Truly Devious (Katherine Tegen Books, 2018) by Maureen Johnson is a fun mystery covering two time periods–an unsolved crime from the 1930’s and present day mysteries. Both are set at the Ellingham Academy, a private school in Vermont.
Student Stevie Bell knows everything there is to know about the cold case of kidnappings and murder. And now she gets to examine the premises firsthand. Unfortunately, Truly Devious, has returned. Will he kill again?
The novel switches back and forth between the past and present providing fascinating tidbits of detail. It’s a compelling read and is the first book in trilogy. I’m midway through the second book–The Vanishing Stair–but unfortunately will have to wait till January for the third–The Hand on the Wall.
Maureen Johnson is a best-selling YA author. Check out all her books here. and read about the author here.
Nowhere Boy (Roaring Brook Press, 2018) by Katherine Marsh is a fascinating tale of two boys whose lives intersect in Brussels, Belgium. Ahmed is fourteen and from Syria, and all alone. Max is thirteen and from America. From different cultures and struggling with both sides of the refugee question, the boys form a bond of friendship.
Don’t pass this book up. It’s a 2019 Bank Street Best Children’s Book and a 2019 American Library Association Notable. See other praise here.
Read about author Katherine Marsh here. Katherine is not afraid to venture into difficult subjects in her books. I recommended one here. I need to read her other middle grade books, too.
The Kingdom (Henry Holt, 2019) by Jess Rothenberg is a freaky good YA novel. The story is told in an interesting way with a mixture of events in the present, such as post trial interviews, and those in the past with what happened from the main character’s viewpoint. It will keep you guessing and on edge.
Ana is a Fantasist at a theme park where everyone’s fantasy can come true. Bioengineered species–formerly extinct–exist along with the beautiful Fantasist sisters. But then Ana, and others, experience things beyond their programming. When a maintenance worker goes missing, Ana is put on trial for murder. Did she really kill someone?
This is Jess Rothenberg’s second book. Read about the author here. And check out the foreign additions of The Kingdom here.
One Week of You (Goldenjay Books, 2019) is author Lisa Williams Kline’s ninth book and is so ninth grade. I really enjoyed it.
15-year-old Lizzy Winston has sworn off boys because she wants to be a doctor. But then she gets AMSD–Andy Masters Smiling Disease. He’s the first boy to ever ask for her number and he makes her laugh. But with her forgetfulness, flour babies, real babies, and pranks at school, Lizzy’s newfound relationship is headed for trouble.
Read about the author here and check out her other books here.
Sorcery of Thorns (Simon & Schuster, 2019) by Margaret Rogerson is a fascinating read.
16-year-old Elisabeth Scrivener, a foundling raised in one of the Great Libraries and now an apprentice librarian, wants to be trained as a warden to protect the kingdom from the magical grimoires. But when she’s implicated in the death of the Director, it’s the sorcerer Nathaniel Thorn who takes her away from the library. And she knows that all sorcerers are evil. What’s to come of her?
I enjoyed reading Margaret’s bio too. Sorcery of Thorns is her second book. The first is titled: An Enchantment of Ravens. I’ll have to check it out as well.