An explosive mystery featuring a dynamic duo.

A STUDY IN CHARLOTTE

From the Charlotte Holmes series , Vol. 1

Watson’s and Holmes’ descendants try to live up to and with their ancestors’ legacies in this debut.

Stuck at Sherringford, a Connecticut boarding school, Londoner James Watson craves excitement, action, and romance. He tries to vent his rage on the rugby field during practice and hone his writing skills at night—emulating Dr. Watson but aiming to manage his money better—yet lives in hope of befriending classmate (and predestined companion) Charlotte Holmes. Like Sherlock, genius Charlotte plays violin, dabbles in disguises, conducts forensic experiments, and has a weakness for opiates. When a student turns up dead after harassing Holmes and fighting with Watson, and his death scene is staged like “The Adventure of the Speckled Band,” Watson and Holmes become both suspects and detectives…and where there’s a mystery, there might be Moriartys. While Watson wants to solve the case, he is equally absorbed in decoding enigmatic Charlotte, who is cunning, cruel, and fragile. Although death, drugs, rape, and betrayal make for a grim tale, slapstick humor and wit enliven the story. These sleuths may still be in school—and working out of a supply closet with smartphones—but Cavallaro’s crackling dialogue, well-drawn characters, and complicated relationships make this feel like a seamless and sharp renewal of Doyle’s series.

An explosive mystery featuring a dynamic duo. (Mystery. 14-18)

Pub Date: March 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-06-239890-1

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Katherine Tegen/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Nov. 25, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2015

Did you like this book?

An unsettling but easy-to-read blend of social media savvy and gritty gumshoe work.

14 WAYS TO DIE

A teen sleuth tries livestreaming to catch a murderer.

Seventeen-year-old Jessica Simmons lost her mother a decade ago, the first victim of the Magpie Man, a serial killer now on victim No. 13, who has struck in locations around the U.K. Her father’s life is still in shambles and her former friends are long gone, but Jessica’s decided to publicize her tragedy. One of five contestants on YouTube’s “The Eye”—an unscripted, livestreamed reality show—Jessica asks her viewers to help identify the serial killer. But inviting the world into her home and school brings unwanted attention, perhaps even from the Magpie Man, whose body count keeps climbing: Sleuthing-related drama and peril ensue. Jessica’s friends and family are economically rendered yet believable, and Ralph renders grief beautifully and devastatingly, as something that evolves but doesn’t end. As in the story, the bulk of the action occurs when the cameras aren’t rolling, and eventually, the reality show premise and its minimally developed contestants are more a distraction and transparent deus ex machina than an integral part of Jessica’s journey. More intriguing—and with real-life precedents—is the possibility of crowdsourcing a murder investigation. Although the fast-paced finale can’t quite overcome the slow start and overlong middle, the tale reaches a dramatic, satisfactory conclusion. Characters follow a White default.

An unsettling but easy-to-read blend of social media savvy and gritty gumshoe work. (resources, author interview) (Thriller. 14-18)

Pub Date: June 1, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-72823-186-0

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Review Posted Online: March 31, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2021

Did you like this book?

Many teen novels touch on similar themes, but few do it so memorably.

Reader Votes

  • Readers Vote
  • 10

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

Google Rating

  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • New York Times Bestseller

ALL THE BRIGHT PLACES

Two struggling teens develop an unlikely relationship in a moving exploration of grief, suicide and young love.

Violet, a writer and member of the popular crowd, has withdrawn from her friends and from school activities since her sister died in a car accident nine months earlier. Finch, known to his classmates as "Theodore Freak," is famously impulsive and eccentric. Following their meeting in the school bell tower, Finch makes it his mission to re-engage Violet with the world, partially through a school project that sends them to offbeat Indiana landmarks and partially through simple persistence. (Violet and Finch live, fortunately for all involved, in the sort of romantic universe where his throwing rocks at her window in the middle of the night comes off more charming than stalker-esque.) The teens alternate narration chapter by chapter, each in a unique and well-realized voice. Finch's self-destructive streak and suicidal impulses are never far from the surface, and the chapters he narrates are interspersed with facts about suicide methods and quotations from Virginia Woolf and poet Cesare Pavese. When the story inevitably turns tragic, a cast of carefully drawn side characters brings to life both the pain of loss and the possibility of moving forward, though some notes of hope are more believable than others.

Many teen novels touch on similar themes, but few do it so memorably. (Fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Jan. 6, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-385-75588-7

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Oct. 1, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2014

Did you like this book?

more