All Book Reviews by Genre: Mystery

The Mysterious Benedict Society
Stewart, Trenton
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

After passing a peculiar test found in an ad in the newspaper, four gifted children are given a mission: attend the Learning Institute for the Very Enlightened to defeat a malicious organization with hypnotizing abilities.
Judging from the summary, it seems like an overdone cliche novel, but it really isn't.
The characters are all quirky and diverse, but I was still able to relate to them; it was fun reading about all of them. They all had their own gifts and talents that made them unique from each other.
It had a perfect mixture of action, suspense, mystery, and a touch of adventure.
The plot was engaging and all of the events and trials that occurred were compelling and captivating. I was never bored when reading this. The solutions the main characters came up with when faced with a problem was always clever and left me impressed that the author was able to come up with such a smart answer.
All of the plot twists were incredible and had me at the edge of my seat!
The Mysterious Benedict Society is an amazing book, and I couldn't put it down. It seems impossible to hate this book. All of the people I've met that have read this book (granted, I've only met a few people who have) love it.
I'm sure you would too.
Reviewer Grade: 8

Reviewer's Name: Miriam X
Genres:
The False Prince
Nielsen, Jennifer
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

Sage, a quick-witted orphan, is to compete with three other children to become the impersonator of a prince, or die. This plan, devised by a nobleman, is made to prevent a civil war that is bound to tear the country apart.
This novel isn't amazing, but it's worth a read.
Most of the novel happened while Sage was training to become an adequate impersonator, which I expected, but it was a little boring at times.
The strongest quality of it was the main character, Sage. He had a lot of
personality- snarky and stubborn, but clever and heroic too. I enjoyed seeing him react to the different trials he had to face as well as the shrewd comebacks he would make.
The ending of the book was the best part. It was when an unexpected (but not
unwelcome) plot twist occurred and everything was tied together. Although I said it was the best part, it felt kind of rushed because so many things happened in such a short time.
I didn't really feel very strongly for this book. To me, it was a tiny bit bland until the last part. It wasn't really my cup of tea, but I definitely think it is worth a try.
Reviewer Grade: 8

Reviewer's Name: Miriam X
When You Reach Me
Stead, Rebecca
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Sixth grader Miranda Sinclair started receiving strange letters that somehow predict the future. After she got more and more letters, Miranda was determined to solve the mystery behind them.
The novel really conveys the feeling of normalcy; it seems like the every-day life of an ordinary middle schooler, but when the future-predictions letters are added into the mix, it feels surreal- almost dream-like.
It got a little confusing in the middle for me because I couldn't understand why the characters were doing what they were doing, but it all gets brilliantly explained at the end. The way it all tied up was wonderful and worth all of the confusion; the ending really was the best part.
The characters were all like ordinary people I'd see everyday, which gave me the feeling that I was reading realistic fiction rather than science-fiction.
Their personalities weren't typical and they weren't just generic personalities (e.g., a a mean popular girl or a nerdy unpopular kid).
Reading When You Reach Me was a roller-coaster (especially the last part!) and I really recommend it to everyone.
Reviewer Grade: 8

Reviewer's Name: Miriam X
The Bourbon Thief
Reisz, Tiffany
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

The main characters in the story are Paris Christie, Cooper McQueen, Tamara Maddox (the Maddox family is the family who owns the Red Thread Bourbon company), and Levi Shelby. The Bourbon Thief is a must read! It's simply captivating and different from many other thrillers I have read. The story focuses on the past and ties it with the present. The author did a spectacular job in making sure we were blown away in everything she wrote. It felt original and the plot was mysterious and romantic. It was mysterious because the Maddox families bourbon company shut down suddenly and no one knows why. Paris wants the bourbon, but why? What does Paris want to hide? I love the third person narrative because I saw each characters view points and the fact that I could read that was already amazing to me.
Reviewer Grade: 12

Reviewer's Name: Jade D.
Genres:
Scat
Hiaasen, Carl
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Scat, by Carl Hiaasen, was about a mean science teacher who disappears on a school field trip. Two students go on a journey to find their teacher. There are many plot twists and the book also goes in depth about all the characters. Over all this book was amazing and highly suggested for anyone who wants an easy read.
Reviewer Grade: 8

Reviewer's Name: Mollie A.
Awards:
Rivers of London: Body Work
Aaronovitch, Ben
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Peter Grant is part of the Special Assessment Unit, a police group in London that is called in to investigate the weirder cases. And the first case is pretty weird - it seems like there are a few cars in London that have developed a murderous bent. Grant and crew do their best to figure out what is going on...before someone else finds themself dead at the hands of their car.
This was really fun! The mystery was different from anything I've ever read, the world building happened quickly but thoroughly, and the characters were likable. While not spectacular, the art was pretty and made the story easy to follow. Oh, and major bonus, the characters were diverse! I liked this one enough that I just put the regular novel Peter Grant books on hold, and I'll definitely be checking out all future graphic novel installments. Harry Dresden fans, check this series out ASAP!

