Category Archives: mystery

Vanishing Girls by Lauren Oliver

vanishing-girlsDara and Nick used to be more than just sisters; they were best friends.  Though they used to be practically inseparable, they don’t even speak to one another anymore.  The worst part is that Nick started to lose her other best friend, Parker, at the same time as Dara — all because he and Dara started dating.  One night, during a heated argument, the girls ended up in a car accident and that was the final straw.  Dara’s face and body were forever damaged, just like her relationship with Nick, and she keeps herself hidden away all the time.  Still, Nick is determined to fix things with Parker and Dara this summer.  Before she can even start to work things out, nevertheless, Dara disappears.  It could just be that Dara is messing around, but the disappearance of another local girl, 9-year-old Madeline Snow, makes Nick wonder if there might be something more to the story.  Will she be able to piece everything together?  Will the girls ever be found?  The answers might be more shocking than you can imagine…  Fans of Oliver’s earlier books Before I Fall and Panic are sure to enjoy her latest mystery/thriller.

Happy Reading!

So Yesterday by Scott Westerfeld

so-yesterdayI’m not quite sure how I read [and loved] Peeps, the Uglies series, the Leviathan series, AND Afterworlds but managed not to get around to this book until now…  I’m just special like that!  Though I felt the references to pop culture and technology definitely “dated” the story a bit, I think it is still relevant enough to recommend to today’s teens.  After all, society still cycles through “cool” fashions and trends.  And I don’t think many people really consider WHY and HOW things become “cool” — they just fall into the trap of wanting the next “cool” thing.  I encourage my kids (my biological children and the ones I work with) to question everything instead of just taking other people’s word for it.  I also encourage them to trust their own instincts and to find their own style instead of caring what other people will think.  As long as you’re not purposely trying to offend other people, I think you should embrace what you love and just go with it.  Hopefully, this story will help some tweens and teens see the light.

Hunter Braque was a “cool hunter.”  He was literally paid, mostly in free shoes, to report upcoming trends and fashions to a major corporation he called “The Client.”  (Throughout the story, Hunter left out the names of the brands/companies to which he was referring — but he gave just enough information that the readers could likely fill in the blanks on their own.)  Hunter actually worked for a woman named Mandy, who reported back to The Client after “cool tastings” (aka focus groups).  When Hunter met Jen, he just knew Mandy would want to meet her too and got her an invitation to a cool tasting.  Jen’s new perspective earned both Hunter and Jen an invitation to a super-secret meeting with Mandy, but then Mandy never showed up.  After hearing Mandy’s cell phone ringing from inside the abandoned building, Hunter and Jen broke in and found a stockpile of the coolest shoes they’d ever seen.  They weren’t sure what to think, but they were pretty sure Mandy was in trouble and that it had something to do with those shoes…  Action and mystery combine for a super-fun read that also questions the conformity and consumerism that run rampant in our society.

Happy Reading!

When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead

when-you-reach-meThis book was an interesting blend of historical fiction, mystery, and science fiction.  I can certainly see why it won the Newbery Award, since it was well written, pays homage to a “classic” children’s book, and has a nostalgia factor for the teachers and librarians who grew up in the 70s and 80s — especially with all the references to Miranda’s mom practicing for her appearance on the game show $20,000 Pyramid.  I have a sneaking suspicion, though, that a lot of tweens and teens would find it difficult to really get hooked on this story.  I was curious about how things would play out in the end and all, but the story didn’t exactly keep me on the edge of my seat.

One day, as Miranda walked home with her best friend, Sal, he got punched in the stomach.  The kid who punched him was new to the neighborhood and didn’t even know Miranda or Sal, so there didn’t seem to be any reason for the attack.  Even worse?  Right after that incident, Sal began to get distant.  Miranda felt lost without Sal, since the two of them had been constant companions since their early childhood.  And then, when the hidden/”emergency” key to her apartment went missing and she found a strange note hidden in a library book, Miranda got understandably freaked out.  Especially since the author of the note seemed to know things about her — even things that hadn’t happened yet.  Fans of A Wrinkle in Time are sure to enjoy the way Miranda’s life experiences drew parallels to that book and made her question the real possibilities of time travel.  I think there are enough details, nevertheless, that the story will still make sense to readers who aren’t familiar with L’Engle’s work.

Happy Reading!

Burn for Burn [trilogy] by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian

burn-for-burnLet me just start off my review by stating that I refuse to read any further books if this trilogy suddenly becomes a series with four or more books, like The Selection.  As far as I am concerned, this trilogy is complete, there is no more story, and Jenny Hand and Siobhan Vivian should leave it alone!  ;-)  (Who am I kidding?  I’m sure I would eat it up if they published anything else because I tore through these books!)  Oh… And there is one other thing I would like to clarify before starting my actual review.  Some people might start reading the first book and think the “sci-fi/fantasy” classification is unjustified.  Even at the end of the first book, I was a little unsure if the supernatural element was quite enough to justify being in the “sci-fi/fantasy” section of the Teen Area.  But, trust me when I say that it will make sense if you keep reading. Continue reading

Acceleration by Graham McNamee

accelerationSome people are confused by the fact that I can’t handle “scary movies” but am so intrigued by novels and biographies about serial killers.  During my freshman year of college, I actually scared the student assistant at my college library.  He asked which class required me to watch so many A&E Biography specials about serial killers and I answered, “It’s not for a class.  I just think they’re interesting.” He shoved the movie across the counter and practically ran into the back office.  When I returned the next week, he was nowhere to be found.  Fortunately, we met through a mutual friend a few months later and figured out that we recognized each other because he was the AV guy at the library and I was the “creepy serial killer girl.”  I was able to elaborate about how my interest was piqued during a high school psychology class and that viewing habits were based purely on curiosity.  (Up until that point, apparently, he had been worried that I was a serial killer in training or something like that… Oops!)
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The Tragedy Paper by Elizabeth LaBan

tragedy-paperThis is another one of those books that I just cannot imagine reading from an actual book because it worked *so* well as an audiobook.  Although the plot is not even remotely the same, this audiobook actually reminded me of Thirteen Reasons Why because it had one narrator for the main character and another narrator for a person who left behind a recording.  I’m not sure what this says about me, but I really enjoy “listening in” on these recordings and the reactions they invoke from the main character!  ;-)  Continue reading

Liar by Justine Larbalestier

liarI finally read this book because of Justine Larbalestier’s new book Razorhurst, which just came out in the beginning of March.  While talking to a friend about the interesting concept of Razorhurst, she asked if I had read Liar.  I admitted that I hadn’t and decided I should read the older book before moving on to the new book.  The only problem is that I’m not entirely sure how I feel about this story.  There was just something about this book that rubbed me the wrong way.  I mean…

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