Whats New Category: Mystery

Back to the Future!

If you are a fan of time travel, then you should check out these two books!

TempestTempest by Julie Cross

Jackson Meyer can jump through time.  When we meet him at the beginning of Tempest he is nineteen-years-old in 2009  and is just starting to scratch the surface of his time travelling abilities.  He believes that he can only travel to the past for a short amount of time, but that all changes when one morning a couple of strangers burst into his girlfriend’s dorm room and fatally shoot her while trying to abduct Jackson.  As Jackson holds the dying Holly in his arms, he suddenly travels back in time to 2007.  However, he is stuck in 2007 and has to pretend to be his seventeen-year-old self to try to figure out why he was in danger in 2009.  He also begins to discover the secrets his father has hidden from him about his time travelling abilities.

Tempest is an exciting and action-packed book.  The characters are really fun to read about and I found myself laughing out loud at times.  This is definitely not a dramatic read, but there is a lot of drama with Jackson’s abilities.  The mystery behind Jackson’s time jumping powers is very interesting to read but it is also a bit complicated.  Pick this book up if you are looking for a book that has a lot of mystery, action, and twists and turns.

Ruby RedRuby Red by Kerstin Gier

Gwenyth had grown up knowing that her more sophisticated and prettier cousin Charlotte had the genetic ability to travel through time.  Gwenyth is just a normal sixteen-year-old girl who likes to hang out with her friends, gossip and talk on her phone, and who also happens to be able to see and talk to ghosts.  Charlotte, however, has had extensive lessons and training for different skills that will come in handy when she starts travelling back in time–like fencing, learning German, and even self defense.  It all goes wrong, though, when Gwenyth actually turns out to be the next time traveler in the family.  Once The Guardians, the secret order that protects time travellers, confirms that she is “The Ruby” (the last of the time travellers) she is suddenly thrust into a world that she is very unprepared for.  Will Gwenyth be able to survive travelling through time without the proper training?  Will she uncover the secret of why one of her time travelling relatives ran away and took a precious device with her?  And, most importantly, can she learn to tolerate her time travelling partner Gideon–an older, cuter, and very arrogant descendant of another family with the genetic ability to travel through time.

Ruby Red was a good read.  The great mystery surrounding Gwenyth’s role as “The Ruby” and the missing time travel device are set up nicely in this first book in a planned trilogy.  Be warned, though!  The ending is quite a cliffhanger.  Gwenyth is a fun character to read about, too.  At first I was so frustrated at how immature she was, but I think the author did this so that she could show how much Gwenyth had to grow up when she learned that she had the time travel gene.  One thing to know about this book is that it was translated into English from German, and it takes place in London, both in the current day and also in the past.  It does use British terms and references, but for me this just added to the story.  I am definitely looking forward to reading the rest of the trilogy.

Death Cloud by Andrew Lane

Death CloudDeath Cloud by Andrew Lane

I admit my only exposure to Sherlock Holmes has been the action-packed Robert Downey Jr. movies and the super awesome BBC adaptation.  No, I have not read the original novels.  However, I do enjoy the character of Sherlock and his abundance of knowledge that always seems to come in handy at just the right moment.  The mysteries and the way Sherlock uses his superb sleuthing skills are always interesting and surprising.  So, I was excited to find out that Andrew Lane is writing a series that introduces us to the fourteen-year-old Sherlock Holmes.  As an added bonus, this series is the first teen series endorsed by the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle Literary Estate.

In the first book of the series, Death Cloud, it is 1868 and Sherlock has just been sent to live with his aunt and uncle in their large estate in Hampshire.  This arrangement is only supposed to be for Sherlock’s holidays from boarding school, but with his father stationed in India and his mother unwell, Sherlock is not sure what his future holds.  His brother, Mycroft, has arranged for Sherlock to be kept busy with an American tutor named Amyus Crowe.  Crowe is a Texan from America with a mysterious past, but a great knowledge of many different things.  Sherlock is still bored, though, living in the country.  Luckily, he makes friends with a local boy named Matty.  Of course, through their boredom, the two boys stumble upon a mysterious black cloud that leaves its victims dead with plague-like symptoms.  Together, Matty and Sherlock risk their own lives to solve the mystery of the cloud of death.

