Book Reviews by Genre: Thrillers/Suspense

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 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
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
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.
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
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
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
Unwind
Shusterman, Neal
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Okay let's get the bad stuff out of the way. To start things off, many times throughout the book it feels a bit slow. I find myself trying to read a part of the book, hoping that something exhilarating will happen, but it turns out to be slow. Following that, sometimes things felt the opposite and felt rushed. At some points of the book, I feel like some plot twists/reveals were forced into happening and being revealed. I would think to myself that it's a bit cliche. But otherwise, there's nothing else that really bothers me.

Now the neutral/mixed emotions. Sometimes the transitions are very good; making the audience know another character's POV at the time of an event. Other times... well it's a little dull. For example, one scene you'd be at an action paced-fight, the other, you'd be having a conversation. But yeah this is the only neutral/mixed emotion factor.

Now the amazing stuff. The characters are absolutely amazing, the plot is amazing, and the action-paced scenes are amazing. I cannot use words to describe how much I love Neal Shusterman's unique way of writing. The way that the characters interact with the world around them, and overcome the problems and struggles put before them really draws you in, and they dynamic between the characters themselves is also amazing. Really love it!

Reviewer's Name: Evelyn
The Wrong Train
De Quidt, Jeremy
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

A boy is trying to get home by train, but he ends up on a strange platform with no one around and no idea when the next train is coming so he can get home. A man suddenly appears and sits with the boy, telling him rather strange stories while they wait.

This book is a collection of short stories that revolve around a bigger story. All of the stories are creepy and mysterious. If you are the kind of person who likes to be creeped out just a little, but would still like to sleep at night, this book is for you. I am not a huge horror fan, but I could not put this book down. I found this book in the kids section (the little ghost sticker on the binding intrigued me, so I thought I would give it a try) so this could be the reason I found it more bearable and less creepy than other books of that genre. No matter what grade, if you are looking for a spooky book, you should give The Wrong Train a try (unless you find it not scary at all, in this case I suggest you read it anyway because it's still pretty good.)
Reviewer Grade: 10

Reviewer's Name: Emma
Dark Sky
Box, C. J.
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Dark Sky is a masterfully crafted thriller that strings together webs and webs of suspense through character development and wit. The novel takes place in the expansive wilderness of Wyoming, where Joe Pickett, a normal game warden, must evade a killer after his and his client's heads. Box does an incredible job of building up his characters and leaving room for the reader to question certain decisions and traits. The way the author ties everything together for an eventual climax will leave the reader on the edge of their seat, especially when the build-up leads to a nail-biting cliffhanger. The setting is also beautifully used to expand on both the plot and scenic writing in general, as the author clearly knows the terrain and all of its attributes. Overall, I would recommend this novel to anyone who loves a good thriller.

Reviewer's Name: Steven
Twenty
Grippando, James
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Twenty is a gripping thriller about a school shooting which causes great panic and unease in the local community. Shortly after the mass shooting a terrorist organization claims responsibly which makes matters worse. While many are calling for the death penalty of the suspected shooter, Jack the defendant's lawyer calls for more time to gather more information about the incident. Can Jack get to bottom of this case before its too late? I really liked this book because it's centered around real life events. The ending of Twenty definitely surprised me. I think many parents could relate to the anxiety of having school going children, as school shootings are unfortunately becoming more common.

Reviewer's Name: Ananth S.
One of Us Is Lying
McManus, Karen M.
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

One of us is lying is a captivating murder mystery, romance, thriller. 5 teens enter detention, but what happens when only 4 leave. As you read you find out more and more about the case. The 4 teens all have secrets
is murder one of them? This book is so enthralling, once you start it will be hard to put it down. With great characters and a very interesting story with tons of twists and turns. If you love solving mysteries or discovering the truth, this is totally the book for you! Grade: 8th

Reviewer's Name: Rylie
They All Fall Down
Cohen, Tammy
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

They All Fall Down is a psychological thriller about a woman named Hannah, who lives in a psychiatric ward due to something shocking she did in her seemingly normal life. After two patients from the ward die, Hannah is convinced there is a murderer but no one else believes her. Her mother Corinne helps Hannah from the outside, and proves that the psychiatric ward isn't as innocent as it seemed to be. The novel included many twists and turns which kept me engaged through it all. However, there was more than one time when I felt lost and didn't understand what was happening. As I read along, I could eventually predict what the ending was going to be like, and I was accurate. While the ending didn't have the greatest "wow factor", itstill surprised me. I would recommend this book to anyone interested in reading about what goes through different people's lives after facing the loss of someone close to you.

