A generous dollop of homage to the grande dame of mystery plus buckets of clues and conundrums to savor.

THE AGATHAS

Two high schoolers team up to investigate a classmate’s death and discover that their small California town is positively aboil with secrets.

Seething at the oddly lackadaisical response of local police to the disappearance of her former BFF on Halloween, 17-year-old Agatha Christie fan Alice Ogilvie enlists Iris Adams, her peer tutor, to launch an inquiry that not only bears immediate fruit in the form of a battered corpse at the base of nearby seaside cliffs, but leads to a veritable flood of obvious but conflicting clues and revelations that point to, and away from, foul play. Which was it? As the two gather and struggle to make sense of their evidence in traded-off chapters (with help from a squad of enthusiastic would-be fellow sleuths and a savvy public defender with flexible ethics), readers quickly twig to the fact that they themselves are nursing secrets. Along with frequent references to Christie’s books and tumultuous personal history, the co-authors stir in classic mystery tropes and complications aplenty. Though evidently all White, the students at Castle Cove High are split between fabulously wealthy A-listers and working-class kids; as events speed along to a surprise denouement (albeit not in a drawing room) with a violent but decisive resolution, class tensions play out, sometimes viciously, between the protagonists as they warily circle one another on the way to a firm bond.

A generous dollop of homage to the grande dame of mystery plus buckets of clues and conundrums to savor. (map, abuse resource list) (Mystery. 13-18)

Pub Date: May 3, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-43111-5

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2022

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A crackerjack thriller done in by its own dopey protagonist.

LOCK THE DOORS

A blended family seeks a fresh start in a new home.

Tom’s mother believes that the family may have finally found happiness. After years of dating losers, she’s finally settled down with a nice guy—and that nice guy, Jay, happens to have a daughter, Nia, who is just a little older than Tom. The new family has moved into a nice new house, but Tom can’t shake the feeling that something’s wrong. They discover a strange message written on the wall when they are stripping the old wallpaper, and there’s clear evidence that the previous owners had installed locks on the exteriors of the bedroom doors. Those previous owners happen to live a little farther down the street, and Tom quickly becomes obsessed with their teenage daughter, Amy, and the secrets she’s hiding. This obsession unfortunately becomes a repetitive slog involving many pages of Tom’s brooding and sulking over the same bits of information while everyone tells him to move on. Readers will be on everyone’s side. But then, a blessed breath of fresh air: The perspective shifts to Amy, and readers learn in spectacularly propulsive fashion exactly what she’s hiding. Regret and intrigue blend perfectly as Amy divulges her secrets. Alas, we return to navel-gazing Tom for the book’s final pages, and everything ends with a shrug. Main characters default to White.

A crackerjack thriller done in by its own dopey protagonist. (Thriller. 14-18)

Pub Date: March 1, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-72823-189-1

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Review Posted Online: Dec. 15, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2022

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Cracking page-turner with a multiethnic band of misfits with differing sexual orientations who satisfyingly, believably jell...

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SIX OF CROWS

Adolescent criminals seek the haul of a lifetime in a fantasyland at the beginning of its industrial age.

The dangerous city of Ketterdam is governed by the Merchant Council, but in reality, large sectors of the city are given over to gangs who run the gambling dens and brothels. The underworld's rising star is 17-year-old Kaz Brekker, known as Dirtyhands for his brutal amorality. Kaz walks with chronic pain from an old injury, but that doesn't stop him from utterly destroying any rivals. When a councilman offers him an unimaginable reward to rescue a kidnapped foreign chemist—30 million kruge!—Kaz knows just the team he needs to assemble. There's Inej, an itinerant acrobat captured by slavers and sold to a brothel, now a spy for Kaz; the Grisha Nina, with the magical ability to calm and heal; Matthias the zealot, hunter of Grishas and caught in a hopeless spiral of love and vengeance with Nina; Wylan, the privileged boy with an engineer's skills; and Jesper, a sharpshooter who keeps flirting with Wylan. Bardugo broadens the universe she created in the Grisha Trilogy, sending her protagonists around countries that resemble post-Renaissance northern Europe, where technology develops in concert with the magic that's both coveted and despised. It’s a highly successful venture, leaving enough open questions to cause readers to eagerly await Volume 2.

Cracking page-turner with a multiethnic band of misfits with differing sexual orientations who satisfyingly, believably jell into a family . (Fantasy. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Sept. 29, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-62779-212-7

Page Count: 480

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: June 29, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2015

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