This month, we say goodbye to two of my favorite amateur sleuths: Sammy Keyes, in Sammy Keyes and the Kiss Goodbye, the 18th(!) mystery starring Santa Martina’s most hard-boiled middle schooler; and Kami Glass, in Unmade, the third installment in Sarah Rees Brennan’s it’ll-make-you-laugh-out-loud-while-ripping-your-heart-to-shreds Lynburn Legacy. For the past week or so, I’ve been putting off my final farewell to Sammy by re-reading all of her previous adventures. As I don’t have that luxury in the case of the Lynburn Legacy (A. It’s a mere trilogy, and B. Must read Unmade IMMEDIATELY due to the HORRIBLY PAINFUL CLIFFHANGER at the end of the second book), I’ve prepared for my inevitable bereftness by making a list of some new sleuths on the block*:
Julep DuPree, from Mary Elizabeth Summer’s Trust Me, I’m Lying
She’s a 15-year-old grifter struggling to pay her private school tuition and the rent while searching for her missing father AND avoiding foster care by hiding his disappearance from the authorities. Also, she has the coolest character name since Veruca Salt, and the model on the cover bears a striking resemblance to Ruth Wilson. What more could I possibly ask for? How about a glowing review from Kirkus to seal the deal? GIVE IT. GIVE IT TO ME NOW.
Kenzie Summerall, from Roxanne St. Clair’s They All Fall Down
A Latin nerd is surprised to end up on her school’s annual “Hottie List” (barf)...and then her surprise turns to horror when the other girls on the list start dropping like flies. I’d probably have given this one a pass—how many books have we read with similar plots?—but Kirkus promises strong character development, an original voice and decent twists. I’m in.
Eliza Elliot from Suzanne Myers’ Stone Cove Island
While cleaning out the town’s lighthouse after a hurricane, Eliza uncovers evidence in a 30-year-old unsolved murder…and it turns out that pretty much everyone in her small town is a suspect. It’s blurbed by Judy Blundell AND Natalie Standiford, which suggests that it’ll be atmospheric AND feature lots of quirky characters. Fingers crossed!
Jess Tennant from Jane Casey’s How to Fall
Kirkus says that the secondary characters in this one are “believably despicable” and that the heroine isn’t much more likable…which, oddly enough, has me even more interested in reading it. Londoner moves to small village (while I’m trying not to get my hopes up TOO high, but that part of the premise immediately has me thinking of Kate Cann’s Morton’s Keep books), discovers that she looks exactly like her dead cousin, romance and drama and investigations ensue.
Cali Callihan from Blake Nelson’s The Prince of Venice Beach
I admit it: I’ve been avoiding The Prince of Venice Beach because the cover art is so reminiscent of Into the Wild’s movie poster. But comparisons to S.E. Hinton have led me to believe that I need to get over myself and READ IT, ALREADY.
Claire Graham from Andrea Hannah’s Of Scars and Stardust
A party in the cornfields leads to Claire’s little sister being attacked by wolves…or, well, Claire insists that it was wolves, though everyone else thinks she’s trying to cover up her own crime. From what I’ve read, Claire sounds like an unreliable narrator a la 17 & Gone’s Lauren Woodman. So, yeah: GIMME.
If she isn't writing Bookshelves of Doom or running the show at her local library, Leila Roy might be making stuff for her Etsy shop while rewatching Veronica Mars, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Babylon 5, Black Books or Twin Peaks. Well, that or she’s hanging out on Twitter. Or both.