Cass and Max-Ernest from The Name of This Book is Secret are back in another sense-filled adventure as members of the secret Terces Society. Cass and Max-Ernest have been inducted into the Society as agents keeping the world safe from the evil Midnight Sun, people who will stop at nothing (even murder!) to carry out their plans to live forever. Their previous adventures involved the senses of smell and sound. This time around, it’s taste, and what tastes better than chocolate? Nothing!
Cass’s mom is obsessed with the blind chef Señor Hugo and is invited to one of his exclusive dinner parties. Cass and Max-Ernest come along and are suprised to learn that at these parties the guests dine in complete darkness so that they can focus on their sense of taste. Partway through dinner Cass gets a feeling something isn’t right and when she shines a contraband light, she and Max-Ernest realize that all of the tables in the restaurant are empty and Cass’s mom is nowhere to be found. Señor Hugo has kidnapped Cass’s mom and is demanding the legendary Tuning Fork for her safe return. Somehow, he knows about Cass and Max-Ernest and The Terces Society. What is the Tuning Fork and what does the chef want to do with it? You can bet that The Midnight Sun and the creepy Dr. L and Ms. Mauvais are in on it too. Author: Pseudonymous Bosch
Here are the first two in the Secret Series with Cass and Max-Ernest: The Name of This Book is Secret and If you’re Reading This It’s Too Late and book #4 This Isn’t What It Looks Like. If you like these, you might also like the rest, each are about kids having incredible adventures, but without wands or dragons or spells. These kids fly airplanes, shrink, hypnotize people, solve puzzles and more.
Kari and Lucas from The Mystery of the Third Lucretia are back for another international mystery. This time they are in Scotland where Kari’s Mom has an assignment interviewing a teen prodigy – a touring pianist all of 15 years old.
Kari and Lucas are excited to meet the famous Seneca Crane. Yes, she’s beautiful. Yes, she’s talented. Yes, she’s traveled all over the world…but Seneca turns out to be just a normal kid who happens to have mad piano skills.
Seneca reveals the disciplined life she leads and how difficult it is to trade a normal kid life for life touring the world playing music with and for grown-ups. Seneca is frustrated with her overprotective Mom, her strict tutor and her new Stepfather. The three of them barely let Seneca out of their sight. Kari and Lucas make it their job to show Seneca what regular teens do and convince Seneca’s Mom to let them take Seneca sightseeing around Edinburgh. The three friends have a great time together and look forward to more Scottish adventures after Seneca’s concert performance.
After the concert, everyone waits outside Seneca’s dressing room but she doesn’t appear. A search of the room reveals a ransom note – Seneca doesn’t need rescued anymore from her overprotective Mother…she needs rescued from kidnappers!
Kari and Lucas are on the case in their signature clue-busting style. They are resourceful, gutsy and determined. They rely on their sharp memories and their keen powers of deduction to sort out the clues and get on the trail of the kidnappers. I can’t wait for Book #3 Adventure at Simba Hill which will come out next. Simba Hill takes place in Africa. Author: Susan Runholt
Miranda is in the sixth grade and lives in an apartment building in New York City. The school year is moving along pretty much like any other until the Friday Miranda comes home from school and discovers her apartment door unlocked…and the spare key missing from its secret hiding spot. Miranda’s mom is immediately concerned and has the lock on the door changed.
On Monday, Miranda discovers a note hidden in her backpack:
M, This is hard. Harder than I expected, even with your help. But I have been practicing, and my preparations go well, I am coming to save your friend’s life, and my own. I ask two favors. First, you must write me a letter. Second, please remember to mention the location of your house key. The trip is a difficult one. I will not be myself when I reach you.
If the spare key was stolen on Friday, why would someone ask where it was hidden on Monday? It’s already gone. Weird. As Miranda’s mom says, “Someone with the key wouldn’t have to ask where the key is. It makes no sense.”
What’s weirder is Miranda keeps fiinding more notes, and the second one starts out “Miranda” not “M,” so the notes are definately for her. The writer of the notes knows things no one else should know. And then the notes start to mention things that haven’t happened…yet. When the notes start to predict what happens later, that’s when things start to get really interesting.
This story is a puzzle. It’s the kind of story you want to read again to catch how all the puzzle pieces fit together. The author had me really guessing until the very end. Author: Rebecca Stead 2010 Newbery Medal Winner
Amy and Dan are still hard at work following the 39 clues. (If you haven’t started this series yet read the blog post The 39 Clues #1 Maze of Bones.) This time the clues lead Amy and Dan to places all over Egypt. The kids meet an old friend of their Grandmother’s and some old enemies too – those rotten Cahill relatives just keep turning up. This time the kids really have to decide just how far they should take the advice they were given when they started the clue hunt, “trust no one.” Does that include your Grandmother’s best friend? Does that include…each other? Another fast paced adventure that finds Amy and Dan locked in an ancient tomb. Author: Jude Watson
13 year-old Lyza lives in New Jersey in 1968 with her Dad and her hippie sister. Lyza’s mother has abandoned the family and they are trying to keep it together with just the three of them. As Lyza says about the time since her mom left, “our family began to unravel/like a tightly wound ball of string.” This book is written as a series of poems that make Lyza’s experiences seem even more real. It’s kind of like reading her diary or listening in on her thoughts.
Lyza’s grandfather’s death is another emotional blow for a family already on the edge. While cleaning out his house, Lyza discovers something curious, an envelope labeled, “for Lyza only.” In the envelope are old maps and clues that may lead to the pirate treasure of Capt. Kidd – a treasure that might be buried somewhere in Lyza’s hometown.
Lyza recruits her best friends Malcolm and Carolann to help her understand the clues and old maps. The kids operate in secret, doing their research by day and sneaking out at night to do their digging.
For Lyza, there are some mysteries she can’t solve by herself, like the reason her mother left. Other mysteries, like the whereabouts of Captain Kidd’s treasure, she just might be able to unravel with the help of a few good friends.
This story is set during the Vietnam war. Lyza has a lot of loss around her. Her mom has left, her Grandpa dies and boys from her town are dying in the war. All of this could make a person sink into despair, but instead, Lyza chooses to be alive. She chooses to grab the adventure that is handed to her. I really liked that about her. Life is unpredictable and sometimes very hard. But it IS life and life has all kinds of wonderful things and good surprises in it too. You can’t really have one without the other. I liked reading about a girl who is learning how to handle both. Author: Jen Bryant