Tag Archives: mystery

Pantomine – a tale of deceit, mystery & magic

PantomimeTitle: Pantomine

Author: Laura Lam

Summary: Micah Grey wants to get away from his life—and the circus seems to be just the right place to do that. He delves into the world of circus arts as a new trapeze artist, but soon learns that the circus may not be quite what it seems. As the story unfolds, more of just who Micah is gets revealed, and between Micah’s past, and Micah’s present, a tale of deceit, mystery, and magic is unveiled.

Quick review: Do you like magic, circuses, and stories where the main character isn’t who they say they are? Then you’ll probably like this book. Told in a flip-flopping style of one chapter in the past, and one in the present, Micah’s story quickly begins to unfold. As the reader, you get caught up immediately, because you can tell that there’s something about Micah that he’s not telling you yet.

I started reading because… I was told that it had good representation of characters who were learning more about their gender and their sexual identity, as well as having an engaging fantasy setting.

I would give this book8/10 stars. It’s engaging and exciting, although the language felt a bit simplistic at times. I found the flip-flopping story technique frustrating at times, when I just wanted to get back to the storyline I had been on, but ultimately it was, in my opinion, the best way to tell this story.

-Sofia, 16, Greenwood Teen Advisory Board

GWD

Gone Girl – mystery with a sinister twist

gone-girl-book-cover-medTitle: Gone Girl

Author: Gillian Flynn

Summary: Amy Dunne also known as Amazing Amy is missing and the evidence points to her impassive husband, as the story unfolds you find that the marriage was on the rocks but who could have done this and why?

Six Word Review: Amy is missing, media targets Nick.

Rating: 8/10 stars

I liked that this book was a psychological thriller something I haven’t read in a while, and it was unpredictable but I personally didn’t like the characters. Their flaws and secrets made them unpleasant so I wasn’t as emotionally invested.

I loved how the author wrote the book it was very detailed and the beginning was intricately written in a way that tied to the outcome of the story. I also liked the combination of the two perspectives which allowed the reader to sympathize with one side or the other.

My gut reaction to this plot line was shock, when you reach about the middle passage of the book the whole situation changes and your view scope suddenly opens up. It’s like reading a book under a microscope the whole time making little progress, then suddenly you pull it out and can make sense of the whole text. It’s very dark, it’s very clever, and I can understand why there’s so much hype attributed to this specific book.

I would recommend this book to anyone who loves mysteries with a sinister twist.

-Teen Blogger

Very Bad Things – easy & light-hearted

Very Bad Things by Susan McBrideTitle: Very Bad Things

Author: Susan McBride

Very Bad Things is the definition of a book that you can’t put down. It’s relatively short, fast paced, well written, and has an interesting plot. What it is not is the type of book that you’re likely to think about for months after you read it. Writing this a day after reading the book, I find myself having to think hard to remember exactly who the characters were and what happened. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing. The plot revolves around the central protagonist Katie, and her new boyfriend Mark, with whom she is completely enamored. Her best friend Tessa, however, is not so trusting. This seems to be confirmed when a picture of Mark sleeping with another woman comes out, although more important is that the woman’s gone missing after the encounter.

Still, it’s obvious that there’s more to the story. It feels as though the book has a plot twist every few pages. These twists, however, always fall short of being truly shocking, thanks to a fair amount of foreshadowing and the switching of perspectives from Katie to Tessa to Mark that robs the story of some of the surprise. Despite this, the plot stays entertaining throughout, enough so that I read the whole book in a single sitting. The characters aren’t the absolute most original. They are engaging enough to be relatable and keep you interested in what they’re doing, but not particularly deep or memorable.

Overall, the writing and the plot keep this book interesting and fun throughout. I would most recommend this to anyone who feels that they aren’t reading as much as they probably should be, and can’t seem to get into a book that’s not for school. This easy and light hearted book is a perfect reintroduction into the magical world of reading.

-Jacob, Greenwood, Teen Adviser

GWD

Pattern Recognition – realistic mystery with a touch of science fiction

pattern-recognitionTitle: Pattern Recognition

Author: William Gibson

Summary: Pattern Recognition is a science-fiction mystery novel. The main character is Cayce Pollard, who works as an advertising/logo specialist. Mysterious yet artistic video clips are appearing on the internet, which attracts the attention of many people including Cayce. The CEO of the company Cayce is working with makes an offer for Cayce to track down more information about the video clips. Cayce gets a lead on the possible producer of these video clips from an online connection, and starts the hunt to figure out who is behind the mysterious video clips, and what their motive is.

I kept reading because: The book was fast paced and kept me interested along the way. There are a lot of references throughout the book that I had to stop and look up on Google. For instance, I had to look up some name brands and some types of machinery. However, this did not detract from the reading experience—rather, it enhanced my enjoyment of the book as I understood what the book was referencing and how it enhanced the story. The book is mainly geared towards high school upperclassmen, and would probably fall under young adult realistic fiction.

Who would love this book: Overall, I highly this book to anyone who likes realistic mystery books with a touch of science fiction. The book combines many different themes and plays around with the human psyche and mentality. I had to think about what was happening in the book multiple times. Each time, I would be blown away at how Gibson used his words to enhance the story. The sentences would get short and crisp when the situation became tense, but when a character was letting his/her thoughts flow, the sentences would become long and eloquent to fit the mood. This book is a masterpiece combining a riveting story with superb writing. Pick this book up today!

