High concept, easy-to-read mysteries that will keep the pages turning.



From the Mason Falls Mysteries series

When Hannah’s sister starts texting with a stranger and sneaking around, it is up to Hannah to find out if the guy is for real or just catfishing in this hi-lo mystery.

Just months from graduating high school and with a scholarship to her dream college, Alexis should be thrilled, but Hannah cannot help but think something dangerous is going on with her older sister. Deciding that Alexis’ safety is more important than respecting her privacy, Hannah enlists Jacob, a tech-savvy friend, to help her investigate, but the deeper they dig, the more convoluted the scheme seems to be. This modern mystery will capture the imaginations of readers as they try to stay one step ahead of the teen sleuths, and the messages about internet safety and the dangers of cyberstalkers are timely. The other titles in this series for reluctant teen readers are similar in construction. In The Turnaround by R.T. Martin (Take to the Skies, 2018, etc.), a normally poor-performing high school baseball team is mysteriously in contention for the state championships, making two teens suspect foul play. In The House by Raelyn Drake (Realm of Mystics, 2017, etc.), a prank turns terrifying for three teens bullied into spending time in a haunted mansion. In Tracks by Vanessa Acton (Vortex, 2017, etc.), a student disappears, prompting two teens to investigate. Racial diversity is lacking across the board, but the decision to include platonic male-female friendships is refreshing.

High concept, easy-to-read mysteries that will keep the pages turning. (Mystery. 12-18)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5415-0114-0

Page Count: 108

Publisher: Darby Creek

Review Posted Online: March 5, 2018

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An earnest examination of mental health in sports.


Sixteen-year-old Gus Bennett lives in the shadow of his older brother, Danny, a former Olympic swimming hopeful who recently died by suicide.

Gus does not have an easy home life: He has a strained relationship with his mother, a single parent who’s still struggling after Danny’s death; and his older sister, Darien, has a drug addiction and abandoned her now 18-month-old child to the care of their mother. But Gus hopes to train with Coach Marks, the renowned trainer who worked with his brother. He even sneaks into the country club to get access to the pool, willing to do whatever it takes to succeed. He has his eye on qualifying for the national team and seems poised for success, but he soon experiences a downward spiral and engages in reckless behavior. Although the side characters are underdeveloped, Gus’ first-person narration carries the story along smoothly. Conceptualized by the late Academy Award–winning basketball player Bryant and written by Clark, this emotional novel contains lyrical prose that beautifully captures the energy of swimming and short chapters that will keep readers engaged. Physical descriptions are limited, suggesting a white default, but naming conventions suggest some diversity among the swim team members.

An earnest examination of mental health in sports. (resources) (Fiction. 12-18)

Pub Date: July 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-949520-05-7

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Granity Studios

Review Posted Online: June 1, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2020

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Riveting, brutal and beautifully told.

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A devastating tale of greed and secrets springs from the summer that tore Cady’s life apart.

Cady Sinclair’s family uses its inherited wealth to ensure that each successive generation is blond, beautiful and powerful. Reunited each summer by the family patriarch on his private island, his three adult daughters and various grandchildren lead charmed, fairy-tale lives (an idea reinforced by the periodic inclusions of Cady’s reworkings of fairy tales to tell the Sinclair family story). But this is no sanitized, modern Disney fairy tale; this is Cinderella with her stepsisters’ slashed heels in bloody glass slippers. Cady’s fairy-tale retellings are dark, as is the personal tragedy that has led to her examination of the skeletons in the Sinclair castle’s closets; its rent turns out to be extracted in personal sacrifices. Brilliantly, Lockhart resists simply crucifying the Sinclairs, which might make the family’s foreshadowed tragedy predictable or even satisfying. Instead, she humanizes them (and their painful contradictions) by including nostalgic images that showcase the love shared among Cady, her two cousins closest in age, and Gat, the Heathcliff-esque figure she has always loved. Though increasingly disenchanted with the Sinclair legacy of self-absorption, the four believe family redemption is possible—if they have the courage to act. Their sincere hopes and foolish naïveté make the teens’ desperate, grand gesture all that much more tragic.

Riveting, brutal and beautifully told. (Fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: May 13, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-385-74126-2

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2014

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