Review Crew Book Reviews by Genre: Mystery

Book Review: Caraval
Garber, Stephanie
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Caraval was an exciting and very original take on Alice in Wonderland, and I loved it. From two strong female leads to a heart wrenching romance, Caraval has it all. This book is filled with all sorts of twists and turns, and was completely unpredictable. I loved the magical world that Caraval is set in, and was a huge fan of the mystery theme in the story. The character development was extremely good, and I loved the tone that the author wrote the story in. Caraval is definitely a book I would recommend to anyone looking for a bit of adventure.

Reviewer's Name: Nicholas
The Wrong Train
De Quidt, Jeremy
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

A boy is trying to get home by train, but he ends up on a strange platform with no one around and no idea when the next train is coming so he can get home. A man suddenly appears and sits with the boy, telling him rather strange stories while they wait.

This book is a collection of short stories that revolve around a bigger story. All of the stories are creepy and mysterious. If you are the kind of person who likes to be creeped out just a little, but would still like to sleep at night, this book is for you. I am not a huge horror fan, but I could not put this book down. I found this book in the kids section (the little ghost sticker on the binding intrigued me, so I thought I would give it a try) so this could be the reason I found it more bearable and less creepy than other books of that genre. No matter what grade, if you are looking for a spooky book, you should give The Wrong Train a try (unless you find it not scary at all, in this case I suggest you read it anyway because it's still pretty good.)
Reviewer Grade: 10

Reviewer's Name: Emma
Dark Sky
Box, C. J.
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Dark Sky is a masterfully crafted thriller that strings together webs and webs of suspense through character development and wit. The novel takes place in the expansive wilderness of Wyoming, where Joe Pickett, a normal game warden, must evade a killer after his and his client's heads. Box does an incredible job of building up his characters and leaving room for the reader to question certain decisions and traits. The way the author ties everything together for an eventual climax will leave the reader on the edge of their seat, especially when the build-up leads to a nail-biting cliffhanger. The setting is also beautifully used to expand on both the plot and scenic writing in general, as the author clearly knows the terrain and all of its attributes. Overall, I would recommend this novel to anyone who loves a good thriller.

Reviewer's Name: Steven
Legion: The Many Lives of Stephen Leeds
Sanderson, Brandon
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

I devoured this book (a set of three novellas) in three days and really enjoyed it. Brandon Sanderson is such a creative author, and here's yet another book of his that doesn't fail to impress. It tells the story of Stephen Leeds, who creates hallucinatory "aspects" with certain specialties to help him compartmentalize his knowledge to learn things and master abilities. He uses their help to solve mysteries as a way to give himself a purpose. Stephen's cases were intriguing to follow, and his aspects were really fun characters to get to know and get invested in. Stephen himself felt rather flat at the beginning, but as I read further, I realized that was an intentional decision. Because of his aspects, his personality is contained in all of them, so without them, he's sort of empty. It was awesome to watch him grow in this.

The only reason I gave the book 4 stars instead of 5 is because, as a set of novellas, the first two don't relate very much to the third, or to each other. I wish he had found a way to tie the cases into the finale more than he did. Otherwise, a great read, especially for a quiet weekend at home. I would definitely recommend!
Reviewer grade: 10

Reviewer's Name: Elanor
Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children
Riggs, Ransom
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children tells the story of a teenage boy called Jacob, who, after witnessing his supposedly crazy grandfather die, is led by his last words to the island of Caernhome, where his grandfather grew
up in a foundling home. Jacob discovers that maybe his grandfather wasn't as crazy as everyone thought, and that all the stories he told about children with magical powers may actually have been true.
I did enjoy this book, but some of the characters felt a bit flat and the plot wasn't as good as it could have been. A large section in the middle, during what would be the "trials" in the "Hero's Journey," was mostly just Jacob playing around with the peculiars and not really doing much. The book was still an interesting read, though, with a creative premise, and I look forward to reading the sequels to see where the author takes them, and if he develops the characters
more.

Reviewer's Name: Elanor
One of Us Is Lying
McManus, Karen M.
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

One of us is lying is a captivating murder mystery, romance, thriller. 5 teens enter detention, but what happens when only 4 leave. As you read you find out more and more about the case. The 4 teens all have secrets
is murder one of them? This book is so enthralling, once you start it will be hard to put it down. With great characters and a very interesting story with tons of twists and turns. If you love solving mysteries or discovering the truth, this is totally the book for you! Grade: 8th

Reviewer's Name: Rylie
Clutches and Curses
Howell, Dorothy
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Haley Randolph has been cursed by a customer at her job, and soon after, everything starts going south. This leads her to transfer to her job's newest location in Las Vegas to try and get some relief, only to find the body of her high school nemesis in the store and become the prime suspect in their murder. With two detectives breathing down her neck, a hotel with a shady owner, and the hot handbag of the season in her sight, Haley must put her detective outfit on and find the culprit before she's as dead as Holt's Department Store's fashion line.

