Archive for September, 2022

The Seclusion by Jaqui Castle

Genre: Futuristic Fiction

While out on a routine task for their jobs, Patricia “Patch” and her friend Rexx come across a van with contraband from before the seclusion, such as printed books and empty pop cans. Ever since the seclusion the U.S. has been separated from all other countries and every aspect of their lives is controlled by The Board, including where they live and what they do for a living. Patch has always found happiness in the fact that she enjoys her job at a laboratory as well as her first floor apartment that allows her a small garden. The only information they are given is routinely provided from The Board in mandatory news reports that everyone must stop and watch no matter where they are. There are also cameras in every place imaginable, even bathrooms, so privacy is something no one expects to have. When they find this mysterious van that is clearly from the “before” time, both Patch and Rexx find themselves very curious about what kinds of things were available in the old U.S. That curiosity gets them into trouble, however, and they must decide if they will just bow down to the Board who controls everything or if they will fight for answers.

This futuristic book combines similar aspects as books such as Matched, The Hunger Games, and The Testing. The main characters are struggling to learn what is real and what they have been taught is real. Every time they think they are getting ahead of the Board they are slapped back into reality and learn just how controlling the Board really is. This is the first in a two book series. Fans of futuristic stories will get pulled into this adventure as Patch tries to help her country who doesn’t even know they need help.

Dead Girls Can’t Tell Secrets by Chelsea Ichaso

Genre: Mystery

Savannah’s sister, Piper, was in a mysterious hiking accident that left her in a coma. Everyone thought it was a tragic accident, but Savannah is taking it particularly hard since she always felt like she was in Piper’s shadow. Piper seemed to just excel at everything she did and often Savannah felt resentful, which feels really wrong now that there’s a good possibility she won’t wake up. In order to try and connect with her sister a little, Savannah takes up one of Piper’s activities, which was the winderness club. In fact, they give her Piper’s backpack filled with wilderness essentials and it’s there that she finds a note telling Piper that there will be a wilderness meeting at the same time and place where she had her tragic fall. However, everyone in the group assures Savannah that there was no such meeting. Was someone with Piper when she fell? Did someone lure her there on purpose? Can Savannah find out what really happened to her sister?

This mystery presents several different characters who all seem to be involved in the story in some way, which makes it fun for the reader to follow along and find out who really knows what happened to Piper. It’s also easy to understand why Savannah has such mixed feelings toward her sister as you see how everyone continues to treat her even now that Piper’s not around. The mystery itself is fun and the ending is satisfying. It’s a fun read for those looking for something quick and light.

The Ivies by Alexa Donne

Genre: Mystery

Olivia Winters goes to Claflin Academy, a fancy prep school, for her senior year and is somehow befriended by the elite clique known as the Ivies. The Ivies are all from wealthy families and their goal is to all get into Ivy League Schools. They actively sabotage classmates in order to increase their own chances of getting in where they want to go. The only hitch is that they believe only two people are usually accepted into any Ivy League from a particular school. So, because queen bee Avery wants to go to Harvard, Olivia is instructed to choose another school. She secretly applies anyway and is unsure how to feel when she gets in. She’s thrilled to have gotten in, but worries how her friends will react and how she will pay for it. When Avery finds out she didn’t get accepted she goes ballistic and demands the other Ivies find out who did get in so she can “kill them.” When a murder does indeed occur Olivia is more terrified than ever to announce her new accepted status and for the first time realizes how under handed some of their schemes have been this year in order to keep others down. Are her friends really looking out for her or were they using her to get what they wanted? What would they do if someone got in their way?

This mystery story is unique in that it dives deep into the college application process for elite schools. The pressure to succeed and be the best is so prevalent in this school that you can almost see how these girls got to be so cutthroat in their path to success. Olivia is a sympathetic character who really seems to want to get the truth and due to her financial status is one of the few characters who truly has a lot to lose. The ending is satisfying and exciting. Recommended for mystery fans!

You’ll Be the Death of Me by Karen M. McManus

Genre: Mystery/Suspense


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