First, here’s the official blurb:
Love. Betrayal. Murder.
Valentina is living a charmed, glittering life in Miami—falling in love for the first time, showered with gifts and affection by her father, surrounded by friends—when one shocking moment shatters everything she thought she knew about herself, her boyfriend, and her world. With no one left to trust, Valentina sheds her identity and flees to Montreal, where she finds work posing for a series of portraits by a pompous young artist. Valentina has always been at home in the art world, but she’s never felt quite so alone.
Valentina’s carefully constructed new life comes crashing down when someone from her past resurfaces, putting her safety in question and her heart on the line. With betrayal at every turn, Valentina must untangle the deceptions of those she once loved and race to find her own truth—before it’s too late.
This book shocked and amazed me in so many ways, the most important of which is that IT ACTUALLY SURPRISED ME. I kept thinking I knew how it would end, or guessing Martinez would put one plot twist too many in there, but nope. She didn’t. It ends perfectly, with a protagonist who is strong and kicks butt, and left me a highly satisfied reader.
Kudos to Martinez on a true, gritty but not gross, hot but not crude or pornish, suspense thriller that literally had me guessing all the way through. This is one YA thriller that I would actually love to see in the hands of my students!
Find Kiss Kill Vanish here on Amazon or at your favorite book store!
Jane Casey’s How to Fall is a great story all around – I loved the characters, the setting, and the eerie mystery surrounding Freya’s death. Jess makes an intriguing protagonist and amateur detective which made the story even more likable. While this novel felt complete and satisfying, it also left room for sequels, which I’m very much looking forward to! If you’re looking for something to usher in the fall season and compliment the Halloween candy already showing up in stores, this is definitely it! Find How to Fall: A Novel (Jess Tennant Mysteries) here on Amazon or grab it at your favorite local bookstore.
I’m a sucker for a good YA novel with a pretty cover, but a book with a pretty cover (even gold foil on the paperback! too gorgeous) AND Robert Frost poetry woven in? I’m so there. Golden by Jessi Kirby is a really beautifully written story full of romance, mystery, and adventure. The story is compelling and the characters are realistically flawed with plenty of redeeming value. Parker, the main character, is a protagonist that I rooted for all the way through, and I couldn’t have been more pleased with the way her story turned out. You’ll love this one! Click here to find Golden on Amazon!
I read Stolen, also by Lucy Christopher, a few years ago and loved how it unnerved me. When I requested The Killing Woods on NetGalley, I wasn’t even paying attention to the author’s name and making that connection to Stolen, but I sure made that connection quick when I started reading. Christopher has an uncanny ability to make her reader doubt what we assume to be true. It makes for a wild, psychologically thrilling ride.
In The Killing Woods, we follow Emily and Damon as they try to get to the bottom of who killed Ashlee, Damon’s girlfriend. Emily’s PTSD military father is arrested for the crime, but did he really do it? No one seems to know or be able to remember, and it’s a pretty crazy ride as we go back and forth between Emily and Damon’s POV until the mystery is solved.
I’m recommending this for upper high school and beyond… there’s a ton of drinking/drug use and generally irresponsible behavior, but it’s not portrayed in a positive light at all. In fact, Emily is pretty much the only character who’s actually acting like she has any kind of common sense throughout most of the book. If you can put that stuff aside, though, this is a really well done YA mystery/thriller. It had me on the edge of my seat and a little afraid of the dark while I was reading!
You can find The Killing Woods here on Amazon or at your favorite bookseller.
If you’re looking for a suspenseful, creepy mystery with a good dose of romance, then Gravediggers is for you. This story was told from Billy’s point of view, a seventeen year old boy whose father was killed several years previously in a hit and run accident. Billy never really believe it was an accident, though, and has almost given up hope that his father’s killer will ever be found.
Until he finds an old ammo box while digging a grave in the church’s graveyard.
Billy and his friends set off to solve the mystery of his father’s death, and of the other strange things going on in their small Southern town, and the result is a good creeper of a story reminiscent of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil for teens.
Find it on Amazon here!