Book Reviews by Genre: Mystery

Truly Devious
Johnson, Maureen
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Truly Devious is about a girl, Stevie, who goes to a school that is for genius students. At this school, two murders have happened. One from 1936 and one from when Stevie was there. Throughout the book, Stevie attempts to solve both murders. With her parents concerned about her safety, and her friends concerned about her sanity, Stevie digs into the deep and dirty details of the murders.
I loved this book! It kept me intrigued and I couldn't put the book down. The chapters were packed with detail and it was like I was solving the mystery as well. There is also a sequal, called the Vanishing Stairs, which is just as good!

Reviewer's Name: Mackenzie
The Mysterious Benedict Society
Stewart, Trenton Lee
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

The Mysterious Benedict Society is by far one of my best reads. Orphaned children are put to a series of tests by adults and a 'caretaker'. After the long and slightly dragged out beginning, you really begin to grasp the story. The Antagonist of the story chooses to use orphaned children because they have no roots or family. He trains them to never be afraid of their biggest fears . Although this book is slightly long and drawn out, it is still packed with lots of suspense. I would highly recommend for kids 12-14.

Reviewer's Name: Luke
We Were Liars book jacket
Lockhart, E.
2 stars = Meh
Review:

We Were Liars is about a family called the Sinclair's. The plot follows Cadence or "Cady," a member of this rich and privileged family, and illustrates the friendships she has with the other four teenagers who vacation on the private island that the Sinclairs own. The novel has an interesting writing style and the premise is that Cady has been suffering from memory loss, and can't remember parts of what happened last summer on the island. However, there is clearly something bad that happened last summer that nobody will talk about. This leaves Cady to figure out herself and put together the pieces on why her memory is blank on the events of last summer, and what exactly happened. We readers have to solve the clues to figure out what this huge unspoken secret is along with Cady.
I understand the gist of what the author meant to do here. When I first began to read, it wasn’t a bad story. I actually didn’t mind the writing style unlike most readers, and yes, while the main character was pretty privileged and slightly ignorant, she wasn’t the worst character. However, the thing that was the dealbreaker for me was the big secret. The plot twist that the author had been hinting at for most of the book. The issue was, is that the big revelation wasn't very interesting or something to gasp about at all. I feel like there wasn’t enough groundwork laid in the earlier portions of the story for the plot twist, so when the huge secret was unveiled, it seemed very abrupt, random, and unsatisfying. There were too many holes and loose ends, and I think as a reader, most people will leave very unsatisfied and slightly confused after finishing this book.

Reviewer Grade: 11

Reviewer's Name: Michelle
Isle of Blood and Stone
Lucier, Makiia
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

"Isle of Blood and Stone" is an engaging story of Elias the mapmaker who lived on the island kingdom of St. John Del Mar. When he was very young, his father was lost in a plot of kidnap the princes of the kingdom, one that was never fully solved. Elias, eighteen years later, has returned home to solve this conspiracy and avenge his father. With the help Mercedes and the king, Ulises, he begins to unravel the mystery that his father, who may still be alive, has left for him. "Isle of Blood and Stone" encompasses the qualities that good books do: suspense, tension, and a little bit of love. I would recommend this book to anyone that enjoys a good book and a good plot twist.

Reviewer's Name: Caden
The Inheritance Games
Barnes, Jennifer
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Avery always felt like wallpaper at her school, practically invisible. That was until Tobias Hawthorne, a complete stranger, left her billions. She has to uproot her life and move to Texas to inherit the billions. She has to figure out why she inherited the money. Though it is hard while most of the household holds a grudge against her. There Avery finds a complex puzzle waiting to be solved, and not to mention a love triangle.

This book was an amazing read. It tells Avery's story and her scavenger hunt of a life time. It's a great book to help get out of a reading slump. Highly recommend!

Reviewer's Name: Lilly
Where the Crawdads Sing
Owens, Delia
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

This book takes place in North Carolina and follows the life of a girl named Kya. Kya has lived alone in the marsh since a young age and has always loved the life within. The book follows her as she grows up and the challenges she faces. Then her life takes a drastic turn when she is accused of the murder of Chase Andrews. The book deals with themes of love, loneliness, and more.

This book was pretty good, but outside of what I normally read. That said it was a very interesting book to read. It reminded me of To Kill a Mockingbird because of the trial and theme of prejudice. Kya was such a unique character to follow with her lifestyle and how she acted. It was easy to cheer her on during the trial or feel her pain. It was fun to follow along with the trial and see the evidence. That said, I didn't rate this higher because of the twist at the end. The twist caught me off guard and it wasn't one I liked. I felt it went against some of the points made in the book. Although I know some people really loved this book. So this is one of those books you should read for yourself and see what you think. You might really like it or you might not. Either way, I think this book did a good job of showing Kya's world and life.

