After being kept away from technology for 10 years, Hedda finds herself suddenly having to confront the devices of the modern world when her mother must travel to Australia. The only choice Hedda has is to go live with her father, his new wife and her half-brother. Almost immediately she encounters a bizarre situation in which a young girl supposedly commits suicide. Something seems off about the death. and Hedda tries to figure out what really happened. Other inexplicable violent deaths occur, and they seem to have some connection to an online- game. If the player dies thirteen times on level thirteen, they die in real life. Oddly enough the game is tied to Hedda. Her discovery of the truth ultimately tears her life apart. This is a thought-provoking novel. Can computer programs actually infiltrate the mind of the users and cause actions that they would not otherwise take? That is one of the questions the reader must confront. I found the story interesting, but I did have a big question about one scene. The story line moves through Hedda’s eyes – for the most part. There are some scenes which show action from another person’s viewpoint. These situations are indicated by a different font in the book. One situation which involved Hedda and her viewpoint I found implausible. Hedda goes to her father’s office and meets Kai, the receptionist. In this scene and only in this scene, Hedda refers to Kai as “they” not “she” or “he.” This is a very new transgender usage of pronouns. If Hedda had been socially isolated for ten years, she would NOT have had any knowledge of that particular pronoun usage. It appears to be a gratuituous reference to transgendered people. It does not fit into the story in any way. I found that disturbing. Also, when Hedda goes to live with her father she and her mother leave their farm. I could not find any reference to a caretaker or another farmer who helped them. When Hedda and her mother return to the farm, the animals and chickens are there, but the question remains: Who took care of them? If you can overlook these little problems, you might want to add it to your collection of modern fiction.
Mailee and Cars are two high school best friends who always look out for each other. They both have issues that cause them to rely on each other. Cara, the logical organized one, gets drawn into a survival cult that is living in the mountains near their town. Mailee is not pleased with the was Cara is getting involved with the cult, but she is unsure about how to help her.
Cara invites Mailee to visit the commune, and Mailee becomes even more uneasy when she meets the leader of the group. Mailee stumbles on something outside the camp that terrifies her. She knows she has to get Cara away from the group, but her effort to do so may get her killed.
The price that one must pay for true friendship[ is the theme of the book. The characters are very well developed, and the plot is tightly constructed. There is some sex alluded to but nothing graphic. I highly recommend its purchase for the high school reader.
Any reader of this book will never look at small-town America and its foster care systems the same way again. In the beginning of the book, Grace plots out how she can kill her sexually abusive brothers and get away from her family. She finally decides to grab all the money in the house that she can find and leave.
She ends up in a small town in Montana when her money runs out, and she is forced to ask for help from an agency. She is sent to live with a dysfunctional foster family. The father deals in drugs. The mother spends most of her time in an alcoholic stupor, the son, Jon, obviously has behavioral issues. The only nearly normal one is another girl, J.J. who is actually a niece of the woman.
Grace meets Mike, a young man who is on the run with his petty thief father, but she doesn’t find that out right away. Mike wants nothing more than to settle down and live a normal life. Grace has no idea of what normal looks like, but she is fairly content with the way things are going for her. That is, until the kids find a dead body in the river.
The kids don’t think they can tell anyone about the body without getting themselves in trouble, but Mike calls 911 anonymously so the body can be found and identified. An innocent comment by J.J. and a big mouth comment by Jon turns their world upside down and forces them to run away.
Finding truth and safety were not easy. Running seems to be the only answer. How these teens solve their problems and solve a murder will keep the reader enthralled to the end.
I recommend it for the teen-age reader.
Just when Peggy Fitzroy thinks that things might be going her way, what with her father turning up and her ex-fiancé finally out of the picture, a new problem arises in the form of a mysterious woman. This woman seems to be known by her uncle’s mother, and Peggy believes that she could definitely be dangerous.
The Jacobites are coming ever closer to causing a rebellion that would remove George II and his family. Peggy has pledged her loyalty to the royal family, but events occur which make them doubt her allegiance. She begins to mistrust Mr. Tinderflint, the man who got her the position as a spy in the court. Who is really trustworthy, and who is lying about everything, is the point of this novel of the Palace of Spies series.
I recommend its purchase for those who already have the first two books, but this story can stand alone if the others are not available.
Peggy Fitzroy continues her spy game for the court of King George II as a lady-in-waiting. She finds that the man who was betrothed to her, and who tried to rape her, has returned. She tries to find out who are the real dangers to the royal family and to herself. Her uncle is still trying to run her life – even though he had kicked her out of his home and a strange man, named Johnny Leroy becomes an unexpected part of her life. This second novel of The Palace of Spies is a stand alone, but it will make the reader want to go back and read The Palace of Spies, the first book of the series.
I think teens who are interested in strong female characters, and who like spy stories will enjoy this series.
Cutters are not always inflicting harm on themselves. Some cutters are sadists who inflict injuries on others.
