Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Summer mysteries for young teens

If your life can sometimes seem boring and humdrum, here are some stories to keep you on the edge of your chair -- new installments in the Echo Falls and Ghost in the Machine series as well as a funny take on detective work in Australia with a sleuth named Theophilus Brain. Find them here on BookBag -- use the World Catalog search box to find copies at your local library, or buy a copy by typing the title or author in the Amazon search box. Into the Dark: An Echo Falls Mystery, by Peter Abrahams (Laura Geringer Books) Mystery. After 13-year-old sleuth Ingrid Levin-Hill finds the corpse of an environmental agent on her grandfather's property, stubborn, crusty Grampy becomes the prime suspect in the murder investigation that follows. Grampy won't divulge his alibi, but Ingrid knows that he's innocent -- and in the course of proving it, she digs up some shocking secrets from the past. This third book in the Echo Falls series balances its suspenseful, dangerous mystery with family drama, a hint of romance, and (as in previous volumes) fun details about Ingrid's involvement in a community theater production. The Unknowns: A Mystery, by Benedict Carey (Amulet Books) Mystery. Misfit middle-schoolers Di and Tom realize that something sinister is afoot when their elderly neighbor and math tutor, Mrs. Clarke, disappears from her home in the Folsom Adjacent trailer park. Following the clues that Mrs. Clarke left behind--all of them encoded in mathematical puzzles--leads the intrepid pair to the nearby nuclear power plant, where a dark conspiracy is unfolding. One stark, gritty setting + a bunch of quirky and compelling characters * multitudes of mind-bending math problems = The Unknowns, a sure solution for number-nuts and puzzle-crazy mystery fans. Skeleton Creek, by Patrick Carman; illustrated by Joshua Pease (Scholastic Press) Mystery. Ryan McCray is trapped at home, recuperating from an accident that happened while he and his best friend, Sarah Fincher, were investigating strange occurrences in their town of Skeleton Creek. His parents have forbidden him from seeing Sarah, but the friends stay in touch via the Internet--and Sarah continues the investigation, sending Ryan video updates (which readers can view online) of her progress and encounters with a menacing, ghostly presence. Told in Ryan's journal entries, emails between the two sleuths, and Sarah's breathless videos, this tense multi-platform mystery ends on a cliffhanger -- you might want to check out the second book, Ghost in the Machine, at the same time! The Brain Finds a Leg, by Martin Chatterton (Peachtree) Humorous Mystery. As the local wildlife of Farrago Bay, Australia runs amok -- with kangaroos robbing grocery stores and koalas developing homicidal tendencies--a corpse turns up, missing a leg. Young Sheldon McGlone, determined to figure out what's behind it all, joins forces with new kid and Sherlock Holmes devotee Theophilus Brain (a.k.a. "The Brain") to solve the mystery. The Brain Finds a Leg is a wacky, over-the-top romp that fans of "industrial-strength zaniness" (Kirkus Reviews), such as that of M.T. Anderson's Thrilling Tales series, will gleefully devour. Hungry for more from The Brain and his Watson? Check out the physics-themed sequel, The Brain Full of Holes. The White Gates, by Bonnie Ramthun (Random House) Mystery/Adventure. Torin ("Tor") Sinclair has just moved to the resort town of Snow Park, Colorado with his mom, who is the new doctor in town. He hasn't even unpacked when his mom wakes him in the middle of a bitterly cold night; there's been an accident, and Dr. Sinclair wants Tor to go to the emergency room with her. Tor notices that the locals seem hostile toward his mom, and eventually he learns of the curse that a Ute woman supposedly put on Snow Park's doctors many years before. But after his mom's patient unexpectedly dies, Tor is determined to figure out what's really going on. The White Gates is a fast-paced read packed with action, drama, and snowboarding thrills. Cat Burglar Black, by Richard Sala (First Second) Graphic Novel. Katherine, an orphan who's been trained since childhood to be a thief, believes that she's escaping her life of crime when she enrolls at the isolated Bellsong Academy for Girls. But after arriving at the spooky mansion that houses the school and meeting her criminally talented classmates, Katherine realizes that she's only getting in deeper. Bellsong, as it turns out, is really a school for cat-burglars. The illustrations in this gorgeously drawn graphic novel lend a retro flair and loads of creepy, menacing atmosphere to its otherwise light-hearted, fast-paced, and surprising

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