Reviewer's Name: Alyson
One of Us Is Lying
McManus, Karen M.
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

This story is written in several points of view to truly capture how one regular detention turned into a murder scene. Four kids from Bayview High, full of hidden truths and an app that exposes everyone if they like it or not. The kids were from different social clicks, the classic "no-good" boy, the baseball star, miss perfect, and the girl who has her heart full of dedication to join Yale. Everywhere they went they were constantly watched, no alone time without someone bothering them about the boy that died from something so simple as an allergic reaction. The possibilities are endless when it comes to solving the puzzle, did the four students do it, or did someone from outside the room do it?

Reviewer's Name: Savanah
All The Wrong Questions: "Who Could That Be at This Hour?"
Snicket, Lemony
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

If you have read A Series of Unfortunate Events, you know of a secret organization, and many, many easily fooled people. But, Lemony Snicket is not one of them. This book involves that secret organization, a very dangerous criminal, a plot involving a statue of a hideous sea creature, and Lemony Snicket himself. Perhaps you should turn your attention away from this horrible book and read another one.... JUST KIDDING : this book is amazingly awesome, no matter what Mr. Snicket says on the back!

When Lemony Snicket was 12 years old, he already had his hands on a mystery.mA confusing, detailed mystery. But if you pay attention, and read closely, you should be able to keep up. Lemony purposefully chooses the last-ranked mentor on the list, hoping that he will have more time for something else, but nothing can be farther from the truth. He is soon involved in another mystery, one that will take nearly all his time. His mentor, S. Theodora Markson, has no idea what she's doing, but acts like she knows everything. Someone is lying to him. He gets into trouble with the law by pure accident. This will take all the skills and knowledge from his 'unusual education'.

I love all of the Lemony Snicket books I have read so far, and this one is no exception. The plot will keep you guessing at every twist and turn. I like the way Lemony hardly ever panics, and how he handles things in his out-of-the-box way. This is a great way to spend the time if you are bored and sleepy, because it will wake you right up, and keep you entertained throughout the whole book. However, do not read this at bedtime, because you will not be able to stop, and will probably lose yourself a lot of sleep. This book is the first in a series, if you are looking for more Lemony Snicket.

Have fun reading!

Reviewer's Name: Kelsey
The Guest List
Foley, Lucy
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Those longing for an Agatha Christie-style yarn with red herrings that keep you guessing (incorrectly) will enjoy this mystery by Lucy Foley, author of The Hunting Party. This whodunit – by the end you may ask yourself who wouldn’t? – uses alternating points of views to reveal small, important details about each character. Those alternating chapters provide arguably understandable reasons to kill the eventual "victim," whose identity remains as murky until the end as the weather enveloping the isolated island off the Irish coast. Is the victim or murderer the Bridezilla? The reality TV star groom? The depressed bridesmaid? The jilted former lovers? Just how many of them are there? Or was it the jealous best friend? This modern tale evoking And Then There Were None and Murder on the Orient Express, may make you wonder if Christie, if she were alive, would have considered revenge porn as a motive for murder.

Reviewer's Name: Joe P.
The Screaming Staircase
Stroud, Jonathan
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

The Screaming Staircase takes place in London, where suddenly, ghosts have been popping up all around the country. For some reason, only kids can see and hear the ghosts. I decided to read this book because it was a part of a school project. I really enjoyed this book because it was full of suspense and mystery. I thought the characters were very well written and they all felt genuine. This book is in a series, so I have recently started the second book. The only thing I didn't like very much was that there were lots of different terms that the author used to name the ghosts, so sometimes I got a little confused. I give this book an 8;10 because it was one of the most interesting books I have read this year!

Reviewer's Name: Lotus
Paper Towns
Green, John
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

When I was looking for good books to read for teenagers, this book came up, so I decided to read it, also since I've seen the cover before. I also know that there's a movie about this book and I enjoy comparing books to their
movies. This book is very interesting and suspenseful, and I think that teenagers would really love reading this book.

It's about a guy named Quentin who is secretly in love with a girl named Margo. They become really close, in distance and relationship, because they are also neighbors. During their high school years, they drift apart until one day Margo asks Quentin for a favor getting revenge on her cheating boyfriend and her friends. Quentin agrees and they complete their mission. Things start to look up for Quentin as Margo shows signs of her liking him back and they start to hangout.
A little while later, Margo is reported missing. Quentin becomes scared for Margo and attempts finding her and helping her, with the help of his friends. They discover a bunch of mysteries and secrets about her on the path to find out what happened to her. They soon find clues about where she might be, but Quentin begins to worry if Margo might've killed herself. What happened to Margo? Will Quentin find her? Did she run away or did someone kidnap her?
Read this book to find out.

