Review Crew Book Reviews by Genre: Thrillers/Suspense

A Good Girl's Guide to Murder book jacket
Jackson, Holly
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

A Good Girl's Guide to Murder is a surprisingly dark and complex book. The main character, Pip, decides to investigate a "solved" murder in her town from five years ago, one that she is very close to. She teams up with the alleged murderer's brother and slowly unravels a well-hidden mystery. The book's organization made an otherwise-complicated crime easier to understand. You would read a chapter, then Pip would summarize the findings in her capstone project diary entry. This information was backed up with occasional maps and diagrams as well. Although I did get lost at some parts with there being so many names, I appreciated there being enough suspects that it was impossible to figure out the mystery until the characters did. Pip was clever and eloquent, so her handling of this personal investigation didn't take away from the story. Not to mention her friends along the way, who were pretty well-developed side characters. If you think the pacing is slow for the first part of the book, keep going!
Grade: 12

Reviewer's Name: Maggie
One of us is next book jacket
McManus, Karen M.
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

The Bayview Four, the four pupils Simon falsely accused of being the cause of his death, are no longer together, and their younger classmates and relatives are forced to play a new round of gossip-filled Truth or Dare. One year has passed since the events of One of Us Is Lying, and a game of Truth or Dare has begun. However, this isn't your typical Truth or Dare. This game can be deadly. Accepting the dare could be risky, even fatal while telling the truth might reveal your deepest secrets. This sequel had a mixed record as far as success goes. First on the list is Phoebe. It's true if you decide not to play. Phoebe’s secret is dark and it keeps her relationships and family messed up until the very end when the truth is spilled. Maeve then enters the scene, and she ought to know better than always taking the dare. However, things have become dangerous by the time Knox is ready to be tagged. The dares have turned deadly, and Maeve has learned that she cannot rely on the authorities for assistance after what happened to Bronwyn last year. or security. Although Simon is no longer with us, someone is committed to preserving his legacy at Bayview High. And the regulations have altered. The only thing I didn’t like about this book was the ending, so many things were left untouched like relationships and the truth or dare game that I feel like there must be a third book.

Reviewer's Name: Anushka
The Wild book jacket
Laukkanen, Owen
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

This is the kind of book with so many cliffhangers, you can't find a stopping point. This is a book you'll want to read in one sitting but remember you have homework and have to reluctantly put it down. This is a book that makes your hands sweat and your heart beat faster. The vivid imagery and dynamic characters will make you feel as if you're there yourself. This is a book for adventurers. This is a book for the fearless. This is Underlined Paperbacks and this is The Wild.
When Dawn is sent to a wilderness boot camp for one to many bad decisions, she ends up in a situation her parents nor her ever expected. The people she meets there have bad decisions they are also living with and as the woods get darker, their pasts are revealed. Will they make it out of the camp alive? Is everyone there for the reason they claim they are?
Reviewer Grade: 11

Reviewer's Name: McKenna
You'll Be the Death of Me
McManus, Karen M.
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

This book was so well written! Ivy, Mateo, and Cal all used to be friends in middle school but then grew apart. Ivy was having a bad day because she didn’t get class president, Booney did. She ends up running into her two old friends in the school parking lot and then decided to skip school. Little do they know they will be witnesses of Booney’s murder. The three have a day full of crazy events from being suspects of murder to being kidnapped. I really enjoyed this book. There were so many twists and turns that made it hard for you to know who did it. The suspense made you want to never put the book down. I really liked how this book was not predictable it kept you guessing all the way to the end. I would definitely recommend it.
11th grade

Reviewer's Name: Megan
The Silent Patient
Michaelides, Alex
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

This eerie thriller was interesting, and I could have never guessed the plot twist! The Silent Patient follows a psychotherapist named Theo who is intrigued by patient Alicia's story of murdering her husband without warning or motive. She becomes mute and is resistant to talk about what happened that night, but Theo is determined to change that. Each chapter was engaging and added to the mystery of what led to the murder. Plus, the setting of a psychiatric hospital added to the grim and suspenseful tone of the book. By the very end, I was a bit confused by the plot twist because once it was revealed, it seemed like the characters totally changed personalities. Nevertheless, it was still a great book.
Grade 12

