Here are my reviews and comments of the books I tagged as Teen and Crime, Mystery, and Suspense. Scroll down to see the actual reviews and comments but here is the list.
Abrahams, Peter. Reality Check
Beaudoin, Sean. You Killed Wesley Payne
Beitia, Sara. The Last Good Place of Lily Odilon
Berk, Josh. The Dark Days of Hamburger Halpin
Black, Holly. Red Glove
Blundell, Judy. Strings Attached
Blundell, Judy. What I Saw and How I Lied
Carter, Ally. Uncommon Criminals
Choyce, Lesley. The Book of Michael
Cross, Sarah. Kill Me Softly
Damico, Gina. Scorch
David, Keren. Almost True
DeKeyser, Stacy. Jump the Cracks
Deuker, Carl. Payback Time
Ferguson, Alane. The Dying Breath
Green, John. Paper Towns
Hahn, Mary Downing. Mister Death's Blue-Eyed Girls
Haines, Kathryn Miller. The Girl is Murder
Harmon, Michael. The Chamber of Five
Harvey, Alyxandra. Haunting Violet
Henderson, Lauren. Kiss Me Kill Me
Henry, April. The Night She Disappeared
Hiaasen, Carl. Scat
Hodkin, Michelle. The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer
Hodkin, Michelle. The Evolution of Mara Dyer
James, Brian. Thief
Jarzab, Anna. All Unquiet Things
Johnson, Maureen. The Name of the Star
Kern, Peggy. No Way Out (Bluford)
Kincy, Karen. Other
Lane, Andy. Death Cloud
Lee, Y.S.. The Traitor in the Tunnel
Lee, Y.S.. A Spy in the House
Littlefield, Sophie. Hanging by a Thread
Lyga, Barry. I Hunt Killers
Mac, Carrie. Jacked
Mackall, Dandi Daley. The Silence of Murder
McClintock, Norah. Masked
McClintock, Norah. Guilty
McClintock, Norah. I, Witness
McNeil, Gretchen. Ten
Miller, Kirsten. Inside the Shadow City
Monaghan, Annabel. A Girl Named Digit
Northrop, Michael. Gentlemen
Oliver, Lin. Sound Bender
Olsen, Sylvia. Middle Row
Poznanski, Ursula. Erebos
Reger, Rob. The Lost Days (Emily the Strang)
Resau, Laura. The Indigo Notebook
Revis, Beth. Across the Universe
Rocks!, Misako. Detective Jermain Volume 1
Rosenfield, Kat. Amelia Anne is Dead and Gone
Ross, Jeff. The Drop
Sandler, Karen. Tankborn
Schrefer, Eliot. The School For Dangerous Girls
Silvey, Craig. Jasper Jones
Singleton, Linda Joy. Dead Girl Dancing
Smith, Alexander Gordon. Lockdown
Springer, Nancy. My Sister's Stalker
Tullson, Diane. Riley Park
Valentine, Jenny. Double
Valentino, Amanda. Invisible I
Wells, Dan. I Am Not A Serial Killer
Westerfeld, Scott. So Yesterday
Whaley, John Corey. Where Things Come Back
Willingham, Bill. Down the Mysterly River
Wooding, Chris. Malice
Yovanoff, Brenna. Paper Valentine
You Killed Wesley Payne
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Hard boiled noir featuring a teen detective. By the end I didn't like any of the characters even though I had stuck with it to see how the mystery would unfold. I did like the dialog. OK. So last night I woke up thinking about this book and realized the reason I didn't like the characters was because they made me feel the same way I feel about John Irving's and Ann Tyler's characters. Just because I don't like them doesn't mean that you won't enjoy the books. Goodness knows that lots of people love books by Ann Tyler and John Irving even though I find their characters mean spirited. Now, I wanted to like the book. Someone I'm very fond of is in the acknowledgments which makes me think that Sean Beaudoin is a cool person. Remember - no two people ever read the same book.
