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February 1, 2016 BOOKLIST
Find more Top 10 Crime Fiction for Youth
You’ll find some familiar authors in the list below, including Nancy Werlin and Wendelin Van Draanen, who have consistently produced first-class mysteries for youth during the last few years. But you’ll also notice some new names, whose very different books go beyond the traditional mystery-suspense conventions to add something slightly new and unexpected.
Anderson, Janet S. The Last Treasure. 2003. Dutton, $16.99 (0-525-46919-2). Gr. 5-7.
Look for a taste of the supernatural and equal measures of atmosphere, mystery, and sensitive characterization in this suspenseful tale of two cousins in search of hidden treasure.
Balliett, Blue. Chasing Vermeer. June 2004. Scholastic, $16.95 (0-439-37294-1). Gr. 5-8.
Codes, connections, and coincidences are at the heart of this ingenious debut, in which two sixth-graders exercise their considerable intelligence and imaginations to find a famous stolen painting. Readers will get ample chances to test their own creativity and problem-solving skills. See “Story behind the Story.”
Brooks, Kevin. Kissing the Rain. 2004. Scholastic/Chicken House, $16.95 (0-439-57742-X). Gr. 9-12.
After fat, bullied British teen Moo witnesses a murder, he finds himself the center of a conflict between two unsavory factions that threaten his working-class father and himself. In a casual narrative that spikes with increasing panic, Moo tells his own story, stopping short of answering the pivotal question at book’s end.
Flinn, Alex. Nothing to Lose. 2004. HarperCollins, $15.99 (0-06-051750-6). Gr. 7-12.
Runaway Michael returns home to find his mother on trial for murdering her abusive husband. Michael can help, but will he? A gritty psychological thriller rooted in real-world tragedy.
Horowitz, Anthony. Eagle Strike. 2004. Putnam/Philomel, $17.99 (0-399-23979-0). Gr. 7-12.
The latest thriller in the hugely popular series about a teen James Bond finds intrepid Alex Rider once again embroiled in super-spy mayhem, this time involving a Russian assassin, an unusual virtual-reality game, and a madman.
McNamee, Graham. Acceleration. 2003. Random/Wendy Lamb, $17.99 (0-385-90144-5). Gr. 9-12.
A shocking journal discovered in the subway’s lost-and-found leads teenage Jason on a hunt for a serial killer. Well-placed comic relief and solid characters help leaven a potentially sensational subject, which McNamee never lets get out of hand. Bang-up suspense right to the end.
Plum-Ucci, Carol. The She. 2003. Harcourt, $17 (0-15-216819-2). Gr. 8-12.
Was a shrieking “sea monster” responsible for the disappearance of Evan’s parents long ago? Or is the explanation of a less supernatural sort? Evan, his brother, and a friend must ride the waves themselves to learn the truth.
Slade, Arthur. Dust. 2003. Random/Wendy Lamb, $15.95 (0-385-73004-7). Gr. 8-12.
Slade’s novel about a community entranced by a mysterious stranger and an 11-year-old boy in search of his missing brother is a haunting, eerie thriller that calls up Ray Bradbury’s classic Something Wicked This Way Comes and the legend of the immortal, soulless wanderer.
Van Draanen, Wendelin. Sammy Keyes and the Art of Deception. 2003. Knopf, $15.95 (0-375-81176-1). Gr. 5-8.
Seventh-grader Sammy Keyes is as perceptive and gutsy as ever in another bit of sharp amateur sleuthing, this time involving art theft and an artist’s secret. As in the past, it’s Sammy’s down-to-earth character that makes books in this series popular.
Werlin, Nancy. Double Helix. 2004. Dial, $15.99 (0-8037-2606-6). Gr. 9-12.
A solid psychological-thriller-cum-growing-up-story? Yes, but this goes beyond the usual with its slant on a timely medical issue, so cleverly explored there’s no lag in the suspense.
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