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

Everyone contains secrets but it is about how far you are willing to bear them and how long you want to shelter them. One of Us Is Lying is the first book in the One of Us Is Lying Trilogy and a YALSA 2018 Teens' Top Ten selection. One of Us Is Lying has the perfect mix of drama, suspense, mystery, and romance, and I haven’t read anything as unique. The book is extremely well written, perfect and extraordinary with the proper balance of words to keep anyone seated in one spot for hours at a time. The novel starts with five students sent to detention with only four leaving alive. The Brain, Bronwyn, The Beauty, Addy, The Athlete, Cooper, and The Criminal, Nate, Bayview High School’s most notable hypocrites are brought down throughout the novel to a level so low. According to investigators the death of a student during detention with the other four students, The Outcast, Simon, was not an accident. The leading characters are Cooper, Addy, Bronwyn, and Nate. They are all altogether diverse in the way they behave and their personality. I found Cooper the most interesting, but Bronwyn was the most sympathetic. Addy changed throughout the story starting as a typical high school popular girl and then ending with a more refreshing style. I enjoyed how the story was put together in the first person because the perspective was constantly varying which made it altogether more interesting. It uses multiple perspectives to provide you the point of view of not one, but all four suspects in a murder mystery with their motives, but the real marvel lies within the journey and experiences of the characters. This book is much deeper than just a murder mystery, and it has much more to it in terms of character development and diversity. You witness the characters’ vulnerable lives being picked apart and their deepest secrets being spread to their peers. This book is 5 Stars and exceeded expectations. I enjoyed this book and suggest it for the next time you want to read something as unique as this.
Reviewer 8th Grade

Reviewer's Name: Anushka
Awards:
Storm Front
Butcher, Jim
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

Storm Break follows Harry Dresden, the only wizard-for-hire in the country, as he investigates a grisly murder that could only be done by dark magic. Along the way, he'll have to juggle the case of an abandoned wife, the demands of his only friend in the force, the pressures of a sentient skull, and the condemnation of a council that wants to end him once and for all.
I didn't give this book three stars because it's a decent book. I gave this book three stars because it does some things really, really well and some things really, really badly. Throughout my reading, my internal rating jumped between one and four stars, so I stuck with three because it was mostly a good book and two stars should be reserved for boring books. And this definitely wasn't boring.
On the good side, I enjoyed the world building. It remains typical enough to the urban fantasy realm to seem cozy without being boring. Every magical creature has the exciting things we're used to, with some extra thrown in for fun, and lots of personality to make up for any stereotypical writing. The creatures and world building sell the danger of the world, making the stakes very high in the first book, something I appreciate. I like the main character, Harry Dresden, because he's a funny guy. I mean funny in that he cracks actually funny jokes, as well as funny as in he doesn't ever think things through and the outcome is always hilarious. I also like how the Harry has a "sad hidden backstory", but its not really hidden or sad because he talks about it so matter-of-factly that you forget how messed up it is in context. I loved the mystery of the novel, even if some twists threw me for a loop. The writing could also be surprisingly emotional for whats meant to be a cynical cop novel, in a way that really makes you sympathize with the twisted situation the protagonist is in, as well as the innocent people wrapped up in it. The ending was very satisfying and climactic and well bought, and really kept me invested until the end. Basically, its a very good urban fantasy novel with a fascinating protagonist and a thrilling story!
Now for the really, really bad stuff. Or just one really, really bad thing. In short: the author of this story has no idea how to write women. Or, he knows how to write women, and he just chooses to do it in the worst way possible. Every single woman in this book is one of three things: desperate for help from the dashing protagonist, incredibly attractive for no reason and really into the protagonist, or a token "strong independent woman" who devolves into one of the other two types within chapters. And I cannot stress how jarring this was. The author can write witty dialogue and fantastical creatures and heart wrenching emotion, but he can't write a single female character without sexualizing or demeaning her in some way. It's like walking through a local art gallery full of beautiful landscapes and self portraits, and then out of the blue there's a two-year-old's finger painting. I could go on for hours about how bad it was, and I really want to, but basically: about half of the women in this book are prostitutes, about half of the women die horribly and helplessly, most of them hit on Dresden and he always assumes its to seduce him for nefarious purposes, and not a single one of them has more than a shred of autonomy, character, or soul. All of that had to go into the main character, who is amazing alone, but whenever he's around woman he feels like a gross power fantasy that I can't sympathize with until about ten pages after he shares a conversation with a female character.
All in all, this book is a frustration. I want to enjoy the world building and fun characters and funny moments and good plot, but every so often a woman is introduced and I have to resist the urge to track the author down and throw the book at his face. If you can suffer through that, there is some great writing to be found! If you can't, I don't blame you.
Reviewer Grade: 12