The Last Good Place of Lily Odilon
The Dark Days of Hamburger Halpin
Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers
Margaret K. McElderry Books
How Holly Black can combine a noir murder mystery with a boarding school story and magical powers while making it all believable is nothing short of amazing. The world she has created in the two Curse Workers books is gritty and ugly but still she lets the goodness in people show through. Cassel Sharpe is being recruited by the Feds to find his brother's murderer. Meanwhile his mother is conning the governor who is trying to bring new testing and discrimination to bear against workers. I would love to hear from someone who reads this without having read White Cat first to see if it stands alone. It looks like it could to me but then I did read and love White Cat.
What I Saw and How I Lied
Fun, enjoyable caper story featuring Kat Bishop, a born grifter who decides to be on the side of good. She steals a legendary emerald to restore it to the elderly daughter of the archaeologists who had uncovered it decades ago only to discover she had been conned. Together with a likable coterie of young relatives and friends she sets out to right the wrong. Very cinematic in feel, this would make a great movie along the lines of Oceans 11, etc. While this is the second in a series that started with Heist Society I can honestly say it stands on its own as I didn't read the first book.
The Book of Michael
Red Deer Press
Six months into his sentence after being convicted and imprisoned as an adult for the murder of his girlfriend, sixteen-year-old Michael is exonerated by the confession of the real murderer and released from prison but his life has been unalterably changed. The plot may snare reluctant readers and it will be interesting to see if they will stick with it through Michael's introspective healing as he examines and tries to get on with his life.
Kill Me Softly
This entrancing contemporary take on fairy tales reminds me of Bill Willingham's graphic novel Fables series with the grittiness of the original tales preserved and with vividly evoked images that bring the Disney versions to mind. When orphaned Mira, who had been raised by her two godmothers, runs away from home seeking the graves of her parents who died in a fire at her christening, she meets brothers Felix and Blue who live in a casino resort in the city. Blue is antagonistic from the get go but Felix, who is the 20 something manager of the casino and too old for her, provides her with a room and a pass key as long as she promises to never go to room 3031. She meets an assortment of local teens who are all modern archetypes of fairy tale characters and discovers that something momentous is approaching along with her sixteenth birthday. Palpable suspense, endearing characters, and sly wit combine in a delightful confection that may get readers interested in reading other takes on fairy tales both familiar and more obscure. "Donkeyskin" is mentioned and readers may want to explore Deerskin by Robin McKinley and discover some of her other fairy tale inspired novels.
An enjoyable read in the Grimsphere as Lex and Driggs fall in love while trying to track down a serial Damner. Croak sees political unrest and the junior Grim Reapers end up going to Las Vegas-like DeMyse.
The second half of the story that started with When I Was Joe continues the compelling story about Ty/ Joe/ Jake who is in the British version of the Witness Protection Program. Ty's growth as a human is subtle but real as he meets relatives he never knew he had, discovers family secrets, and faces the consequences of his own actions. This brief review doesn't do it justice as it is a compelling and memorable read.
Jump the Cracks
On her way to visit her dad in New York City, fifteen-year-old Victoria inadvertently kidnaps a toddler and absconds with a drug dealer's cash. Traveling across several states while trying to do the right thing she finds herself in danger. Great thriller for younger teens with lots of potential for discussion. What would you do if you found a bruised toddler seemingly abandoned?
Houghton Mifflin Books for Children
Mitch True, short, round, and nicknamed after the Michelin man for his own "spare tire" goes into his senior year of high school planning to make a name for himself as a journalist. He wasn't elected editor of his Seattle HS paper but sports writer. Paired up with a hot Korean girl photographer, they stumble onto a mystery surrounding a new football player. Great pacing, Deuker's masterful character development, and a believable mystery make for a great read. I didn’t care for the detailed football scenes which would probably be a major plus for many readers.
