Friday, March 17, 2017

To Catch a Killer by Sheryl Scarborough

Erin's mother was murdered. And Erin was there when it happened. She was just a toddler and was left in the house for days while her mother's body lay on the floor in a puddle of her own blood. But Erin survived.

Erin was raised by her mother's best friend, Rachel, who has always been overly protective. Rachel will not discuss Erin's mother or what happened. But it doesn't stop Rachel from wondering. Erin is drawn to forensics like her Uncle Victor whom she has never met. He works for the FBI and has written about his experiences in books that Erin has practically memorized.

Ultimately, Erin wants to solve her mom's murder, but she can only do so much as a student. She is fortunate to have an encouraging biology teacher, Miss Peters, who helps her dabble in forensic science. Erin was delivering some important materials to Miss P's house the night she finds her lying dead on the floor. Two dead bodies is too much for one lifetime.

That night Erin saw Journey Michaels near Miss P's house, too. Erin has been fascinated by Journey for a while, but what if he killed her favorite teacher? Her best friends Spam and Lysa have never understood Erin's attraction to Journey. They also worry about Erin's obsession with her mom's murder case.

So many questions to answer about the two murders with Erin the only obvious connection. There is much to keep the reader guessing, but it is well worth it.

For more info, check out the Indianapolis Public Library catalog and the author's site.

This Is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp

School assembly. The auditorium is full of students and teachers. The doors are chained shut. Tyler enters with a gun in his hand. For some it is the end. For others it is the beginning of a nightmare.

This story is told from four different perspectives. Claire, Tyler's former girlfriend, is excused from the assembly for track practice. She is outside with her fellow runners when the shooting the starts.

Autumn is Tyler's sister. She is in the auditorium. Since their mother died, Tyler has been acting differently, but she never foresaw this. Tyler had supported her dancing even as she hid it from their father. Dancing reminded their dad too much of their mother's tragic death.

Sylv is Autumn's friend. She is in the auditorium with Autumn. She was threatened by Tyler for getting too close to Autumn and 'corrupting' her. Sylv has avoided Tyler ever since. Is she the reason Tyler is here?

Thomas is Sylv's brother. He and his best friend, Fareed, are breaking into the principal's office during assembly. As the only unconfined people in the school, can they save anyone else? Thomas confronted Tyler and slammed him against the lockers over hurting his sister. Is Tyler looking for Thomas?

Opportunity is a small town. Everyone knows about everyone else. At least they think they do. Some saw the cracks forming after Tyler and Autumn lost their mother, but no one saw how deeply it affected Tyler. As we go minute by minute through this tragic event, we can only ask who will live and who will die and why.

For more info, check out the Indianapolis Public Library catalog and the author's site.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Cuckoo by Keren David

Jake is an actor on the incredibly popular soap opera, Market Square. In one episode, his character Riley goes up the stairs to his bedroom and never comes back down. Jake (and Riley) are left in limbo. Will his character ever return to the show? The producers keep telling him they haven't decided. Jake, now 16, has been playing Riley since he was a child. So what is he supposed to do?

Jake decides to shoot video episodes of his own life and post them on the internet to let the world know why his missing character ultimately led to the end of the show (yes, the show was pulled off the air!). Some fans just want to know what was going to happen to other characters, but Jake has a story that goes beyond his character Riley.

Jake wants to be an actor, so he keeps going to auditions. He is not just desperate to get his career on track but to financially assist his family. Three years ago, Jake's dad lost his job. His mental state has become increasingly unraveled in the months that Jake has been off the show. Jake's older brother, Adam, is severely autistic, a situation that strains everyone. Their mom works some, but the family is in a financial crisis. Eventually, Jake cannot take it anymore and leaves home.

We follow the story through the episodes with Jake's fellow actors taking the parts of his family and friends. This is not about a famous actor losing his job, but a deeper look at a family that has spiraled out of control. And it is told very well.

For more info, check out the Indianapolis Public Library catalog and the author's site.

The Boomerang Effect by Gordon Jack

Someone dressed in the school viking mascot costume is creating havoc - spray painting an unflattering message on the principal's parking space, vandalizing the homecoming floats. Principal Stone knows it must be Lawrence Barry. Lawrence is always pulling some prank and has no respect for authority. It is only the intervention of the school guidance counselor that keeps Lawrence from being shipped off to Quiet Haven alternative school like his friend Alex after they disrupted the diversity assembly.

To stay in school, Lawrence must join the Buddy Club and mentor Spencer Knudson, a freshman student from Norway. Spencer dresses like an adult in freshly pressed clothes. He carries a violin case and is constantly reading text books. Spencer is going to need a lot of help if he is going to survive high school. At least that's what Lawrence thinks.

But Lawrence is the last person who should be giving advice even though he thinks he knows what is best for others. If he had listened to Spencer (you know, taken advice instead of giving it), everyone would not believe he is the vandalizing viking.

Still, Lawrence is trying. He is giving up smoking pot (which loses him his old partying friends). He attempts to help his friend ask his dream girl to the homecoming dance. He tries to advise the plain girl who sits in the back of the classroom to reveal more of herself like she does when she is participating in live action role play. Lawrence is also trying to catch the real vandal (he knows it has to be that crazy goth girl Zoe who seems to be stalking him).

Even though you may find yourself scratching your head at Lawrence's plans and begging him not to go through with them, it is a fun journey.

For more info, check out the Indianapolis Public Library catalog.