YA mysteries for the win!

5.  We Know it was You by Maggie Thrash

What it’s About:  A pair of young sleuths attempt to discover the story behind why a beautiful cheerleader committed suicide.

What I Thought:  This book tries really hard to be something more than just another murder mystery, working hard to impress with a convoluted story and quirky characters.  A little too hard, I would say.  There are also some problems in regards to diversity and treatment of sexual assault, but I can’t get into that too much without spoiling.  It’s just a really weird experience reading this one.

4.  Unearthed by Aime Kaufman and Megan Spooner

What it’s About:  A message from an extinct alien race provides hope for humanity to use the alien technology to reverse environmental damage on Earth.  Scholar Jules and scavenger Mia meet up on the alien planet, and are forced to work together as they confront other humans on the planet, as well as traps left behind by previous inhabitants.

What I Thought:  Kind of a weird book for this list, the only non-mystery to be found.  But it works, as it separates number 5 from the top three, which is very fitting asx there is a significant gap between those books.  As for the book, it had a strong beginning and ending but unfortunately a lot of the middle didn’t really hold my attention.  Which seems to fit with the reviews I’ve seen fo it, saying it manbnages to be both fun and boring at the same time, strange as that seems.

3.  People Like Us by Dana Mele

What it’s About:  Kay Donovan has moved on from a troubled past to become part of the in crowd at an exclusive private school, but her life takes a shocking turn when she and her friends discover the dead body of another student.  Kay doesn’t recognize the girl, and is baffled when she gets a message from the dead girl, threatening to expose Kay’s secrets if Kay doesn’t follow orders to take down her friends.

What I Thought:  There’s not much separating this from the next two books in the list, all three being excellent YA mysteries.  This one is perhaps a bit more predictable than the others, or at least I saw what was coming.  Still a good ride, though not many of the characters are particularly likeable.

2.  Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson

What it’s About:  Stevie Bell becomes a student at Ellingham Academy, determined to solve the legendary mystery of the school’s past, the murder of the wife and daughter of the school’s founder by a shadowy figure who communicated through letters signed as Truly Devious.  She gets more than she’s bargained for when one of her classmates turns up dead, and she gets a message from Truly Devious.

What I Thought:  I enjoyed Johnson’s Shades of London series, so I’m not surprised that I liked this book as well.  Both are boarding school mystery stories, though Shades has a supernatural element that Truly Devious lacks.  Unlike the books before and after it on the list, Tryly devious is part of a series, so you don’t get much in the way of answers when all is said and done.  I really didn’t care about the romance plot, so the book ending on a cliffhanger from that storline fell a little flat.  I’m still anticipating the next book in the series, and it would be great if we could get that conclusion for Shades of London too!

  1.  Little Monsters by Kara Thomas

What it’s About:  About a year ago, Kacey was taken from her troubled mother and made to live with the father she had never met and his family.  Thankfully, not only has she formed a strong bond with her new family, she has also become friends with two local girls, Bailey and Jade.  She is taken aback when Bailey and Jade fail to invite her to a party, though that quickly becomes unimportant when Bailey goes missing.

What I Thought:  Another great YA mystery!  I enjoyed the small town setting, complete with local legends, and also appreciated that Kacey’s dynamic with her newfound family was not the obvious Cinderella type of relationship.  The only critique I have is that I would have liked a bit more explanation in the ending, but I still really enjoyed this.   

Published by Andrew Clendening