The Cardinal Chronicle

Books That Need More Buzz: October/November

Mia Burkholder

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Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson

Genre: Mystery

Rating: 4 stars

Ellingham Academy is most well-known for three things: being home to a few of the most intelligent young people alive; its wacky founder, Albert Ellingham; and the infamous unsolved murder and kidnappings that occurred there almost a century ago. A young girl dead with a Sherlock Holmes book in her hand, Albert Ellingham’s wife and daughter missing after a drive, a maid with patches of her memory missing, a chilling phone call, and a taunting riddle signed “Truly, Devious” puzzled the authorities. However,  one student believes she can solve the case.

When Stevie is accepted into Ellingham Academy, she isn’t sure what to think. Yes, she applied, but the thought of getting in never crossed her mind. Ellingham Academy is a school for teenage prodigies – these are people who have published bestselling books, can speak nearly every language, or can play nearly every instrument that has existed. Stevie isn’t a math whiz or a science genius- she’s a true-crime aficionado with a plan; she’s going to solve the Ellingham kidnappings. What she doesn’t know, however, is that once she arrives, Truly Devious will strike again.

Written in a style that combines the whimsy and wonder of The Candymakers with the classic, chilling writing of The Westing Game, Maureen Johnson has written an absolute hit. Make sure to read this one before its sequel, The Vanishing Stair, is released in early 2019!

If you like The Westing Game, The Candymakers, I’d Tell You I’d Love You, But Then I’d Have to Kill You, boarding school fiction, and classic mysteries, you will love this book.

 

Next Year in Havana by Chanel Cleeton

Genre: Romance, Historical Fiction, Social Justice

Rating: 5 stars

The world of Elisa Perez in 1958 is simple: galas, shopping, her sisters, and her servants – until the revolution begins. Elisa, a high society teenager, has her eyes opened to the horrors of their government and the uprising when she meets Pablo, a revolutionary who believes Castro can change the world. With her parents on the verge of finding out about her secret romance and the political climate more dangerous than ever, Elisa must decide if Pablo is worth it in the end.

When Elisa passes away in modern times, her granddaughter, Marisol, decides to take the trip the two of them always wanted to take but were never able to during Castro’s rule. So she packs her bags and jets off to Cuba. At first, she feels closer to her grandmother than ever- but then she finds the box, the only thing so important that it needed to be left in Cuba. When Marisol opens it, it changes everything she knew about her grandmother- and herself.

Next Year in Havana encaptures young love in a time when the clock is ticking. The alternating perspectives from Elisa in 1958 to Marisol in modern times show how much (and how little) has changed in our society, and how some fight political battles silently, while others rise up. Make sure to check it out before its sequel, When We Left Cuba, is released in mid-2019.

If you like Jane the Virgin, historical-fiction romances, and social justice books, you will love Next Year in Havana.

 

To Catch a Killer by Sheryl Scarborough

Genre: Mystery/ Thriller, Teen Drama

Rating: 4 stars

Erin is famous. However, not in the way most people want to be famous -through talent or skill. Erin is famous because her mother was murdered, and Erin survived for three days beside her. The case was never solved, and no one ever seemed to forget.

With her mother’s best friend dodging questions and Erin looking to her past, she decides to do a little investigating with her biology teacher’s help.

This close examining turns into a complete investigation; however, once she finds her biology teacher dead, she is the number one suspect. In an effort to clear her name and find out about her past, she recruits fellow student and suspect, Journey, to help crack the case. They quickly realize that the murders of Erin’s mother and their teacher are hauntingly connected – and their next kill might be Erin.

The style of Nancy Drew mixed with the teenage experience makes a great novel that you won’t be able to put down. Once you finish it, you can also read the brand-new sequel, To Right the Wrongs.

If you like Nancy Drew, Riverdale, and teen drama, you will love this book.

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Books That Need More Buzz: October/November