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February 1, 2016 BOOKLIST
Find more Top 10 Crime Fiction for Youth
Serial killings. Brutal scalpings. Stolen lemonade money. “Crime” is a broad term and so are the books on this year’s list of top youth crime fiction. Slap on your Holmes hat and investigate below. —Daniel Kraus
The Butterfly Clues. By Kate Ellison. 2012. Egmont, $17.99 (9781606842638). Gr. 9–12.
Unable to control her obsessions, 16-year-old Lo finds herself digging into a local murder. Ellison’s debut is a page-turning blend of violence, romance, and surprising glimpses into one girl’s tumultuous mind.
The Case of the Deadly Desperados. By Caroline Lawrence. 2012. Putnam, $16.99 (9780399256332). Gr. 4–6.
In droll, colloquial first-person language, 12-year-old P. K. Pinkerton uses his cunning (and plenty of disguises) to outwit mysterious outlaws after his stepparents are scalped in 1862.
Chopsticks. By Jessica Anthony. Illus. by Rodrigo Corral. 2012. Penguin/Razorbill, paper, $19.99 (9781595144355). Gr. 10–12.
A teen piano prodigy goes missing, but that’s just the tip of this mixed-media novel’s tricky iceberg. Is her disappearance a result of her affair with an Argentinean neighbor or her increasingly unhinged performances?
The Girl Is Murder. By Kathryn Miller Haines. 2011. Roaring Brook, $16.99 (9781596436091). Gr. 7–10.
Peppered by irresistible 1940s slang, this observant historical mystery has 15-year-old Iris putting to use what she’s learned from her private-detective dad. Passionate, multilayered teen noir.
I Hunt Killers. By Barry Lyga. 2012. Little, Brown, $17.99 (9780316125840). Gr. 9–12.
Billy Dent was the serial killer, not his 17-year-old son, Jazz. But when a copycat begins replicating the famous murders, the cops bring in Jazz to help. Now if only he could bury his own killer instincts . . .
The Isle of Blood. By Rick Yancey. 2011. Simon & Schuster, $17.99 (9781416984528). Gr. 9–12.
The Monstrumologist series takes a swerve into outright mystery: hundreds of pages of crackling, capering British-versus-Russian espionage occur before we meet this volume’s monster.
Kill Switch. By Chris Lynch. 2012. Simon & Schuster, $16.99 (9781416927020). Gr. 9–12.
As Da’s mind begins to go, he starts leaking secrets of his government past—and dangerous old cronies start looming. So desperate young Daniel hits the road with Da in tow. Compact, unpredictable, disorienting, brilliant.
The Lemonade Crime. By Jacqueline Davies. 2011. Houghton, $15.99 (9780547279671). Gr. 3–5.
This sequel to The Lemonade War (2007) finds siblings Jessie and Evan instigating an after-school trial of a classmate, who might have stolen $208 of earnings. A savvy introduction to law and a realistic depiction of kid emotions.
Paper Covers Rock. By Jenny Hubbard. 2011. Delacorte, $16.99 (9780385740555). Gr. 9–12.
This twist on A Separate Peace involves a pretty straightforward boarding-school death. But it’s Hubbard’s twisty, out-of-sequence delivery that turns the whole truth into a devastating patchwork mystery.
Wonderstruck. By Brian Selznick. Illus. by the author. 2011. Scholastic, $29.99 (9780545027892). Gr. 4–8.
Two parallel stories set 50 years apart—one told in text, the other solely in illustrations—drive this kid-friendly mystery about silence, opening one’s eyes, and the interconnectedness of life.
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