The Dying Breath
Seventeen-year-old Cammie has it bad for Justin, the young deputy sheriff. Meanwhile Kyle is back and doing some serious stalking. The forensic elements revolve around two celebs who drowned without water while sitting in a Durango eatery and a reclusive eccentric in Silverton.
Loved it! It is full of Awesome. Lots of Rat's Saw God feel to it. When they were little Margo Roth Spiegelman was Q’s best friend. Now a month before high school graduation she has disappeared after taking Q on a night of pranks. Worried she may have committed suicide, Q and his friends start tracking her down using clues she has left behind.
Hahn, Mary Downing
Mister Death's Blue-Eyed Girls
It is an interesting book but seemed very slow paced. Hahn did a terrific job with the characters and I really liked that Nora spent time trying to figure out what she believed. I think that what kept me from loving this book is that it was too real, it went on and on like life does. The ending, when Nora is approaching 70, made it seem more to me like a book of interest to adults rather than to teens. I've had this available to the Bistro teens for quite some time and none have them have read it.
Haines, Kathryn Miller
The Girl is Murder
Roaring Brook Press
It's 1942 and Iris and her dad have moved down in status and position after he lost his leg at Pearl Harbor and Iris's German born mother committed suicide. Now there is no money and Iris is going to a tough public school while her dad tries to build a business as a private investigator. Fans of the 1940s will enjoy the slang and vivid view of what life looked like then. I didn't find the characters or the story compelling but once again, I'll add the Bistro Book Club mantra -- "no two people ever read the same book." Folks I respect have loved it so give it a try if you like mysteries set in the 40s.
The Chamber of Five
Knopf Books for Young Readers
Set in a private school for gifted kids, seventeen-year-old Jason Wetherby, the son of a congressman knows what’s expected of him. He just doesn't agree with it. The school is populated by incredibly smart scholarship students and the children of the rich and powerful. "You were either gifted at Lambert, or your parents gifted Lambert." It is run by an elite group called the Chamber of Five and when Jason is chosen to be a member of that group he gets up close and personal with how the school and much of society actually operates. This look at ugly politics is not for the fainthearted but it will keep readers turning the pages to see how Jason deals with the systemic abuses at Lambert School. Issues that resonate with the truthful way they are depicted include sexual harassment, child abuse, bullying, and politics. Jason joins with Brooke, a member of the Youth Leadership Group, and Talbot "Elvis" Presley, who is freakishly intelligent to turn things around while facing deadly consequences. I am a fan of Michael Harmon. The characters in his books always seem real and his stories are always compelling. He is a true storyteller. All of his previous books have been ones I could use to turn reluctant readers into real readers.
Violet's mother is a medium in London in the later half of the nineteenth century. Violet and her sort-of-foster-brother help her mother who is a scammer trick the people who pay her to contact their dead loved ones. At an extended house party in the country Violet sees a girl dripping water with bruises around her neck and wrists and realizes she is seeing the spirit of a murdered girl. This entertaining read features a peek into another time and society, nice ghostly touches including a ghost dog, a dysfunctional family, a romance, a tale of doomed love, and a mystery.
Kiss Me Kill Me
Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Loved the set up but it kept going and going. I have problems with a mystery that isn't solved, that only confirms that there really is a mystery by the end.
The Night She Disappeared
Henry Holt and Co.
Terrific suspense novel. The format of using multiple perspectives was perfect for the story. The relationship between Gabie and Drew also played out in a very real way and the climax was thriller-perfect. I am going to love book talking this to teens. When my son was a college freshman in a city 300 miles away he had a pizza delivery job. We were called at 2am by his roommate who told us he had gone out on a delivery about 10pm and hadn't come back. This was before he had a cell phone and the address turned out to be impossible to find. Fortunately it turned out that as he drove around trying to find an obscure address on a rural road he got lost and eventually ran out of gas. Nothing dire, just had to spend a frigid night eating cold pizza and shivering. In the time between receiving that horrifying call and the next morning when he was found I knew exactly the terror Kayla's parents felt.
Knopf Books for Young Readers