of the Center for Children's Books
|The Bulletin Dozen is a monthly theme-based booklist
available as an online-only Bulletin feature. Since we're awfully
fond of bakers here at the Bulletin, we thought we'd adopt their
philosophy of generosity and throw in an extra one or two when we have them
to offer--so don't expect an even dozen. Please feel free to copy, download,
or link to these lists. We ask only that you cite the source. See the archive for lists from previous months.
And That's When I First Suspected . . . A Dozen Young
selected by Jen DeBaillie
Mysteries tend to follow the rules--a puzzle, an investigation, a solution.
The best of them escape predictability because their subject matter--death,
disappearance, deception--is all about life breaking through the usual
boundaries. And what better reason than crime for the protagonist (and
us as readers) to cross a few lines as well? After all, could there be
a more compelling motivation to break into a locked room? A more legitimate
excuse to probe a stranger's (or family member's) most intimate secrets?
Delve a little deeper, and mysteries are all about breaking the rules.
- Bloor, Edward. Crusader. Harcourt, 1999. Gr. 9-12
Roberta labors after school in the family's virtual reality arcade in South
Florida mall. Exploring the truth behind her mother's murder, she turns her
attention to a series of hate crimes and financial problems plaguing the mall
and uncovers dark secrets in this complex, atmospheric novel. (BCCB 12/99)
- Cross, Gillian. Phoning a Dead Man. Holiday House, 2002. Gr. 7-10
Hayley can't believe that her brother John, a demolition expert, died in an
explosion in Russia; he was very careful and he was very good. Traveling as
an assistant to John's wheelchair-reliant fiancée, Annie, Hayley journeys
from home in Britain to the Siberian wilderness to retrace John's final days.
- Herman, John. Deep Waters. Philomel, 1998. Gr. 7-10
Andrew's otherwise happy time at Camp Winasaukee is marred by the unsettling
rivalry over a girl between two counselors, Andrew's idol, the golden-boy
Johnny, and the far less charismatic Tony. When Tony drowns, Andrew is forced
to explore the truth about Johnny and himself. (BCCB 11/98)
- Kerr, M. E. Fell. Harper, 1987. Gr. 7-12
Wealthy Woodrow Pingree offers John Fell the chance to attend an exclusive
prep school as long as he pretends to be his benefactor's son. Inducted into
an elite but secret school society, Fell discovers that generosity may not
have been Pingree's prime motive. (BCCB 7/87)
- Konigsburg, E.L. Silent to the Bone. Karl/Atheneum, 2000. Gr.
Branwell is unable or unwilling to speak after his baby half-sister is horribly
injured. Determined to save his friend from accusations of abuse, Connor devises
non-verbal means of communication to tease out Branwell's story. (BCCB 10/00)
- Littke, Lael. Lake of Secrets. Holt, 2002. Gr. 6-9
Returning to the lake where her younger brother Keith was lost long before
she was even born, Carlene begins to experience memories that are not her
own--memories from someone else's past that may hold the key to Keith's disappearance.
- Lynch, Chris. Freewill. HarperCollins, 2001. Gr. 9-12
Powerful interior dialogue conveys the story of Will's life, which is marked
by the death of his father and stepmother, that of several fellow students,
and his own suicidal feelings. When his unique wooden sculptures appear at
the scene of several fatalities, suspicions are aroused and Will struggles
to make sense of it all. (BCCB 3/01)
- Naylor, Phyllis Reynolds. Jade Green: A Ghost Story. Atheneum,
2000. Gr. 7-10
Orphaned Judith finds a warm and welcoming sanctuary in her uncle's South
Carolina home. Breaking the single, strange prohibition forbidding the color
green in the house, she brings a terrifying, ghostly past back to life in
this old-fashioned gothic tale. (BCCB 2/00)
- Plum-Ucci, Carol. The Body of Christopher Creed. Harcourt, 2000.
When misfit Christopher Creed disappears, rumors and blame fly through his
small New Jersey hometown. The boy's mother is convinced that bully Bo Richardson
murdered her son. Bo's unlikely friend Torey tries to clear him, uncovering
a web of cruel secrets and his own newfound sense of compassion. (BCCB 4/00)
- Pullman, Philip. The White Mercedes. Knopf, 1993. Gr. 9-12
When Chris meets runaway Jenny at an Oxford party he falls for her fast and
hard. Parted after a steamy encounter, their lives remain tangentially connected
through Chris' small-time criminal boss and come crashing back together during
a brutal act of revenge. (BCCB 6/93)
- Vande Velde, Vivian. Never Trust a Dead Man. Harcourt, 1999. Gr.
Accused of offing Farold, his rival for the beautiful Anora, Selwyn is sentenced
to die a nasty death sealed alive in the dead man's tomb. He escapes with
the help (and sometimes hindrance) of a rather demanding witch and Farold's
resurrected spirit in a humorous medieval mystery with a healthy dose of fantasy.
- Werlin, Nancy. The Killer's Cousin. Delacorte, 1998. Gr. 7-12
David moves in with his aunt and uncle to escape painful notoriety in his
hometown, the result of his recent trial (and acquittal) for the murder of
his girlfriend. His apparent haven holds a new threat, his disturbed cousin
Lily. (BCCB 9/98)
- Westall, Robert. Yaxley's Cat. Scholastic, 1992. Gr. 7-12
Timothy and Jane convince their mother to let an isolated cottage on the bleak
Norfolk coast. A stash of gold coins, a handwritten book, and a menacing cat
soon arouse the family's suspicions in this atmospheric tale of supernatural
and all-too-human evil. (BCCB 3/92)
- Wynne-Jones, Tim. The Boy in the Burning House. Kroupa/Farrar,
2001. Gr. 7-10
Jim's uneasy acceptance of his father's disappearance is upended when bad-girl
Ruth Rose tells him that her preacher-stepfather killed Jim's dad. Jim doesn't
know what to believe--about Ruth Rose or his own father's connection to another
mysterious death thirty years ago. (BCCB 11/01)
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