Overall, a very well-written novel with great build-up, lovable characters, a truly demented antagonist, and plenty of coffee to keep it going (Best drink on the planet. Fight me!). It's not without its flaws, as the writing is a bit sloppy in the beginning and they made the eventual culprit a bit too sus for it to be too big of a surprise. It also isn't for everyone, especially not guys, with its girly atmosphere and side plots, but it's still a good fashion-themed mystery I highly recommend you check out.

Reviewer's Name: Naomi S.
They All Fall Down
Cohen, Tammy
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

They All Fall Down is a psychological thriller about a woman named Hannah, who lives in a psychiatric ward due to something shocking she did in her seemingly normal life. After two patients from the ward die, Hannah is convinced there is a murderer but no one else believes her. Her mother Corinne helps Hannah from the outside, and proves that the psychiatric ward isn't as innocent as it seemed to be. The novel included many twists and turns which kept me engaged through it all. However, there was more than one time when I felt lost and didn't understand what was happening. As I read along, I could eventually predict what the ending was going to be like, and I was accurate. While the ending didn't have the greatest "wow factor", itstill surprised me. I would recommend this book to anyone interested in reading about what goes through different people's lives after facing the loss of someone close to you.

Reviewer's Name: Prarthana
Ghost Story
Butcher, Jim
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

After Dresden becomes a ghost, he goes back to Chicago to help his friends. Dresden struggles to acclimate to being a ghost and being unable to directly help his friends. Although this book starts off slowly, it quickly picks up
to a climactic end. This book adds new depth to the supernatural world Jim Butcher has created and continues to tie past character into the story. This book adds a refreshing change to the series by mixing up the style of storytelling through Dresden's more passive role in the story. Although Butcher's style of adding a ticking time clock to every story feels quite repetitive, this book was still entertaining to read.

Reviewer's Name: Mark
The Lovely Bones
Sebold, Alice
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Susie Salmon is a 14-year old girl who is killed by her neighbor Mr. Harvey after school on her way home. Mr. Harvey disposes Susie's body and throws her charm bracelet into a pond. Susie's spirit flees from her body and runs towards her personal heaven where she watches as her family and friends struggle to move on with their lives while she also tries to come to terms with her death.

My favorite part about this book is the theme of accepting death. Susie's family struggled with closure, and as a result, Susie's soul was restless and she wasn't able to enter into 'Heaven'. Even though she's only 14, Susie explored themes such as love, friendship, the after-life, and forgiveness. Personally, I don't think Mr. Harvey's ending was enough, but I was happy that Susie and her family found closure. The book felt very personal; like I was with Susie the whole time, and I felt very connected to her and attached throughout her whole emotional growth. Ironically, Susie does the most growing when she's dead, because that's when she does the most soul searching. I also thought this book pointed out how flawed adults are, and that they aren't the perfect put-together image young teens have about them. I watched the film adaption after, and if you prefer films, the movie is just as awesome!

Reviewer's Name: Nneoma
The Terrorist
Cooney, Caroline B.
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

I normally would not rank a book this high but this one is well-deserved. The story is very well-written and easy to understand but is still filled with suspense and mystery. The Terrorist is the story Laura Williams whose brother dies in a terrorist attack in London. This event changes her life and she has to try to navigate it with her brother gone. I would highly recommend this book to any teen as it is very well written and over all one of my favorites. Caroline B. Cooney's writing is very nice because it is well written but still easy to understand unlike many books.

Reviewer's Name: Emily
Sharp Objects
Flynn, Gillian
2 stars = Meh
Review:

Sharp Objects is about a writer who must go back to her small hometown to report on the disappearances of young girls. The book is very interesting the whole time and is one I was not able to put down until I had finished. The ending is nothing even close to what I would have ever pictured, and it is never even hinted towards. The book overall is quite disturbing though. From the topic of extreme self harm to very inappropriate behavior from quite young girls, there were many moments that were disgusting.

Reviewer's Name: Jana M.
All In
Barnes, Jennifer Lynn
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

All In is a sequel in The Naturals series that focuses on 5 teens with natural talents that make them special, so they work with the FBI to solve cases. The book/series is absolutely amazing and so well written. Every character has a great backstory and all are very well developed. In this book there are so many twists and turns that keep you absolutely hooked. The details and how creative the ideas in the murders and investigations are amazes me. I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a great book to keep you hooked and anyone who loves the show Criminal Minds.

