Why a YA Mystery?

I do love a good mystery. A good mystery. Which eliminates roughly … all of them. Of course I’m exaggerating for comedic effect. As my divinity mentor was fond of saying, “You are nothing if not a clown. And don’t touch that divinity, I just finished cooking it!”

But seriously mystery fans, sometimes it seems that any object affected by gravity thinks it can pen a mystery novel. This, of course, makes for a lot of poorly written mysteries. On the other hand, a spiffing good conundrum offers rewards beyond even the wildest dreams of Melvin.

Mysteriously, today’s blog about mysteries began as something of a mystery itself. You see, I undertook a search (much as a dime-novel detective) of the catalog without a particular destination in mind, and soon found myself (surprisingly) delivered to the sub-genre of YA mysteries, uncharted waters for this reader.

Deadly CoolThrough some arcane process comprehensible only to a Floridian vote counter, I arrived at the title Deadly Cool by Gemma Halliday. This book is a fairly standard take on the mystery genre, with young adult characters setting it apart as reading aimed at, wait for it, young adults. Here we find Hartley, a high school junior suspicious of her boyfriend’s fidelity. Rushing to his house for a confrontation she discovers the body of the girl he was allegedly dallying about with. The book does a most excellent job of creating a realistic teen culture and dulling the bite of a potentially disturbing topic with abundant humor. Incidentally, this is the first in a series of books featuring our protagonist Hartley Featherstone.

The search continued. In our newly-improved catalog, one can easily find suggestions of additional books that might be of interest to the searcher. Deadly Cool yielded the following:

RecommendationsReformed vampireNever one to turn down a name like The Reformed Vampire Support Group, I clicked on this title and discovered a promising description of vampires who are, “anemic, whiny, unattractive, they feed on guinea pigs…” I was sold at anemic. This book stands above the insurmountable glut of vampire books that have hit local bookselling establishments in recent years, offering a fresh take on vampire culture while throwing in some tip top murder and mystery to boot.


Etiquette
Another title that turned up in my search was Etiquette & Espionage by Gail Carriger. In a steampunk version of 1851 we find Sophronia Temminnick, an unusual 14-year-old girl who is more interested in machinery and shenanigans than in curtseying and obtaining a husband. These activities so aggravate her mother that the girl is unexpectedly whisked away to Mademoiselle Geraldine’s Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality. However, unbeknownst to Sophronia’s mum, the school is actually an academy specializing in espionage and assassination. And this suits Sophronia just fine. Adventures, paranormal creatures and mystery abound in this amusing and exciting debut in the Finishing School series.

Other exciting YA mysteries recommended by the catalogue:

Down the Rabbit Hole by Peter Abrahams.
Black Mirror by Nancy Werlin
The Girl is Murder (1st in a series) by Kathryn Miller Haines
I So Don’t Do Mysteries (1st in a series) by Barrie Summy

Mysteries1

 I’d Tell You I Love You, but then I’d Have to Kill You (series) by Ally Carter
Ruby Redfort Look into my Eyes by Lauren Child
Ripper by Stefan Petrucha
Paper Valentine by Brenna Yovanoff

Mysteries2

Today’s lesson is this: One can find a young adult mystery that is suitable for an adult reader. And, just as in anything else, there are gems and there are maggots, but rooting out the maggots, as Hercule Poirot might have said with an outrageous accent, is at least one-third of the fun. So expand your horizons, take advantage of the cool features of the catalog, and most importantly, be careful out there.

Ron

 

2 thoughts on “Why a YA Mystery?

  1. Drat you, Ron! I had to put Deadly Cool on hold. Had. To.

    We should discuss Etiquette & Espionage. Suffice it to say I am impatiently anticipating book 2, Curtsies & Conspiracies, which won’t be out, sadly, until November 5.

    If you haven’t yet read The Girl is Murder / The Girl is Trouble you should. But I warn you: read them together, for the most satisfying ending is defintely book 2. Not sure how long we’ll have to wait for book 3, but the wait will be worth it.

    I’ve noticed being a fangirl on Facebook has made it very easy to connect with authors, most especially YA authors. When I’d finished book 1 I told Kathryn Miller Haines how much I had enjoyed it. She wrote back to say if I liked book 1 I should definitely read book 2 (solves an overarching storyline). It’s lovely to discover that authors are people, too.

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  2. Ghost Flower by Michelle Jaffe is a really good YA mystery that was so unpredictable, I almost had to read it twice to understand the ending. HIGHLY recommend it to people who hate those “mysteries” where you can guess what’s going to happen by the time you’re halfway through.

    My all-time favorite mystery for young readers is The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin. It’s so clever and the characters are awesome.

    Haven’t read any in this post yet, except “I’d Tell You I Love You, But Then I’d Have To Kill You.” As I recall it was kind of a yawn. Might try Etiquette and Espionage, though I’ve found a lot of YA steampunk novels really disappointing so far. I hold out hope for finding a really excellent one… someday.

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