Kat, and their mother, Faith, fly to the U.S. to visit Ted and Kat’s cousin Salim and eccentric aunt Gloria. Tourism soon segues into investigation when a painting at the Guggenheim, where Aunt Gloria works, goes missing and she becomes the prime suspect. Although overwhelmed by the strange city and uncertain about his friendship with Kat and Salim, Ted uses his encyclopedic knowledge, keen observation skills, and appreciation for patterns to try and prove Aunt Gloria’s innocence. Perplexed by figures of speech, Ted nonetheless embraces metaphors, relating his adventures through meteorology and Homer’s Odyssey. Although never explicitly identified as such, Ted presents as someone on the autism spectrum—literal, unfiltered, routine-oriented—but Dowd and Stevens (Murder Is Bad Manners, 2015, etc.) depict him as neither a savant nor a saintly sufferer. Rather, Ted Spark has a “funny brain, which works on a different operating system than other people’s,” much like his fictional predecessors Sherlock Holmes and Encyclopedia Brown. Ted notices racial differences, such as Salim’s brown skin, but he seems to adhere to the white default with respect to himself and the rest of the family. Fast-paced, suspenseful, but never scary, a middle-grade mystery with a singular voice and a welcome continuation of the Sparks’ adventures. (Mystery. 8-12)

About the Author

Robin Stevens was born in California and grew up in Oxford, England, across the road from the house where Alice of Alice in Wonderland lived. Robin has been making up stories all her life. She spent her teenage years at boarding school, reading a lot of murder mysteries and hoping that she’d get the chance to do some detecting herself (she didn’t). She studied crime fiction in college and then worked in children’s publishing.

Robin now lives in London with her pet bearded dragon, Watson.  Her website is www.robin-stevens.co.uk

Around the Web

The Guggenheim Mystery on Amazon

The Guggenheim Mystery on Barnes and Noble

The Guggenheim Mystery on Goodreads

The Guggenheim Mystery on LibraryThing

The Guggenheim Mystery Publisher Page