Reviewer's Name: Britt
And Then There Were None
Agatha, Christie
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

The name Agatha Christie is synonymous with unique and puzzling mysteries, but And Then There Were None is definitely one of her best. The plot is simple enough: ten people are invited to an island, stranded there, and then accused of a murder. And then one by one each person begins to die just like the people in the old nursery rhyme “Ten Little Soldier Boys.” However, the reader is kept in the dark as to who the murderer is until the very end, and the end is not at all what the reader might have expected. The plot moves along fairly quickly, but it doesn’t get confusing. The characters are fully sketched out which helps to make the story somewhat believable. The best thing about this book is that it is not at all cheesy; it is gripping and just frightening enough to make the reader want to finish the book before they turn out the lights at night.
Reviewer Grade: 11

Reviewer's Name: Grace O.
The Crooked House
Kent, Christobel
1 star = Yuck!
Review:

This was a very disappointing read. The novel follows Alison, who was the sole survivor of the massacre of her family when she was a teenager. She has since moved to London, changed her name, and tried to put her past behind her, but a wedding invitation from her boyfriend’s ex draws her back to the community she thought she’d left behind. The book came well-recommended, and I went into it expecting a better story than the one I got. This was sold to me as a psychological thriller that follows Alison’s attempt to investigate the massacre, which had been treated as a murder-suicide committed by her father. Unfortunately, the characterization was clumsy, the writing was poor, and the ending, without spoiling anything, was badly explained and unsatisfying. I came to hate every character in the book, and by the end of it I was reading out of a sense of obligation rather than any actual interest in the plot (if you’re paying any attention, you’ll figure the ‘mystery’ out an agonizingly long time before our oblivious protagonist catches on).

Reviewer's Name: Lauren
The Mysterious Affair at Styles
Christie, Agatha
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

When I was a teen, I read all of Agatha Christie's books and developed my love of mysteries! When I was a teen reading the mysteries set in England and other far off places, they seemed so exotic! But I always enjoyed the characters and trying to figure out who done it! After listening to the first in the Hercule Poirot series, the mystery still stands! Set during WWI, wealthy Emily Cavendish-Inglethorp is found dying of strychnine poisoning. Who did it? The younger husband? The step-sons? Or someone else after her fortune? I was intrigued and trying to figure it out the whole time! Knowing more about Agatha Christie's life and about the mystery genre in general, I enjoyed
the book even more the second time around!

Reviewer's Name: Melissa
Genres:
The Short Drop
Fitzsimmons, Matthew
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

The Short Drop was recommended to me. I finally got around to reading it and was blown away! The book is a mystery/thriller. The basic plot is that the vice president's daughter was kidnapped. Who kidnapped her? What happened to her? This is a mystery that went on for 10 years until Gibson Vaughn, who grew up with the vice president's daughter, is asked to help solve the mystery. There is a lot of action and many twists and turns!
Just when I thought I knew where the story was going, it changed and I found myself wondering how it was going to end. I liked that Matthew Fitzsimmons didn't tie up all of the loose ends and now I have to wait until fall to see
if he picks up any for the next installment in the series! Definitely a fast read and well worth your time!

Reviewer's Name: Melissa
The Maze Runner
Dashner, James
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Thomas can't remember anything.
He wakes up in a mysterious lift and finds himself in a strange place called the Glade with several other boys - all their memories wiped. Encircling the Glade is a giant maze that holds terrifying creatures and endless paths that lead to nowhere. But, who put them there?
This book was very fast-paced. As Thomas tries to unravel his past, we discover something very dark has brought them there - something even wicked. I read this book quickly - it was very hard to put down. The end is just as confusing as the beginning, making you even more anxious to pick up the next book!
The only real flaw I could see was the lack of character development. This may because it's the first book and the characters may change as the story continues. But, besides that, it was great!
Reviewer Grade: 9

Reviewer's Name: Gillian P
The Extraordinary Education of Nicholas Benedict
Stewart, Trenton
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

