If you love a good mystery, I hope that you take the time to check out the Edgar Award Nominees. These awards are made each year by the Mystery Writers of America and late last week they announced the nominees for 2022.
If you write for children or young adults, you are likely most interested in Best Juvenile and Best Young Adult. I’ll give a bit of information on each of these books below.
by Elizabeth C. Bunce (Workman Publishing – Algonquin Young Readers).
Publisher’s description: When the proprietor of Leighton’s Mercantile is found dead on the morning his annual Christmas shop display is to be unveiled, it’s clear a killer had revenge in mind. But who would want to kill the local dry-goods merchant? Perhaps someone who remembers the mysterious scandal that destroyed his career as a professor and archaeologist. When the killer strikes again, each time manipulating the figures in the display to foretell the crime, Myrtle finds herself racing to uncover the long-buried facts of a cold case—and the motivations of a modern murderer.
Sue here: This one sounded familiar and I realized that’s because it is #3 in a series. I’ve only read #1. I have some catching up to do!
by Christina Diaz Gonzalez (Scholastic – Scholastic Press)
Ivette. Joanna. And now: Katrina
Whatever her name is, it won’t last long. Katrina doesn’t know any of the details about her past, but she does know that she and her parents are part of the Witness Protection Program. Whenever her parents say they have to move on and start over, she takes on a new identity. A new name, a new hair color, a new story.
Until their location leaks and her parents disappear. Forced to embark on a dangerous rescue mission, Katrina and her new friend Parker set out to save her parents―and find out the truth about her secret past and the people that want her family dead.
Sue here: Can’t wait to get my hands on this one!
Aggie Morton Mystery Queen: The Dead Man in the Garden
by Marthe Jocelyn (Penguin Random House Canada – Tundra Books)
Publisher’s Description: Aggie Morton lives in a small town on the coast of England in 1902. Adventurous and imaginative but deeply shy, Aggie hasn’t got much to do since the death of her beloved father . . . until the fateful day when she crosses paths with twelve-year-old Belgian immigrant Hector Perot and discovers a dead body on the floor of the Mermaid Dance Room! As the number of suspects grows and the murder threatens to tear the town apart, Aggie and her new friend will need every tool at their disposal — including their insatiable curiosity, deductive skills and not a little help from their friends — to solve the case before Aggie’s beloved dance instructor is charged with a crime Aggie is sure she didn’t commit.
Sue here: Ooo, another historic series. Can’t wait to get my hands on this one too. And, oh no! I feel a historic fiction idea percolating.
Kidnap on the California Comet: Adventures on Trains #2
by M.G. Leonard & Sam Sedgman (Macmillan Children’s Publishing – Feiwel & Friends)
After his adventure on the Highland Falcon, amateur sleuth Hal Beck is excited to embark on another journey with his journalist uncle. This time, they’re set to ride the historic California Comet from Chicago to San Francisco.
Hal mostly keeps to himself on the trip, feeling homesick and out of place in America. But he soon finds himself drawn into another mystery when the young daughter of a billionaire tech entrepreneur goes missing!
Along with new friends―spunky 13-year-old Mason and his younger sister, Hadley―Hal races against the clock to find the missing girl before the California Comet reaches its final destination.
Sue here: So many great series. But not surprising since mystery fiction is also popular with adults.
by Jennifer A. Nielsen (Scholastic – Scholastic Press)
Six hundred and fifty-seven days ago, Meg Kenyon’s father left their home in France to fight for the Allies in World War II, and that was the last time Meg saw him. Recently, she heard he was being held prisoner by the Nazis, a terrible sentence from which Meg fears he’ll never return. All she has left of him are the codes he placed in a jar for her to decipher, an affectionate game the two of them shared. But the codes are running low, and soon there’ll be nothing left of Papa for Meg to hold on to at all.
Suddenly, an impossible chance to save her father falls into Meg’s lap. After following a trail of blood in the snow, Meggie finds an injured British spy hiding in her grandmother’s barn. Captain Stewart tells her that a family of German refugees must be guided across Nazi-occupied France to neutral Spain, whereupon one of them has promised to free Meg’s father. Captain Stewart was meant to take that family on their journey, but too injured to complete the task himself, he offers it to Meg, along with a final code from Papa to help complete the mission — perhaps the most important, and most difficult, riddle she’s received yet.
Sue here: An exciting stand alone.