Reviewer's Name: Eve
The Collector
Alexander, K.R.
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

I enjoyed this book a lot. I picked up this book because I enjoy reading the genre horror, and it did not disappoint! The main character, Josie, goes through a cycle of emotions in each stage of the book. I feel like this adds so much more to the book, and makes the reader feel more connected to her. For instance, when going to a new school, Josie meets Vanessa and eventually she feels like she finally belongs and has somebody to relate to.
The horror element of the book along with all of Josie’s grandma’s crazy rules lead the reader down a path of mystery, the rules including…
1. Never leave your windows open after dark
2. No dolls in the house
3. Never, ever go by the house in the woods
Josie’s dear friend, Vanessa leads her in the woods to the house, the house that is calling for her.
I can relate with Josie on different levels. One of these levels being in a new school and feeling like you don’t belong. I relate to her on that level of feeling awkward around new people.
I enjoyed this book a lot and would definitely recommend it to anyone looking for horror and mystery put into one book.
Reviewer Grade: 8

Reviewer's Name: Abigail
A Little Life
Yanagihara, Hanya
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

This book is very heavy and grim, but Hanya Yanagihara gives a detailed insight into living with disabilities, mental illness, and addiction. I became attached to the characters from the start. Four young men- Jude, Willem, JB, and Malcom, have been best friends since being college roommates in New York, but their individual lives and struggles make it complicated to work through their mid-life crises. Despite the grief and somber moments in A Little Life, I appreciated the resilient mentors that the four, especially Jude, had. It had a loving message of always having a support system somewhere even if it doesn't feel like it, and that your past doesn't define you- your present choices do. However, the ending was open ended and left a lot for me to ponder over later. I'd recommend this if you like more somber, down to earth books (and if you're a fast reader, because this book took forever to read!)
Grade 12

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

Inheritance Games by Jennifer Lynn Barnes is one of the best books I have ever read! It is an amazing book for tweens and older, with a slight romantic touch to add to the book that mixes very well with the mysterious game the characters play. Inheritance Games is about a teenage girl, Avery Grambs, who grew up with very little money to her name. Soon she learns that she has inherited most of the multi-billionaire, Tobias Hawthorne's wealth and land, and has no connection to the family entirely. At first, her incredible luck might seem extremely fortunate but to keep her newfound wealth she must live with Tobias's remaining complex and tricky family, while solving one last riddle left by Tobias Hawthorne himself, to figure out why she, not the other Hawthorne's, inherited his riches. You will get hooked on this game of affection and jealousy as the elaborate characters figure out what they value more; money or friendship.
I wholeheartedly adored this book! It had so many plot twists and turns so you can never guess what might happen next and it was full of intricate clues and riddles that are soo entertaining and surprised you every time. I picked this book because I wanted a mystery that was more centered around the teenage crowd than the adult theme of missing persons or other crimes and this book did not disappoint! It was so well written and devised, that I truly felt as if I was in the book with Avery and the Hawthorne brothers. I enjoyed the mystery because it was written so well that every time I reread this book I see so many new aspects and clues in the story. It is one of the best mysteries I have read before and it was filled with surprises. The author wrote the book so well and every character was relatable and had so many ups and downs like real people. The emotions and feelings that were put into the characters and the book were interesting and engaging until the end. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone because it will be a great read!