Reviewer's Name: Jana M.
Bad Blood
Barnes, Jennifer Lynn
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Bad Blood is about 5 teens with natural skills that lead them to work with the FBI to solve cases. In this book they are going back to look into their pasts especially the main female character to try to lead to a murderer, or multiple. I was not able to put the book down and ended up finishing it in a day. Everything comes together so nicely. All the details play into each other and I can not imagine how the author came up with such elaborate ideas that are so complex. This book is for anyone who loves the show Criminal minds because they are so similar or is looking for an amazing crime book.

Reviewer's Name: Jana M.
Murder on the Orient Express
Crhistie, Agatha
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Murder on the Orient Express is the story of detective Hercule Poirot who is taking the train the Orient Express when a man gets murdered on board. With the help of the the doctor and other staff members on board, Poirot plans to solve the murder before the train arrives at its destination and the murder is free to walk away.

This book is very well written and has many plot twists so you are constantly looking forward to what comes next. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes a good mystery. It is fairly easy to understand and could be easily read by anyone 5th grade and up.

Reviewer's Name: Emily S.
Awards:
Storm Front: A Novel of the Dresden Files
Butcher, Jim
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Jim Butcher brings to life a world filled with magic. This does not save Harry Dresden from very real problems - keeping up with rent, car troubles, and more. This gives the story a grounding in reality that makes aspects of it relatable, despite its focus on the supernatural. Dresden is stubborn, but he always tries to do the right thing. As he tries to solve multiple homicides and searches for a missing person, he finds there is something darker going on than he first believed. His race against the clock adds a thrill that makes the book hard to put down.

Reviewer's Name: Mark T.
Awards:
Genres:
Book Cover
McManus, Karen
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

One of Us is Lying is a mystery novel about four high school students who are suspected for the murder of their classmate. Bronwyn, Addy, Cooper, Nate, and Simon go into their after school detention following a normal day at school, but the events that happened after weren't so normal. Simon, the outcast and the creator of the high school's gossip app, has been murdered and the other students in detention claim they know nothing. Yet after his murder, the posts on his gossip app don't stop, eventually revealing some shocking things about the suspects. Bronwyn, Addy, Cooper, and Nate decide to join forces and find out the truth behind Simon's murder.

Overall, this book was really good. I would have given it 5 stars but I feel like the description (from the book) is a little misleading. The book focuses on their lives after the murder of Simon Kelleher and not as much of them trying to solve the murder. While I really do like the way it explains the details of their lives, I just found it a bit misleading. Other than that, the book is great. I absolutely love the character development in this novel.

In the beginning Addy is what you might call a "dumb blonde" but later on she becomes much more independent and her character develops in many ways. I also really liked the plot twists, they completely blew me away! I can't reveal much more than that but I truly didn't expect some of the things that happened, to happen.

Reviewer's Name: Prarthana
Big Little Lies
Moriarty, Liane
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Big Little Lies is about a group of parents who come to know each other when their kids all start kindergarten together and all their drama collides and ends with a death. I loved how this book kept me interested the whole time. Every chapter something new is thrown at the reader. All the characters were very well developed and everything came together very nicely. I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a good book that can keep you interested through the whole book just wanting to get to the end to know what happens.

Reviewer's Name: Jana
Beach Bags and Burglaries
Howell, Dorothy
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Haley Randolph and her friends have just won a free trip to one of the most high-end resorts in the California area. However, the minute they arrive on shore, things start taking a turn for the worse. One of the resort staff's bodies were found at the bottom of a cliff, and Haley suspects that foul play was afoot. Thus, she winds up plunged into solving yet another murder case, all while looking for her best friend's stolen underwear (I'm not kidding) and the latest and hottest beach bag: the Sea Vixen.

Overall, I think this novel was very well done. The mystery flows as smooth as Mondo Butter, the side plots are entertaining, the characters are great, and the writing itself left me unable to put it down. However, this book is not for everyone, as its girly tone and bag search side plot won't appeal to guys all that well. The mystery can also be a bit hard to follow at times, and it starts out really slow, although it does pick up the pace after the first few chapters. Overall, I recommend this to any girl who likes a good cozy.

Reviewer's Name: Naomi
We Told Six Lies
Scott, Victoria
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

We Told Six Lies is about a girl who is kidnapped and her boyfriend is the lead suspect. The whole book is not as it seems though. The whole story is quite disturbing and only gets worse as the book goes on. While the book is really well written and all pieces come together very well, the storyline is not my favorite. It was a book that I was not able to put down until I had found out what had happened and was not disappointed by the ending. Overall I would recommend this book for a more mature teen reader because of how disturbing it is.

Reviewer's Name: Jana

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