Juvenile Fiction, Mystery

Masterminds Series 1, 2 and 3 by Gordon Korman


The first book in this trilogy is a 2018 Washington State Sasquatch Award nominee. I read it as part of the Library’s Book Talks at FHES about the 2018 Sasquatch Award nominees and I loved it. The story begins in Serenity, NM where everything is perfect, or is it? Our 4 main characters are 12 and 13 years old and inquisitive about life in Serenity. Why is there only one business, a traffic cone manufacturing plant, and look, the trucks driving around the town keep carrying the same cones day and day. As the kids delve deeper into the mystery, they learn. . . .they are clones of greatest criminals of the 21st century. Serenity is a giant science experiment and they are the subjects. Book one ends with the 4 breaking out of Serenity into the real world. The second and third books in the series don’t disappoint as the kids meet the criminals and masterminds they were cloned from and keep from being caught by Serenity’s security force, dubbed the “Purple People Eaters”. Clever plot device, the kids being cloned from criminals with no parents to slow them down in their chase to expose the Osiris Project.


Young Adult

Dear Martin by Nic Stone


This is Nic Stone’s debut novel and won her a spot on the William C. Morris YA Debut Award nominee list for 2018. A powerful story which tackles race relations and a young man (Justyce) who is trying to navigate life during his senior year of high school. Justyce looks to the teachings of the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to help him find answers to the situations he is forced to confront. In his journal he writes a series of letters to MLK, trying to make sense of the world around him. An intense and tragic story of the harsh realities that sadly still occur. Recommended for fans of Jason Reynolds (!!), Walter Dean Myers and Angie Thomas (The Hate U Give).


Historical, Young Adult

The War Within These Walls by Aline Sax


Originally published in Dutch, this story was a 2014 Mildred Batchelder Award Honor Book. This story tells the horrific conditions and experiences of Jews in the Warsaw ghetto during World War II. This book is illustrated (simply, but powerful in emotion) and is written with minimal text and the combination of the two conveys the horrors of World War II. But it is the Jewish resistance, featured in this story, which sets it apart from other historical fiction in this same era. The heroic effort of the resistance should not be overlooked and this story shares the strength of the human spirit when forced to face evil.



Building a Mystery by Judith Fitzgerald


Sarah McLachlan is an intriguing musical figure: She had a number of evocative CD’s in the late 90’s, she promoted women’s music by organizing the Lilith Fair tours of lesser known women singer/songwriters — Paula Cole, Patty Griffin, Shawn Colvin, Meredith Brooks — and along the way, she became the target of serious stalker. Sounds like the perfect subject for a biography! Unfortunately, this book is more of a “Hey look, I’m writing a biography, and it really is hard when my subject won’t cooperate, but let me tell you about my road trip to visit her best friend from fourth grade” biography. This was a waste of perfectly good trees.