Reviewer's Name: Prarthana
The Terrorist
Cooney, Caroline B.
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

I normally would not rank a book this high but this one is well-deserved. The story is very well-written and easy to understand but is still filled with suspense and mystery. The Terrorist is the story Laura Williams whose brother dies in a terrorist attack in London. This event changes her life and she has to try to navigate it with her brother gone. I would highly recommend this book to any teen as it is very well written and over all one of my favorites. Caroline B. Cooney's writing is very nice because it is well written but still easy to understand unlike many books.

Reviewer's Name: Emily
Sharp Objects
Flynn, Gillian
2 stars = Meh
Review:

Sharp Objects is about a writer who must go back to her small hometown to report on the disappearances of young girls. The book is very interesting the whole time and is one I was not able to put down until I had finished. The ending is nothing even close to what I would have ever pictured, and it is never even hinted towards. The book overall is quite disturbing though. From the topic of extreme self harm to very inappropriate behavior from quite young girls, there were many moments that were disgusting.

Reviewer's Name: Jana M.
All In
Barnes, Jennifer Lynn
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

All In is a sequel in The Naturals series that focuses on 5 teens with natural talents that make them special, so they work with the FBI to solve cases. The book/series is absolutely amazing and so well written. Every character has a great backstory and all are very well developed. In this book there are so many twists and turns that keep you absolutely hooked. The details and how creative the ideas in the murders and investigations are amazes me. I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a great book to keep you hooked and anyone who loves the show Criminal Minds.

Reviewer's Name: Jana M.
Bad Blood
Barnes, Jennifer Lynn
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Bad Blood is about 5 teens with natural skills that lead them to work with the FBI to solve cases. In this book they are going back to look into their pasts especially the main female character to try to lead to a murderer, or multiple. I was not able to put the book down and ended up finishing it in a day. Everything comes together so nicely. All the details play into each other and I can not imagine how the author came up with such elaborate ideas that are so complex. This book is for anyone who loves the show Criminal minds because they are so similar or is looking for an amazing crime book.

Reviewer's Name: Jana M.
My Favorite Thing Is Monsters. Book One
Ferris, Emil
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

A lot of people put down graphic novels as just comic books and many are little more than that. But there are a few that transcend this genre. My Favorite Thing Is Monsters, Vol. 1 is such an example. This debut novel by Emil Ferris tells the story of 10-year-old Karen Reyes, a girl growing up during the turbulent 1960s in Chicago. Reyes is an aspiring artist and her story is told in her perspective with detailed drawings filled with B-movie horror monsters from her beloved matinees, all sketched by a very talented schoolgirl with a Bic pen in her spiral notebook. Her neighborhood is a scary place and so is dealing with her mother's late-stage cancer and her older brother's drug-dealing and pimping. It's why Karen wishes she was a monster -- to be safe from those she sees in real life. As just a family drama, this novel delivers. Then this beautifully illustrated work of art reminiscent of Robert Crumb and Otto Dix, becomes so much more. The ever-curious Karen decides to solve the murder of her enigmatic upstairs neighbor, a Holocaust survivor. That sudden plot twist turns this work into an historical epic, a detective story and a psychological thriller that garnered numerous industry accolades and award nominations worldwide. Vol. 1 is currently available through PPLD while Vol. 2, the conclusion of the story, is scheduled to be published in September 2021.
AWARDS: 2018 Eisner Award for Best Graphic Album-New, Best Writer/Artist and Best Coloring; 30th Annual Lambda Literary Award for Best LGBTQ Graphic Novel.

Reviewer's Name: Joe P.