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Mysterious ways

Full of thrills, chills, secrets, and lies, these new high-stakes mysteries for middle- and high-school readers will get hearts racing.

latham_scarlett undercoverTeen detective Scarlett is wary when nine-year-old Gemma appears at her office and tells her that she thinks her brother murdered someone. Scarlett accepts the case, and she’s soon launched into a dangerous mystery that doesn’t just involve the girl’s brother but also a shadowy group determined to find a mystical relic of the Muslim faith. One part Veronica Mars and one part Da Vinci Code, Jennifer Latham’s Scarlett Undercover includes all the familiar trappings that mystery and adventure fans love, dressed up with fresh, diverse characters and settings. (Little, Brown, 12–15 years)

schreiber_con academyNew England’s elite Connaughton Academy, the setting for Joe Schreiber’s Con Academy, attracts interesting students. Will Shea is on scholarship from the tiny Pacific island of Ebeye. Andrea Dufresne is a “poor scholarship student from a displaced village in the Balkans.” The problem is none of that is true. They both faked identities, and now, wary of detection, they develop a high-stakes contest: whoever cons a classmate into handing over ten thousand dollars gets to stay at Connaughton. Schreiber’s plot is pure fun, deliciously convoluted and full of surprises. (Houghton, 12–15 years)

giles_endangeredIn Endangered by Lamar Giles, Lauren, nicknamed Panda by her classmates (both because she loves pandas and because she’s biracial), leads a double life as a vigilante photographer exposing her cruelest classmates’ dirty secrets via an anonymous blog. After Lauren photographs mean-girl Keachin in a compromising position, a mysterious “Admirer” goads her with a series of photographic dares until it becomes clear the two plots are linked. The escalating game of cat-and-mouse unfolds with unremitting tension in this psychological thriller with a full-throttle plot. (HarperTeen, 12–15 years)

cosimano_nearly foundWith the killer from Nearly Gone behind bars, Nearly Boswell focuses on her future: specifically, on her relationship with Reece and on a coveted internship at a crime lab. But then a string of mysteries piles up. Nearly knows none of it is coincidence, and she suspects that her father’s old poker club is somehow involved. Elle Cosimano’s Nearly Found packs the same degree of chills as its predecessor, and the forensic-science angle, more grisly murders, and quick-thinking Nearly herself give her fans plenty of reasons to keep turning pages until the should-have-seen-it-coming end. (Penguin/Dawson, 14 years and up)

From the July 2015 issue of Notes from the Horn Book.

Katrina Hedeen About Katrina Hedeen

Katrina Hedeen is managing editor of The Horn Book Guide.

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