When Nicholas Benedict, a prodigal nine-year-old orphan suffering from Narcolepsy (a condition that causes sudden bouts of sleep), hears a rumor that there are millions of dollars hidden in the orphanage he just got transferred to, he is determined to find out where it is.
One great aspect of the novel is the main character. In the beginning of the book, Nicholas Benedict was very cynical and only saw the bad in people due to his past experiences, but as the story continued, he started to learn that good people did actually exist, and began to aspire to be like those people as well; reading this development of the main character was a very nice experience. I liked the fact that Nicholas wasn't perfect and despite the fact that he was a genius, there were times when he acted like a child; because of this, he seemed more like an actual person. Nicholas's intelligence continually surprised me, and I couldn't predict anything he would do, which made me want to find out what happened next. Most of the other characters had a lot of personality as well, and I found myself relating to some of them; they had vices and they had virtues, just like any other person.
There are many uncommon words in this book, so it is very likely that you will coming across a word you don't know.
I chose to read this because I first read The Mysterious Benedict Society series, and this book is the prequel.
I usually stay away from mystery novels, but The Extraordinary Education of Nicholas Benedict is an exception. Whether you like mystery novels or not is irrelevant when it comes to this; I think everyone should read this.I honestly couldn't put this book down; I read it all in one go. I consider this my most favorite book!
Reviewer's Grade: 8

Reviewer's Name: Miriam X.
Awards:
Gotham Academy Vol. 1: Welcome to Gotham Academy
Cloonan, Becky
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

Olive Silverlock is back at Gotham Academy after a summer off - a summer that she barely remembers. With the help of her ex-boyfriend's little sister "Maps", Olive and crew are trying to oust a mysterious ghost before the ghost makes Gotham Academy uninhabitable for the living.

I wanted to like this title more than I actually ended up liking it. It started out with a bang - I found the first issue to be delightful - and then stumbled a bit after that. Even though I enjoyed the art, premise and
characters, I found the story itself to be wanting. Lots of potential here, and hopefully it will be more fully realized in future volumes.

Reviewer's Name: Britt
A Study in Charlotte
Cavallaro, Brittany
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

This was a very interesting Sherlock Holmes update. The story follows Jamie Watson - great great grandson of THAT Watson - as he accepts a rugby scholarship at a prep school in Connecticut. This prep school coincidentally (yes, they pretend its a coincidence, though it's pretty transparently NOT a coincidence and I wouldn't consider that a spoiler, because...duh) is where The one Charlotte Holmes - great great granddaughter of THAT Holmes - is attending school. Pretty soon, both Charlotte and James find themselves being implicated in Sherlock Holmes copycat murders, and they team up to find the murderer and clear their name.

Overall, I enjoyed the book, though I could've done with a more interesting mystery. The writing was perfectly fine, the mystery familiar (again, it's a Holmes copycat), but the characters were definitely the best part. They didn't feel like Watson and Holmes carbon copies, but there were some clear similarities. The mystery was fairly subpar - I like my mysteries to be a
bit more...mysterious...but the ending left the series open for a fun sequel that I might someday read.

Reviewer's Name: Britt
Genres:
Lost
Davies, Jacqueline
1 star = Yuck!
Review:

In my opinion the book Lost was a terrible book. Lost is a book about emotions and feelings. Ug, I thought this would be about a lost dimension or something. Not a book about a girls work and love life. I felt this story dragging on forever, what felt like reading hours was only mere minutes. I read the back cover and it looked like a good book. Never judge a book by it’s cover, the story inside was so bad I wanted to slam the book down and say “That’s it!” Also, It was written like you were in the story, such as refences to you. Like “You are singing!” Unless you like playing along and doing what a book says at 10 at night, do NOT read this book.
Reviewer Grade: 7

Reviewer's Name: Lucas L.
The Truth About The Harry Quebert Affair
Dicker, Joel
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

I wasn't sure what to expect when I starting reading this book. I did know it was an international best seller and it was translated from French. I was pleasantly surprised by it! I do think the book could have been edited a bit more. It's a mystery set in 2008. So the presidential election is at the backdrop of the main story. When you are reading it, you find that the mystery is a love story. But as it unfolds, you find out there is alot of trickery going on. At times, the investigation into what happened to Nola was very repetitive. Also, the bits between Marcus and his mother could have been cut out entirely as well as the parts about the 2008 presidential election. Neither really progressed the story. But I liked how Dicker wrote his characters and I did like the twists to the mystery. But I wasn't crazy how things were tied up neatly in a bow at the end. But I do think the mystery and the process of solving it and proving Harry innocent was engrossing. If you like mysteries and want something easy to read, I would recommend The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair.