Reviewer's Name: Ella
Awards:
The Stand
King, Stephen
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

One of King's earliest and critically acclaimed books, a superflu ravages the planet, leaving a minuscule remainder of the population to pick between two opposing factions.
This book was a lengthy trip to follow, but it was pretty good. The characters were my favorite part of the story, as most of them were nuanced and developed. Seeing them interact with each other and/or their environment really pulled me in. The story, overall, was also good, but there were spots that didn't bring me the same enjoyment. The ending was anti-climatic and seemed forced, and it didn't flow with the setup before hand. Speaking of flow, the story was very slow. Characters acted and did things, but they also didn't. After the beginning, nothing really happened conflict wise. It all seemed like set up without much driving force aside from the attraction to the two fractions. In context with the story, it makes sense, but it still seemed boring at points where characters either weren't developing or were just there for a purely plot reason. Still recommend a read (especially with how it connects with his other works), but not the best I've read.
Reviewer's Grade: 11

Reviewer's Name: Antwaan
The Lying Game
Ware, Ruth
2 stars = Meh
Review:

In this book, you follow four childhood friends (shown from the perspective of Isa Wilde) as the secrets of their past actions come back to haunt them.
I was intrigued by the premise of the story, but for the most part, the story was pretty boring and predictable. The concept of a lying game in the past was interesting and I was excited to see how would play into the story. The secret about what happened almost 20 years earlier seemed really overplayed to me. What actually happened didn't really seem as much of a big reveal as I thought it would be. The final twist at the end of the book wasn't anything special and I figured it out pretty quickly compared to other stories. The ending was anti-climactic; by the end of the story, I wasn't invested. The characters were fine: originally, they seemed relatable and human for the most part, but as the story progressed, I grew to dislike a couple of the main characters. Their actions seemed abnormal and irritating, and even within the context of the story, I still couldn't get over it. This could have been a better book, but the payoff wasn't there.
Reviewer's Grade: 11

Reviewer's Name: Antwaan
Prey
Crichton, Michael
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Here, you follow Jack Forman as he wages through his wife's unusual behavior and the nanotechnology her company created and developed.
For my first Crichton novel, I really enjoyed it. Watching Jack as he waded through his suspicious and the dangers he faces was a thrill to watch. While the characters themselves felt a bit bland, the plot, scientific mystery, and thriller aspects of the story make up for it. Learning about nanotechnology and different parts of programming was also fun to read, even if I didn't understand all of it. The pacing of the novel was done pretty well, from the beginning with Jack's wife, to the her place of work later in the novel. The way the danger was presented and changed was done well and kept me on my toes until the resolution. I recommend this for those who like thrillers and/or sci-fi.
Reader's Grade: 11

Reviewer's Name: Antwaan
This Is Where It Ends
Nijkamp, Marieke
1 star = Yuck!
Review:

This Is Where It Ends follows four students who recount their perspectives going through a school shooting at Opportunity High. Initially, I was intrigued to read this book since it covers a very sensitive topic and is a topic that I was interested in learning more about. However, the novel completely missed all my expectations. Instead of a thoughtful, heavily researched, realistic story, I got a novel that seemed to be an insult to any school shooting victim. The novel was way too action-packed, in such a way that every single plot point in the book seemed wildly exaggerated. Making it worse, the school shooter in the novel was way too villainized. With cheesy lines and no real reasoning behind his actions, the author made it seem like the shooter was some kind of superhero comic villain, with no other drive for his actions besides to incite fear in others. There was no psychological deep dive into why the shooter, a previous student in the school, ended up in the way he did, and why he thought his only solution to his problems was to murder his classmates. It was a shame to read such a novel meant to address a major problem in America, but was instead contorted and desensitized in a way to appeal to the entertainment industry, and failed to have any educational value at all. To put it shortly, This Is Where It Ends seems more of an action-thriller novel, not one that is meant to be taken seriously at all.

