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THE AGATHAS

From the Agathas Mystery series , Vol. 1

A generous dollop of homage to the grande dame of mystery plus buckets of clues and conundrums to savor.

Two high schoolers team up to investigate a classmate’s death and discover that their small California town is positively aboil with secrets.

Seething at the oddly lackadaisical response of local police to the disappearance of her former BFF on Halloween, 17-year-old Agatha Christie fan Alice Ogilvie enlists Iris Adams, her peer tutor, to launch an inquiry that not only bears immediate fruit in the form of a battered corpse at the base of nearby seaside cliffs, but leads to a veritable flood of obvious but conflicting clues and revelations that point to, and away from, foul play. Which was it? As the two gather and struggle to make sense of their evidence in traded-off chapters (with help from a squad of enthusiastic would-be fellow sleuths and a savvy public defender with flexible ethics), readers quickly twig to the fact that they themselves are nursing secrets. Along with frequent references to Christie’s books and tumultuous personal history, the co-authors stir in classic mystery tropes and complications aplenty. Though evidently all White, the students at Castle Cove High are split between fabulously wealthy A-listers and working-class kids; as events speed along to a surprise denouement (albeit not in a drawing room) with a violent but decisive resolution, class tensions play out, sometimes viciously, between the protagonists as they warily circle one another on the way to a firm bond.

A generous dollop of homage to the grande dame of mystery plus buckets of clues and conundrums to savor. (map, abuse resource list) (Mystery. 13-18)

Pub Date: May 3, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-43111-5

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Feb. 8, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2022

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A GOOD GIRL'S GUIDE TO MURDER

From the Good Girl's Guide to Murder series , Vol. 1

A treat for mystery readers who enjoy being kept in suspense.

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  • New York Times Bestseller

Everyone believes that Salil Singh killed his girlfriend, Andrea Bell, five years ago—except Pippa Fitz-Amobi.

Pip has known and liked Sal since childhood; he’d supported her when she was being bullied in middle school. For her senior capstone project, Pip researches the disappearance of former Fairview High student Andie, last seen on April 18, 2014, by her younger sister, Becca. The original investigation concluded with most of the evidence pointing to Sal, who was found dead in the woods, apparently by suicide. Andie’s body was never recovered, and Sal was assumed by most to be guilty of abduction and murder. Unable to ignore the gaps in the case, Pip sets out to prove Sal’s innocence, beginning with interviewing his younger brother, Ravi. With his help, Pip digs deeper, unveiling unsavory facts about Andie and the real reason Sal’s friends couldn’t provide him with an alibi. But someone is watching, and Pip may be in more danger than she realizes. Pip’s sleuthing is both impressive and accessible. Online articles about the case and interview transcripts are provided throughout, and Pip’s capstone logs offer insights into her thought processes as new evidence and suspects arise. Jackson’s debut is well-executed and surprises readers with a connective web of interesting characters and motives. Pip and Andie are white, and Sal is of Indian descent.

A treat for mystery readers who enjoy being kept in suspense. (Mystery. 14-18)

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-9636-0

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2019

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THE CHANGING MAN

A descriptive and atmospheric paranormal social thriller that could be a bit tighter.

After a Nigerian British girl goes off to an exclusive boarding school that seems to prey on less-privileged students, she discovers there might be some truth behind an urban legend.

Ife Adebola joins the Urban Achievers scholarship program at pricey, high-pressure Nithercott School, arriving shortly after a student called Leon mysteriously disappeared. Gossip says he’s a victim of the glowing-eyed Changing Man who targets the lonely, leaving them changed. Ife doesn’t believe in the myth, but amid the stresses of Nithercott’s competitive, privileged, majority-white environment, where she is constantly reminded of her state school background, she does miss her friends and family. When Malika, a fellow Black scholarship student, disappears and then returns, acting strangely devoid of personality, Ife worries the Changing Man is real—and that she’s next. Ife joins forces with classmate Bijal and Benny, Leon’s younger brother, to uncover the truth about who the Changing Man is and what he wants. Culminating in a detailed, gory, and extended climactic battle, this verbose thriller tempts readers with a nefarious mystery involving racial and class-based violence but never quite lives up to its potential and peters out thematically by its explosive finale. However, this debut offers highly visually evocative and eerie descriptions of characters and events and will appeal to fans of creature horror, social commentary, and dark academia.

A descriptive and atmospheric paranormal social thriller that could be a bit tighter. (Thriller. 14-18)

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 2023

ISBN: 9781250868138

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Review Posted Online: June 8, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2023

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