The more I read, the more jaded I become. It takes a lot for me to finish a book these days. For instance, Young Adult literature has spoiled me for reading adult books. If it takes too long to get to the point or gets bogged down in too much detail and not enough plot, I won't read it. My litmus test for most books is the first line, first paragraph, first page and, if they're lucky, the first ten pages. At most I'll suffer through half a book before I quit. You wouldn't think it, but this librarian has become a reluctant reader! Jaded and easily bored by blah books, I have certain genres that I rarely read of my own free will--and this used to include mysteries.
I say "used to" because I have been discussing mysteries with the great leader of FPLD's adult book discussion club "Coffee Cake & Crime," Mary K., and my perspective on mystery has shifted. I used to think, "Who wants to read a boring ol' mystery when they could be reading an epic fantasy by Cinda Chima or a dystopia like Hunger Games or a romance from Sarah Dessen?" How can you compare the scope and impact of The Hunger Games to a single murder mystery story? Plus, for me, mysteries used to have too little character development and too much flopping around trying to figure out a pointless riddle--but Mary K. and the books below are slowly turning me into a mystery, thriller, and suspense addict! A good mystery or thriller is an explosion of real life: a microcosm of the human will gone awry. A good mystery slowly unravels before you as you read and sucks you right in; before you know it, you've whipped through the book to the end just to see what happens. Now, that's good reading. Just find the right gripping story to get you through.
These are my most favoritest mystery-ish books out there these days, but you can check out the full list of "Mysteries, Thrillers, & Suspense, Oh My!" for more titles.
Rosebush by M. Jaffe* 4.5/5 stars
The morning after an epic Memorial Day party on the Jersey shore, Jane Freeman wakes up paralyzed, lying in a rosebush after a hit-and-run. Everyone believes it was an accident, but as friends come to visit in the hospital Jane's memories begin to surface, not just from the party but from deeper in her past, including the night her best friend Bonnie died.
Ms. Sarah's Review: This book has a great premise and it was fascinating to watch all the intricacies of this story unfold. Unexpected twist after twist and layers upon layers of deceit. Awesomeness!
The Adventures and Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes by A.C. Doyle* 5/5 stars
The most famous detective of them all: Sherlock Holmes. He's an original hero, turned into countless television shows (including the AWESOME Sherlock on BBC) and movies. This is the original beginnings of Sherlock, the original stories by Mr. Doyle.
From his rooms in Baker Street, Sherlock Holmes's brooding figure emerges into the foggy streets of Victorian London to grapple with the forces of treachery, intrigue, and evil.
Ms. Sarah's Review: Truly epic, truly awesome. Unbeatable! Talk about character development; how could you not fall in fasincation with Sherlock? Plus once you've read the stories and know Sherlock lore, you'll appreciate all the Sherlock tv shows and movies even more.
Revolver by M. Sedgwick 4.5/5 stars
Finland, 1910: Fifteen-year-old Sig is shocked to see a hole in the frozen lake outside his family's cabin and to find his father's corpse nearby. Why did Einar steer his dog sled across the lake instead of taking the safer land route? Sig's sister and stepmother go for help, leaving Sig alone with Einar's body in the cabin. Soon after, an armed stranger barges in, demanding a share of Einar's stolen gold.
Ms. Sarah's Review: Couldn't put it down right from the start and was on the edge of my seat as soon as the guy with the gun comes in. Phenomenal.
The Book of Blood and Shadow by R. Wasserman 4/5 stars
While working on a project translating letters from sixteenth-century Prague, high school senior Nora Kane discovers her best friend murdered with her boyfriend the apparent killer and is caught up in a dangerous web ofsecret societies and shadowy conspirators, all searching for a mysterious ancient device purported to allow direct communication with God.
Ms. Sarah's Review: An excellent mystery... filled with ciphers and things in Latin that I love (because Latin is the most awesome language in the world). Dan Brown meets YA lit.
I Am the Messenger by M. Zusak 5/5 stars
After capturing a bank robber, nineteen-year-old cab driver Ed Kennedy begins receiving mysterious messages that direct him to addresses where people need help, and he begins getting over his lifelong feeling of worthlessness.
Ms. Sarah's Review: I loved this book. The last line is one I'll never forget. Thought-provoking and rich to read. Zusak is one of my new favorite YA authors. His style reminds me of John Green--one of my other favorites. They're kind of in a class above the rest.
Mysteries/thrillers I can't wait to read? The Butterfly Clues by Kate Ellison (on Read for a Lifetime list and never on shelf!), Jasper Jones by C. Silvey (Printz Award honor book), and The Silence of Murder by D. Mackall, and Mister Death's Blue-Eyed Girls by Mary Downing Hahn.
Ms. Sarah's Stars
5 stars = Awesome sauce! Must read! Highly recommended.
4 stars = Excellent read, recommended.
3 stars = Okay, but not bad. Tolerable.
2 stars = Ick. Not the brightest bulb on the block.
1 star = Gag. Avoid at all costs.
Happy reading! --Ms. Sarah, Wizard of Ya, reluctant reader & mystery monger.