Reviewer Grade: 11

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

And Then There Were None is one of the best that I have ever read. I loved watching the characters, especially because of the incredible detail that Agatha Christie used to describe them and their unique personalities. They all seem real to me. The book itself was ingenious, incorporating suspense and making every character a plausible suspect and a possible victim. I found myself turning back pages to get the facts again and again, without having a clue as to who was the murderer. I recommend this book for ages 13+ as all of the details and situations can be extremely hard to process.

Reviewer's Name: Kelsey
There's Someone Inside Your House
Perkins, Stephanie
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

As an avid Stephanie Perkins reader, this book is not her best work but still worth your time to read. There was ample suspense as Makani Young navigated the unfolding of an active serial killer's crimes in a small town, with a fast pace to not bore readers. Similar to thrillers like One of Us is Lying, I was constantly changing my mind as to who the killer could be. Do we pay attention to Ollie, the typical loner, or even one of Makani's own friends? Unfortunately, the movie adaptation did not do this story justice. Do not waver from trying it out if you stumbled across the movie first! It's not the darkest thriller I've read, but still disturbing enough to introduce a passion for the genre and keep you up at night.
Grade 11

Reviewer's Name: Maggie
One of Us Is Next
McManus, Karen
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

This book is the sequal to One of us is lying. In this book, there is a person who would like to continue Simon's legacy. A boy who framed 4 teenagers in detention on his death. But, it's a game of Truth or Dare. You do a crazy dare, like kiss someone or get one of your deepest secrets exposed. It turns out, this is just based on a revenge plan from 2 people, looking to ruin someone's life based off of past incidents.
This book is AMAZING. It was just a good as the first book, if not better. It has a great story line and plot and truly does keep you intrigued the whole time. I loved this book and would rate it a 10/10.

Reviewer's Name: Mackenzie
One of Us is Lying
McManus, Karen
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

This book is about 4 highschool students who are in the classroom when another student dies. Since they are the only ones in the room, they are the ones who have to fight to prove that they are innocent and try to get their normal lives back. Throughout the book, each person gets framed at least once, with new evidence. You get a point of view of each person and others on who did it, and why.
This book was AMAZING! It kept me engaged the whole entire time and had me gasping at every plot twist. I know that alot of people have been posting about this book, but it is definitely worth the read. There is also a sequal, called One of us is next. I would rate this book a 10/10.

Reviewer's Name: Mackenzie
Lightning Strike
Krueger, William Kent
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

Lightning Strike is an excellent thriller. Cork O’Connor lives in his hometown of Aurora. Everything is normal and is going smoothly, until Cork discovers a dead man in the forest. It is deemed as a suicide. But Cork and his father have their own suspicions. Can they uncover the truth before it’s too late? I liked the setting and enjoyed the suspense. I chose this book because the book jacket captured my attention, and I wanted to find out what happens next. Cork O’Connor is curious about what took place, and also is great young sleuth. I appreciate Cork’s determination to solve the mystery. Lightning Strike was a great read and I would highly recommend it.
Grade 12

Reviewer's Name: Ananth
Last Girl Ghosted
Unger, Lisa
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Last Girl Ghosted was a great read. A young woman named Wren frequently does online dating. She meets a charming young man named Adam. Wren thinks Adam is the perfect match, until he completely goes cold turkey. Wren is baffled and completely heartbroken, until she finds out Adam has done the same exact thing to other women. And not just that, but Adam has a long history of being with women who later go missing. Can Wren quickly find out who Adam really is before it is too late? I chose this book because it’s a thriller and the plot seemed interesting. This book is full of surprises and will keep the reader interested throughout the whole book. Last Girl Ghosted goes in depth about the darkside of online dating and the Internet. I really liked the suspense and the countless cliffhangers. I would highly recommend reading this book.

Reviewer's Name: Ananth