Teens @ Duluth

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Posts Tagged ‘Mystery’

Numbers – Rachel Ward

Posted by Laura on May 21, 2010

If Jem looks into your eyes, she will know the date of your death.  She sees the numbers in her head.

As far as she remembers, she has always seen the numbers.  She didn’t know what they were for, until she saw a man write her mother’s numbers down on a piece of paper the day she died.  Jem was six years old at the time.

Since then, she has bounced around foster homes.  She tries to stay away from people, so she won’t see their dates.  And because she won’t look people in the eye, she is a target at school.  So, she skips.

One day while skipping, Jem goes to one of her hangouts and sees that someone from school is already there.  Spider.  A tall  kid with a funky smell, the inability to stay still and a date of death just months in the future.  Try as she might, she just can’t shake him.  But, is it so bad to finally have a friend.  Even if he will die soon?

Ditching another day, Jem and Spider go into London to hang out.  While Spider is ranting about the cost of riding the London Eye, Jem sees that day’s date when she looks in the eyes of a couple in line.  Then, the same date in the next person’s eyes.  And the next.  She convinces Spider to leave with her, NOW, and they run away.  Minutes later the London Eye blows up.

Now Jem and Spider are wanted for questioning.  Everyone in England is looking for the two youths “in hoodies and jeans: one black, very tall; one shorter and white. (p.81)”

Numbers by Rachel Ward, is gritty.  (Language, sex, theft, death…)  This book is also gripping.  And there will be another.


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Dooley takes the fall – Norah McClintock

Posted by Laura on April 30, 2010

Dooley saw someone fall off a bridge and die.  When he arrived at the body, he recognized the boy as someone from his school.  Someone he did not like, and with good reason.

When the police arrive, they ask Dooley a lot of questions, trying to trap him in a lie.  Dooley has a record and knew not to say too much.  When he got home, very late, his uncle, a retired police officer, was upset at Dooley for 1) not returning his page and 2) for not coming directly home from work like he was supposed to.

So now, Dooley has the police looking at him, is even more uncomfortable with his uncle and has the dead boy’s sister, who is beautiful, asking questions.  On top of this is his regular problems at school with the vice principal who refuses to lay off and his lousy minimum wage job at the video store with a middle manager who likes to micro manage and over sell.

Dooley takes the fall by Norah McClintock is a well written mystery by a Canadian author.  There is a wee bit of swearing and a whole lot of who-did-what and who-killed-him and now-who-is-dead?  And, what-the-heck-did-Dooley-do-in-the-first-place?  I liked it a lot.

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Give up the ghost – Megan Crewe

Posted by Laura on April 8, 2010

Cass McKenna is not your ordinary high school student.  She sees dead people.  And dead people see everything.

Two dead people currently hang out in her school and Cass uses the information that they pick up to get revenge on bullies and cheats.  No one at school trusts Cass because nobody can figure out how she gets her information.  Does she use high tech gadgets?  Goes she bribe people?

Tim, the vice president of the student council gets a glimmer of an idea on how she does it.  Well, sort of.  He just really hopes that Cass can communicate with spirits because he desperately needs to talk to one.

Cass would rather talk to ghosts than “breathers” so when Tim asks for help she only agrees to help if she can use his contacts to gather some dirt that her ghosts friends can’t get.   But it may be time for Cass to start living with the living instead of communing with those from the past.  (Although it can give interesting perspectives on history.)

Give up the ghost by Megan Crewe is fun and sad and hopeful.  And I didn’t even mention the first ghost she saw.  She saw the ghost of this person before she knew that the person was dead.  Are you hooked yet?

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You’ve got blackmail – Rachel Wright

Posted by Laura on August 10, 2009

Lauren/Lozzie/Loz Cracknell has a hard time remembering to post the mail from her mother’s salon.  The mail she forgot to post a few days ago was invitations for tonight’s party.  Oops.

Loz calls her friend Dex in a panic and he figures out that they can deliver the invitations themselves on bikes.  So, Loz survives.

But, it turns out that one of the letters wasn’t an invitation to the party.   You’ve got blackmail by Rachel Wright has bullies (but I am not sure who the original bully was…), blackmail, tortoises, a wannabe assassin and possibly a budding romance or two.  And, there is the mystery of who is being blackmailed, why they are being blackmailed, and who is the blackmailer.

This book has a similar flavor to the Georgia Nicolson stories by Louise Rennison.

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The Graveyard Book – Neil Gaiman (illustrations by Dave McKean)

Posted by Laura on June 9, 2009

Nobody Owens, Bod for short, lives in the graveyard on the same street where his family was murdered when he was a toddler.  Because his family is dead, and the killer, the man Jack, is still looking for him, he is being raised by ghosts.  And a guardian.

Bod has been given the Freedom of the Graveyard and as such can see in darkness as well as a bunch of other neat and handy tricks.  He learns his alphabet and numbers with the help of  gravestones.  He learns history from those who had lived it.  But one thing the graveyard can’t give Bod is the experience of being with the living.

I always find Neil Gaiman’s writing to be wonderful, and Dave McKean’s illustrations add to the enjoyment.  I even like how the text is arranged around the art.  Unfortunately, Bod’s clothing in the book doesn’t match up with the clothing in the drawings of him.  Where is the grey winding sheet?  There.  That is my one gripe.

The Graveyard Book is on the Teens Top Ten list for 2009, because a bunch of teens loved it.   Not only that, but it won the Newbery Medal for 2009, as well. That means a lot of library people thought it was the best book written for kids and teens last year.  It also won the 2009 Hugo award (to honor excellence in the field of science fiction and fantasy).

My question to you… What would you have written on your gravestone?

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Streams of Babel – Carol Plum-Ucci

Posted by Laura on April 8, 2009

When Cora’s mother dies of a brain aneurysm, she is embarrassed that people will know how she has been living for the past three years.  Her mother had been addicted to morphine since her injured return from an accident overseas four years ago.  When a neighbor suddenly falls ill and dies the same night, with similar symptoms but no drug addiction, Scott, the neighbor’s son and a paramedic in training, becomes suspicious.

Shahzad, a sixteen-year-old virtual spy in Pakistan who is working for the United States Intelligence Coalition, finds chatter about water poisonings in “Colony One.”  He is determined to find out where Colony One is and who is responisible.  But, once he leaves Pakistan, he can only do as much as his American handlers allow.  For a country that talks up freedom, his freedom to research is seriously curtailed once he enters the United States.

Streams of Babel is set in February and March of 2002, shortly after the attacks of 9-11; shortly after the anthrax outbreaks. This attack is centralized and only a few people fall ill.  But how are they falling ill from poisoned water when all the water towers have been tested and found to be safe?

This novel is suspenseful, exciting and mysterious.

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Stormbreaker – Anthony Horowitz

Posted by Laura on February 21, 2008

Well, I finally read my first Alex Rider novel (Stormbreaker) and I can see why they are often checked out.  As soon as I finished the novel, I picked up the graphic novel. They changed quite a bit of the story, but it was still good.

If you like spy or action stories, try the Alex Rider adventures, of which there are 7 so far.

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