Reviewer's Name: Melissa M.
Awards:
Genres:
Jackaby
Ritter, William
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

Nice idea, not especially well executed, but serviceable nevertheless. Penniless but daring young Abigail Rook is stuck in New England when she meets an eccentric private detective named Jackaby. He specializes in supernatural deduction using an ability to see what other people can't -- faeries, monsters, etc. He is also in need of an assistant. When a very odd murder occurs, Jackaby and Abigail are on the case. Who is the murderer? Can our heroes stop the killer in time to save innocent lives? And will we ever learn what Jackaby's initials stand for? At best, it's a really laudable middle-grade supernatural mystery. Unfortunately, Jackaby himself falls rather flat. He seems to be a collection of quirks and mannerisms borrowed from more famous characters. Abigail is by no means and ideal character, but she is independent in a way that many female protagonists aren't. There are several appealing secondary characters -- one of whom is a ghost -- who were a bit more unusual, but on the whole, this book does not have the most intriguing cast, although it does try very hard. The plot itself is reasonably interesting, but suffers from the same malady as the characterizations: originality, or rather, lack thereof. Anyone who's familiar with folklore (or has read Harry Potter) has a good chance at guessing the identities of the murderer and other characters long before the big reveal. If you want a lightweight, easy-read fantasy-mystery with some fun characters and fairly witty dialogue, you'll probably like it, but for really intense murder mystery fans, look elsewhere.
Reviewer Grade: 12

Reviewer's Name: Caroline K.
Awards:
Paper Towns
Green, John
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Quentin, or Q, has had a crush on Margo for ages. So when she invites him out on a night full of revenge, he agrees to help her. After the night is over, Margo disappears. Q finds a trail of clues that she's left behind and vows to find her. After all, it is what she wanted. Right?

I liked this book. I found the subject of paper towns to be fascinating. I like how the author decided to incorporate them into his story.

Reviewer Grade: 12

Reviewer's Name: Alex M.
The Alienist
Carr, Caleb
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

This book is amazing. It spent weeks on the bestseller lists the year it was published, and is currently being turned into a television series. It takes place in 1896 and concerns fictional psychologist (or “alienist”) Dr. Laszlo Kreizler who works with his best friend John Moore, a crime reporter, to solve a series of brutal and perverted murders of New York City child prostitutes. They are joined by several other unconventional and intrepid characters who help them investigate the murders, eventually leading to an edge-of-your-seat climactic showdown worthy of any blockbuster thriller.
Our narrator, John Moore, is well-drawn and extremely likeable, providing insight into the personalities of more-difficult-to-access characters such as Laszlo as well as entertaining the reader with sarcastic asides and private commentary. His interactions with Laszlo are especially enjoyable – the two are polar opposites, yet have an enduring friendship that allows them to work together like Holmes and Watson. Dr. Laszlo Kreizler himself is dark, brooding, and intelligent, but moves beyond a stereotype and gains the reader’s sympathy, especially as his intriguing past – and relationships -- come to light. The other members of the team are generally likable as well, if rather underdeveloped. Their racial and religious political correctness seems somewhat manufactured considering the time period, but the strength of the plot and their own likability allows the reader to accept it as signs of the characters’ progressive viewpoints and accepting natures. Also, Theodore Roosevelt and other actual historical figures make cameos – it’s like a treat for history buffs.
Speaking of history, a main factor in the story is the concept of “psychological determinism,” a psychological theory that was new at the time but is now largely accepted, as well as forensic science, which was also mostly untested in 1896. The heroes in this story aren’t your typical Victorian detectives, using Holmesian deduction and raw logic to trace the killer. These investigators use psychology and forensics to catch a murderer who leaves no hard clues, making this mystery uncommonly scientific and engrossing. Additionally, the abundance of subplots -- romantic, criminal, historical, etc. -- create an atmospheric and fleshed-out world that serves its reader well.
I urge fans of psychological thrillers as well as traditional mysteries to read this book. However (as you may have guessed), the subject matter is dark, and there is more than one gory and detailed description of a dismembered body. Additionally, the nature of the investigation leads the investigators into some very unsavory locales. The imagery alone requires that I recommend this book for mature readers, probably ages 15 and up. If you don’t have a strong stomach, you may want to skip a few scenes. Otherwise, this is one mystery you won’t want to miss.

Reviewer Grade: 12

Reviewer's Name: Caroline K.
Awards:
Ruined
Morris, Paula
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Of all the books I have read, this book’s chilling story-line has remained ingrained in my head the most vividly for the longest. This book is about a young girl who uncovers the buried secrets of her family while on a vacation in New Orleans. The discovery of her only friend being a ghost led to more mystery and cliff hanging than any reader could handle! This book has heartbreak, love, suspense, and adventure. A must read book for all teens!

Reviewer Grade: 9

Reviewer's Name: Gerilyn M.

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