BEST YOUNG ADULT
Ace of Spades
by Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé (Macmillan Children’s Publishing – Feiwel & Friends)
Publisher’s Description: When two Niveus Private Academy students, Devon Richards and Chiamaka Adebayo, are selected to be part of the elite school’s senior class prefects, it looks like their year is off to an amazing start. After all, not only does it look great on college applications, but it officially puts each of them in the running for valedictorian, too.
Shortly after the announcement is made, though, someone who goes by Aces begins using anonymous text messages to reveal secrets about the two of them that turn their lives upside down and threaten every aspect of their carefully planned futures.
As Aces shows no sign of stopping, what seemed like a sick prank quickly turns into a dangerous game, with all the cards stacked against them. Can Devon and Chiamaka stop Aces before things become incredibly deadly?
Sue here: I’ve seen this one in various newsletters but have yet to get my hands on it.
by Angeline Boulley (Macmillan Children’s Publishing – Henry Holt and Company BFYR)
Eighteen-year-old Daunis Fontaine has never quite fit in, both in her hometown and on the nearby Ojibwe reservation. She dreams of a fresh start at college, but when family tragedy strikes, Daunis puts her future on hold to look after her fragile mother. The only bright spot is meeting Jamie, the charming new recruit on her brother Levi’s hockey team.
Yet even as Daunis falls for Jamie, she senses the dashing hockey star is hiding something. Everything comes to light when Daunis witnesses a shocking murder, thrusting her into an FBI investigation of a lethal new drug.
Reluctantly, Daunis agrees to go undercover, drawing on her knowledge of chemistry and Ojibwe traditional medicine to track down the source. But the search for truth is more complicated than Daunis imagined, exposing secrets and old scars. At the same time, she grows concerned with an investigation that seems more focused on punishing the offenders than protecting the victims.
Now, as the deceptions―and deaths―keep growing, Daunis must learn what it means to be a strong Anishinaabe kwe (Ojibwe woman) and how far she’ll go for her community, even if it tears apart the only world she’s ever known.
Sue here: This one is being made into a Netflix series by Higher Ground, Barack and Michelle Obama’s production company! It is one of the best books that I read last year!
When You Look Like Us
by Pamela N. Harris (HarperCollins – Quill Tree Books)
When you look like us—brown skin, brown eyes, black braids or fades—everyone else thinks you’re trouble. No one even blinks twice over a missing black girl from public housing because she must’ve brought whatever happened to her upon herself. I, Jay Murphy, can admit that, for a minute, I thought my sister Nicole just got caught up with her boyfriend—a drug dealer—and his friends. But she’s been gone too long. Nic, where are you?
If I hadn’t hung up on her that night, she would be at our house, spending time with Grandma.
If I was a better brother, she’d be finishing senior year instead of being another name on a missing persons list.
It’s time to step up, to do what the Newport News police department won’t.
Bring her home.
Sue here: This sounds like a book that should be on school reading lists.
The Forest of Stolen Girls
by June Hur (Macmillan Children’s Books – Feiwel & Friends)
1426, Joseon (Korea). Hwani’s family has never been the same since she and her younger sister went missing and were later found unconscious in the forest near a gruesome crime scene.
Years later, Detective Min―Hwani’s father―learns that thirteen girls have recently disappeared from the same forest that nearly stole his daughters. He travels to their hometown on the island of Jeju to investigate… only to vanish as well.
Determined to find her father and solve the case that tore their family apart, Hwani returns home to pick up the trail. As she digs into the secrets of the small village―and collides with her now estranged sister, Maewol―Hwani comes to realize that the answer could lie within her own buried memories of what happened in the forest all those years ago.
Sue here: This is another book that I’ve seen in the literature but not in person. Time to fix that!
The Girls I’ve Been
by Tess Sharpe (Penguin Young Readers – G.P. Putnam’s Sons BFYR)
Nora O’Malley’s been a lot of girls. As the daughter of a con-artist who targets criminal men, she grew up as her mother’s protégé. But when her mom fell for the mark instead of conning him, Nora pulled the ultimate con: escape.
For five years Nora’s been playing at normal. But she needs to dust off the skills she ditched because she has three problems:
#1: Her ex walked in on her with her girlfriend. Even though they’re all friends, Wes didn’t know about her and Iris.
#2: The morning after Wes finds them kissing, they all have to meet to deposit the fundraiser money they raised at the bank. It’s a nightmare that goes from awkward to deadly, because:
#3: Right after they enter the bank, two guys start robbing it.
The bank robbers may be trouble, but Nora’s something else entirely. They have no idea who they’re really holding hostage .
Sue here: Another book that’s going on my library list!
What an amazing group of books. Happy reading!
You can find the entire listing of nominees here.