Charlotte, the seventeen-year-old girl in this novel is trying to wipe out all history of her past by hiring a young man with a knack for forgery to help her. She sees a young girl with an older man in the park one day, and she knows from the girl’s behavior that the girl is being abused. Charlotte tries to put it out of her mind, but she cannot. Helping the girl, however, opens up doors to her past that she thought she had shut very firmly. She begins to get threatening messages to Piper – her original name, and she knows she must do something to stop them.
The cover will NOT attract teen readers, but it is a DARK story – hence the dark cover. The window latch on the cover of the book is an important part of the tale. It is a story of survival, and of caring about others. I think it would make a great movie.
This story almost becomes a horror story. It is, however, a mystery/love story for the high school or college age reader. It definitely will keep those readers on the edge of their seats. I recommend it.
Miranda has given us a new take on reincarnation. What if, instead of being reincarnated to be able to better one’s soul, everyone were reincarnated with the same soul they had before – evil traits and all. Alina has spent her life on a secluded island – not for what she had done in her present life, but for what she did in a past life. She is being secluded to protect others from her. In her previous life she committed a serious crime and caused the death of a young man. They know it was her because they were able to test her soul’s print through a lumbar puncture done 12 hours after she was born. It matched the criminal’s print , and so Alina was separated from society for society’s sake. Only, she has people who want her to be free, and they help her escape; but, can she trust those people?
I don’t believe in reincarnation, and I don’t think this book will influence young people to begin believing in it. If anything, it probably will have the opposite effect. So, Christian parents, rest easy in allowing your young ones to read this story. I am saying it is science fiction because of the “science” in it. It is also an exciting mystery/adventure tale. It is sure to please readers in grade 10 and up. And, it would make a good movie.
I like ghost stories if they are somewhat believable. Ghosts who can kill or otherwise hurt people are just plain ridiculous to me. This one is a great read. All the way through it I kept thinking, “Maybe Olivia is really just hallucinating and imagining things.” This tension of reality and impossibility makes for a great tale.
Ellison has given us this enjoyable story: How can Olivia, a girl whose mother is in jail for killing a boy, even begin to believe that her mother didn’t do it since the police found her with the body and covered in his blood? Maybe Stern, the ghost of the boy who was killed, will be able to make her see that her mother is innocent. But, since her mother already had mental problems, that may be a little unlikely, especially since Olivia thinks she is now losing her mind. Seeing a ghost is not Olivia’s only problem. She had just begun art school when the murder happened, and she returned home – not just to comfort her father and be comforted by him, but also because she could no longer see colors. The inability to see colors is not something an artist can handle very well. If she tells anyone about this, she is convinced they will think she is also losing her mind. Once Stern convinces her that her mother is really innocent, she must prove that to the police and keep her visual problem a secret– not an easy task.
I recommend this for any middle school or high school student. Readers of mysteries will enjoy it, and readers of the paranormal will also relish the tale. Parents need not worry about sex, drugs or bad behavior.
It is not often that I get to change my opinion about the works of an author, but I was pleasantly surprised when I read this book. The author had also written Marie Antoinette, Serial Killer, which I had also reviewed, but this book doesn’t have any of the issues that I had found in that book – no teenage drinking or sex. It is an excellently written, squeaky clean, ghost/murder mystery for middle school and high school readers.
Willa is not happy about moving to Los Angeles with her mother and new stepfather. But after her father’s death, she is determined to try to help her mother be happy again. Little does she know that she will be quickly involved in a murder mystery, be visited by a ghost, and be in danger of being killed.
Willa sets off an unexpected chain of events when she tries to contact the spirit of her father because she wants to tell him she was sorry she killed him. When she begins to see the ghost, she doesn’t know if she should tell anyone about it; and, who could she tell: her mother, who is trying to be the perfect wife to her new husband? The new step-father, Jonathon, who is caught up in his work? Reed, his good-looking assistant, who seems to like her? Marnie, her new best friend, who may not be very trustworthy? Or, Wyatt, the overachieving boy, who is obsessed with a serial killer? Her life depends on the choice she makes.
If you want a hang-on-to-your-seat mystery, this is for you. It incorporates the last lines of some very famous movies and may very well be movie material itself, even though it is written for young adult readers.
Linda L. Richards, author of the Charlie D. series, introduces a new sleuth to us in the form of Nicole Charles, a newspaper writer. Nicole was offered a job with a major newspaper as a gossip columnist.
Although Nicole accepted that job, her real desire is to become an investigative reporter. While attending the opening of a new art gallery, she stumbles upon a body in a dark alley. The body is that of the artist who was featured in the opening. The unusual thing was that he was stabbed with an antique icepick.
Nicole begins her investigation to find her efforts somewhat thwarted by her boss, who allows another, more experienced journalist to take the lead on her story. Nicole is determined to discover the identity of the killer and to prove to her boss that she is not just a writer of gossip columns.
Richards has crafted a good mystery for the reader. It builds suspense and tension right up to the end. Although the protagonist is an adult, the material contained in the book will not be objectionable to any high school library. The text is designed to appeal to any reader who may experience some difficulty in reading. I recommend this book as an addition to your mystery collection in high school and in public libraries.