By April Henry
New York: Henry Holt & Company, 2016.
Genre: Mystery/Thriller Grades: 6 and up Pages: 227
Best-selling author April Henry never disappoints! Opening chapter has Olivia running for her life—knowing if she slows down and is caught, she will be killed—just like her mother. Only her mother was murdered fourteen years ago and Olivia would not have been in her current situation if she had not decided to find out what really happened that day when they all went into the woods looking for a Christmas tree to cut down. Olivia was three at the time and was with both her mother and her father but the killer dropped her off at Walmart before leaving Medford. All these years Olivia was sure it was her no good father but when she returns to Medford the entire city becomes full of suspects. Henry has written another great who-dun-it, that is a page-turner to the end! Middle school students will love this thriller!
The Goldfish Boy
By Lisa Thompson
New York: Scholastic Press, 2017.
Genre: Realistic Fiction / Mystery
Grades: 5 and up
Just what is it like to live with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder? Meet Matthew Corbin a twelve-year-old with OCD who in the beginning of the book has stopped attending school, barely communicates with his family and has completely shut out the outside world. His only connection to the outside world is his bedroom window and his computer. From my psychiatric nursing days, I learned people with OCD are often rigid, stubborn, perfectionists, preoccupied with rules, order and organization and often take no time for leisure or social activities. Lisa Thompson does a great job developing the character of Matthew. His need to have order in his world circles around his need to record habits of his neighbors; when they leave and return from work, who visits them, what lights they routinely turn on etc. To the reader this may seem like a complete waste of time but as the story develops and a toddler goes missing, Matthew might be the key to solving the kidnapping/murder of little two-year-old Teddy.
Matthew expresses his obsession of being germ free by his compulsion for cleanliness. What twelve-year-old would clean (actually disinfect) his entire room daily or sometimes more often. Read from page 14-16. That hardly seems harmful but when he washes his hands over and over and uses bleach to clean his hands become a bloody mess and it begins to incapacitate him.
The author does a fabulous job allowing you to get to know each neighbor their habits, their quirkiness and why each one is a suspect in the case of the missing toddler. She builds a great whodunit which will keep the reader guessing up to the very end!
The book is educational, compassionate and builds empathy!
Escape From Mr. Lemoncello’s Library
By Chris Grabenstein
New York: Random House, 2013.
288 Pages. Grades 5 and up
This book is a Librarian’s dream come true!
The Alexandriaville’s library has been closed for twelve years and recently a wealthy game maker, Mr. Lemoncello has joined Dr. Zinchenko, a world famous librarian to create a brand new library in an old bank building. Since kids that were twelve years old never experienced a public library, an essay contest was held for them. Twelve students were selected to spend a weekend in the library playing “library” games with fabulous prizes for anyone who can figure how to get out the library without using the way they came in or any emergency exit doors. This book reminded me of Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory but in a library. The eccentric Mr. Lemoncello has many similarities to Willy Wonka–he is colorful and zany and is the host for the weekend mystery. Join this lively group of twelve year olds as they unravel the mystery using their library skills knowledge! One more thing—when you get to the end of the book the author has a mystery for the reader to solve! This was a fun read!