Mystery comes in many forms in this top 10: wartime spies, treasure hunting, kidnapping, robbery. There’s a wide range of choices for a wide range of mystery lovers here. These titles were selected from books reviewed in Booklist between May 1, 2012, and April 15, 2013.
Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
In this gut-wrenching mystery, Julie describes her life as a double-agent during WWII, all the while strapped to a chair after the latest round of Gestapo torture.
Code of Silence: Living a Lie Comes with a Price by Tim Shoemaker
This crackerjack thriller has a breakneck beginning: a robbery and brutal beating. But 13-year-old Cooper and his pals can’t go to the police because they might be part of the problem. Realistically portrayed characters populate a gritty novel.
The Curse of the Pharaoh by Steven Stevenson
Twelve-year-old Londoner Agatha Mistery surrounds herself with a cast of sleuths who solve well-plotted mysteries like this one, which involves a missing Egyptian artifact.
Four Secrets by Margaret Willey
Three junior-high friends are locked up after being found guilty of kidnapping the class bully. The mystery twists like kudzu, creeping ever closer to truths that need to be disclosed.
Game by Barry Lyga
Jazz Dent, teen son of a serial killers, is called upon by the NYPD to get inside the head of another killer on the loose. A serious (and bloody) novel.
Hold Fast by Blue Balliet
When 11-year-old Early’s father disappears and her family becomes homeless, it’s up to her to figure out what happened and why.
Island of Thieves by Josh Lacy
A search for hidden treasure leads to plenty of adventure as Tom and his not-quite-upstanding uncle find themselves kidnapped in Peru almost as soon as they step off the plane.
Madhattan Mystery by John J. Bonk
Lexie thinks she and her brother are just going to New York to visit her aunt. Then she overhears details of a jewel heist and so begins a Big Apple adventure. Good plot: good characters.
The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
The Raven Boys, friends at the Aglionby Academy, get involved with a mystery: find the body of the sleeping king of Wales. But they’re not the only ones on the hunt. A marvelously tangled tale.
Three Times Lucky by Sheila Turnage
Mysteries abound in this book set in a small North Carolina town and narrated by sixth-grader Mo, who wants to know who rescued her from the creek when she was a newborn and who has murdered one of the town’s most unlikable residents.
Per Ilene Cooper of Booklist 5/1/13