Reviewer's Name: Trisha V
One of Us Is Lying
McManus, Karen M.
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

One of Us Is Lying is a captivating mystery written from the perspective of four main characters. The author brings you into the lives of four teenagers who have all witnessed the death of a classmate. Each of these kids is suspected of murdering Simon, but having been one of the most hated kids in school it is hard to pin his death on one person. Every page I read I got even more involved in these characters' lives. All their stories were so realistic I felt connected to them through more than just the tragedy that made all their lives change. Secrets are hard to live with and get over, but this book shows how whole schools taken by a gossip site can grow with them or fail to live up to the challenge. The surprising twists and very sincere characters give you a look into how fast life can change because of one person and what secrets can do to people. Karen McManus brought up many difficult topics in this book and melded them with the character's lives showing how they dealt with them and lived through their different hardships. This book leaves you thinking about how anything can happen to you but what happens after and how you react to it is always most important in the end. The feeling of satisfaction and happiness the characters make you feel is rewarding and shows you that it's possible to get through what seems impossible.

Reviewer's Name: Clare
The Liar's Wife
Hayes, Samantha
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

The Liar's Wife begins as the typical waking up, going to work, and returning home without any excessive excitement. This however all changes from one accident. This nearly fatal accident leads the main character, Ella, into a situation that she cannot escape from or rather who she cannot escape from. Her past and her work colleague start to meddle in her present situation in several ways that only can be told through the pages of this book. Who is the man that claims so boldly to be her husband?

Reviewer's Name: Savanah
Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus
Bowling, Dusti
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

This book is about a girl named Aven who has no arms. Avens parents
get a job which makes them have to moves to an amusement park in Arizona. She
struggles because people look at her like she dose not belong, someone even
asked her if her having no arms in contagious! She meets a boy named Conner
with Tourette's, and they become good friends. They think there has been a
murder at the amusement park and try to solve it while over coming stuff they
both have been struggling with. This book will leave you wondering what is
going to happen next, with a big twist at the end. This book is a must read
for anyone that wants an entertaining book with twist hidden in it.

Reviewer's Name: Estella
The Date
Jensen, Louise
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

This book consisted of several twists and turns that kept me wanting to read more. The author created a surreal feeling and connection between the reader and the main character. Throughout several chapters, the author does not want the audience to pity the main character for what she experiences. She would rather have the audience and the character go through these feelings and motions together. The climax seems as though it is in the earlier chapters of this book, but the suspense only builds from there.
Reviewer grade: 10

Reviewer's Name: Savanah
A Good Man
Katz, Ani
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

This book was a little rough to get through at the start. However, once they reached the rising action, it was hard to put down. The word choice Ani Katz puts into each and every paragraph truly justifies the situations of this man's perspective. While reading, I felt as if I was being told a story by someone close to the main character about this man's adventures and tales. The ending of this book is sure to be remembered.
Reviewer's Grade: 10

Reviewer's Name: Savanah
Machine
Bear, Elizabeth
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Machine is a sci-fi space opera set in the same universe as Ancestral Night, but with completely new characters and a new writing style. It revolves around a trauma doctor, LLyn, a specialist in search and rescue. Her body has a flaw, however. She deals with nerve-drilling pain, a side-effect of living on a backwater planet with no medicine, and relies heavily on an ai-driven exo that supports her and hides her pain. When an assignment brings her to the far reaches of space, she discovers a relic of the ancient Earth. A generation ship. Sent when earth was thought to have no hope of survival, this relic has drifted across space a time, with all of its crew in cryo-sleep, and its shipmind ravaged and torn by conflicting imperatives. This book is a great read for lovers of sci-fi and mystery.

Reviewer's Name: Ethan
Stalking Jack the Ripper
Maniscalco, Kerri
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

I absolutely loved this fast paced murder mystery! With awesome likeable characters to an exciting plot, this book has it all. A good murder mystery should always have an exciting ending, and this book did not disappoint. I was totally engrossed in this master piece from start to finish, and cannot wait to start the second one. Stalking Jack the Ripper blew away my expectations and more.
Reviewer Grade: 9.

Reviewer's Name: Sage
The Inheritance Games
Barnes, Jennifer Lynn
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

This book is perfect for anyone who loves a good puzzle or even just a good story. This book is hard to put down once you start, you get so involved in the mystery, and the characters. If you like the movie ‘Knives Out’ you will definitely love this book. The characters are well rounded and feel realistic, and the plot is amazing! If your looking for a good book to really make you think check this one out!

Reviewer's Name: Rylie
Book Review: Caraval
Garber, Stephanie
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Caraval was an exciting and very original take on Alice in Wonderland, and I loved it. From two strong female leads to a heart wrenching romance, Caraval has it all. This book is filled with all sorts of twists and turns, and was completely unpredictable. I loved the magical world that Caraval is set in, and was a huge fan of the mystery theme in the story. The character development was extremely good, and I loved the tone that the author wrote the story in. Caraval is definitely a book I would recommend to anyone looking for a bit of adventure.

Reviewer's Name: Nicholas