Death Cloud is filled with tons of action and adventure.  And, of course, there is a great mystery that kept me guessing throughout the entire novel.  One of the best parts about this book are the things I learned while reading the book.  Each aspect of the mystery and how Sherlock comes to his conclusions are explained in depth in the novel, and most of the explanations are logical scientific ones!  This is definitely a great read for all teens of all ages who enjoy a good mystery with lots of action and adventure.

Once you’re finished with Death Cloud, be sure to check out the next book in the series, Rebel Fire.  In this next book of the series, Sherlock and his friends intercept a plot to resurrect the Southern Cause in America with the supposedly dead John Wilkes Booth!

All These Things I’ve Done by Gabrielle Zevin

AllAll These Things I’ve Done by Gabrielle Zevin

Anya Balanchine lives in New York City in 2083.  In this future New York City, things like chocolate, coffee, and caffeine are illegal.  Water is running out, and clothes are being handed down through the generations because production of new clothing has ceased.  This New York City is run by a government that outlaws many things that are commonplace today, but things like chocolate are still available if you know the right people.  Anya is one of those people.  She is the daughter of a black-market chocolate crime boss, and her family is what we would consider the mafia.  Anya’s father, however, was gunned down when she was a child and as far as she’s concerned she wants no part in the family business.  Anya will take the perks, though, that come along with being the prominent daughter in one of the most notorious chocolate mafia families.  However, these perks come with a price when she gives her ex-boyfriend chocolate that almost kills him.  Someone is lacing Anya’s family chocolate with poison and Anya takes the fall.  When she finds out what is really happening, Anya has to take steps to make things right which means getting involved in the family business after all.

All These Things I’ve Done is an interesting read.  This future NYC is a different kind of dystopian that we’ve been seeing in other books.  Zevin has created a world where each thing that is illegal plays such an important role to Anya’s story, even though this world is close to our, this is what makes this novel so interesting.   I really liked getting to know Anya’s world better, as much as I liked getting to know Anya herself.  She is a really likable character who you want to see take on her enemies and win, but you also hope that she can stay out of the family business and just be a normal teen.  The supporting characters in this book are just as important to the story, and you really get a sense of how vital family and friends are in this future world.  If you are a fan of dystopian books, like The Hunger Games, but want a world that is not as violent or so different from our own world then pick up Gabrielle Zevin’s All These Things I’ve Done.  It has all the things you could want out of a good read: action, crime, the mafia, a mystery, and even some romance thrown into the mix!

Jasper Jones by Craig Silvey

Jasper JonesJasper Jones by Craig Silvey

Charlie had never really spoken to Jasper Jones, the town “troublemaker”, before the night he came to Charlie’s window. He had been looking forward to a lazy summer with his best friend, Jeffrey, but now he is in the middle of a murder mystery. Someone hung the daughter of the shire’s president, and Jasper is sure he will be blamed unless he and Charlie can figure out who did it first. The boys deal with murder, prejudice, incest and first loves. They also get to know each other and themselves much better over the course of this summer. This book takes place in a small Australian town in the 1960s, and while a lot of very serious things happen in the story, it’s also a very funny story. This book had me laughing out loud, quoting it to my friends, on the edge of my seat, and thinking long after I put it down.

Reviewed by Claire, Youth Outreach Coordinator

Texas Gothic by Rosemary Clement-Moore

Texas Gothic Book CoverTexas Gothic by Rosemary Clement-Moore

Texas Gothic revolves around Amy Goodnight, who is housesitting with her sister, Phin, for their aunt.  Now the Goodnights aren’t your average family, they have some added magical flair.  Some of them create magical things, like lotion that makes all your aches and pains go away, and others are psychic.  Amy wants nothing to do with her magic side whatever her skills might be, but she finds herself attracting ghosts and a whole lot of trouble instead. After a skeleton is discovered near her aunt’s ranch, Amy and Phin find themselves more involved than they ever expected, which puts the town’s folk in a tizzy when people start getting hurt and ghost rumors and Goodnight connections to the events start to fly. There’s a bit of romance (not pukey) between Amy and ranch neighbor, Ben, which is pretty amusing.  With a good dose of creepiness and intrigue, this is a guaranteed scary read.