–Matthew, Grade 12, Lake City

LCY

Some Book Series You May Love (From The COL TAG!)

A Matter of Magic:
By Patricia Wrede

MagicA Matter of Magic is about a young orphan girl living on her own, making do with stealing and odd jobs for others. One day Kim meets a man who asks her to search for something on a traveling magician’s cart. While she does believes this is a fake magician, Kim joins the caravan and her journey begins. The book is two stories in one, meaning books 1 & 2 are together to make an awesome story. I recommend A Matter of Magic to people who want romance that isn’t the whole story, but is there. It’s funny and a good mystery.

Demon Trappers series:
By Jana G. Oliver

demon

 

The Demon Trappers series is about Riley Blackthorne, daughter of famous demon trapper Paul Blackthorne. All Riley wants is to follow in her dad’s footsteps, even if he doesn’t want her to. This series is truly wonderful. It’s full of action scenes as well as comedy and romantic ones. Throughout the books you get to follow Riley in her struggles as a teenager going through school and trying to prove that a woman can be a demon trapper too. It’s a  MUST read!

 

Wake

 

Wake, Fade, Gone:
By Lisa McMann

A trilogy about Janie, a 17-year-old girl who gets sucked into other people’s dreams whenever they’re sleeping and she’s nearby. This story is another must-read. A well-written book that will grab the attention of any reader.

Columbia Teen Advisory Group (TAG)

COL

Jellicoe Road – Unusual mystery. Believable characters. Fast-paced.

JellicoeTitle:  Jellicoe Road

Author:  Melina Marchetta

Summary: Taylor Markham, who was originally abandoned by her mother on Jellicoe Road when she was 11, is now a 17-year-old trying to piece together her past all while juggling being the leader of her boarding school dorm, competing with other schools in their “territory wars,” and (maybe) falling in love. All of this is made more complicated when her guardian, Hannah, disappears, leaving Taylor with only Hannah’s manuscript written about 5 kids in the 1980’s.

Six Word Review: Unusual mystery. Believable characters. Fast-paced.

I give this book 8/10 stars. This was a very compelling read.  Marcheta writes with unusual style—somewhat similar to Ransom Riggs’ in that both of these authors write in a sort of surreal, perhaps fairy-tale-esque tone, even when the book itself is realistic fiction.  This is especially true of the excerpts from Hannah’s manuscript.  Overall, readers can connect to the characters, even if they’re not always likable, and the plot is engaging.

I started reading it because my best friend gave me this book as a gift in maybe 6th grade, and while I read it, I just remember being really confused.  I always meant to re-read it, and after a few years, I picked it up again when I needed something to read on an hours-long plane trip.  I kept reading because I was intrigued by the characters and struck by the unusual voice of the story.

Gut Reaction:  Really good book, but when reading it, it can feel really confusing due to the number of characters and the sections of Hannah’s novel placed unannounced throughout the text.

What you hated: there were a few plot holes that caught my attention, ranging from small *SPOILER ALERT* (character using cell-phones after readers were told there was no service) to large (the author refers to one character killing another even when the author didn’t make that clear in the first place).

If the main character were stuck on a deserted island, they would: Taylor would probably get angry first and then figure out practical solutions: finding shelter, food and water, all while plotting how to get off of the island.

This book reminded me both of Ransom Riggs’ Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, in addition to Jonathan Safran Foer’s work because they have similar, if a little odd, styles.

Who would like this book: mystery book lovers, people who like books within books.

Websites of Interest:
Melina Marcheta’s blog
MM’s Website
Publisher’s site

–Emma, Greenwood, Teen Blogger

GWD

 

 

Paper Towns – Romantic, mysterious, suspenseful; I love it.

PaperTowns2009_6ATitle: Paper Towns

Author: John Green

Summary: Q has known Margot since they were little kids. She lives right next door to him and they used to be best friends, but things changed over time and they drifted apart a bit. However, just as Q is getting sick of the routine of school, Margot whisks him away on an adventure that involves catfish, spray paint, Nair, and sneaking into Sea World through a snake-infested moat in the middle of the night. The morning after, Q hopes that this means he and Margot can be friends (or maybe even more than friends), but instead of seeing her at school, he discovers that Margot has run away again. He’s discouraged until he notices that Margot has left a series of clues that lead to where she’s run away. He spends the rest of the story trying to piece it together. You’ll have to read the book to find out whether he finds her or not.

Six Word Review: Romantic, mysterious, suspenseful; I love it.

I started reading because: I liked John Green’s other books so I knew it was likely I’d enjoy this one as well.

I would give this book 8/10 stars because the story-line can fall a bit flat in parts. I felt like there needed to be something to spice it up a bit in the middle.

I loved that one of the main messages of the story was that perceptions can be different from realities. I hated that Margot wasn’t in the story more. She was a great character.

If Q was in a HS yearbook, he would be voted Most Likely To: Be Loyal

Anything else we should know? It’s a relatable story that demonstrates that how we think about people isn’t always how they actually are.

Regina, 17, West Seattle

WTS