Tag Archives: Teen Fiction

What Waits in the Water..

Reviewed by Liz Cohen

What Waits in the Water by Kieran Scott

Scholastic, 2017

What Waits In The Water

What Waits in the Water is a murder mystery.  Hannah and her step-sister Katie go on a trip to a log cabin by a lake.  They are staying with Hannah’s best friend, Jacob.  But when the girls arrive, everything gets creepy.  There is something in the water.  And the woods around the lake are not exactly peaceful.  What’s more, her step-sister has become very close to Jacob behind Hannah’s back.  Very close!

Hannah thinks the local kids from the small town near the lake can take her mind off of Katie and Jacob.  But the town holds a mystery.  A local girl (who looks a good bit like Hannah) has gone missing, and she isn’t the first.  Is the lake cursed?  Or is someone stalking the lake.

What Waits in the Water is the perfect murder mystery to read on a plane, by the pool, or just on a lazy weekend.  This book is the second in a series, but you don’t need to have read the first book to enjoy this one.  If you enjoy this book, check out What Waits in the Woods, in which a group of teens go on a thrilling camping trip. (This is a nice read for girls in 7th through 9th grade.)






The Deavys


The Deavys
By Allen Dean Foster
Age Range: 9 – 15 years
Paperback: 354 pages
Publisher: Open Road Media Teen & Tween (February 16, 2016)

It came to my attention recently that my post about this fantastic new upper middle grade-young adult fantasy fiction book had not been received. To which I apologize! Both the head librarian and I agree that more books using great vocabulary, enchanting stories, and frankly a lack of romance need to be written. This marvelously imaginative tale written by a perennial favorite science fiction / fantasy author of mine showed up about two months ago on Netgalley. I was excited to read it, and I sat in our school chortling at clever turns of phrase, and fun action that managed to capture a fantastical quest but maintain a youthful exuberance I find lacking in a lot of this genre. I mean the kissing frog scene, or the snack cart where you tell the owner what you Wish to eat… Fantastic 🙂

Our heroes are a group of siblings three 12 year old young ladies, N/ice, Rose, and Amber, who are mostly here, and one 16 year old brother Simwan who mostly wishes he wasn’t. They have to use their Magic to recover the Truth that a malevolent Rat stole and took to New York. With them is their guardian/advisor, and overall funny mascot Pithfwid the cat, and assorted other non Ordinary creatures who help or hinder along the way. This is not a terribly deep or epic adventure, but it is a fun romp with a magical family with a backdrop of Ordinary people and Magic (non Ords) set in New England and New York.

I thought this was a wonderful short filled with funny characters with baffling to pronounce names. It isn’t a hard read, but it is one that most of the target age is going to enjoy. The best part is it is not a gender specific tale. The three sisters do tend to run together in my mind (apart from the sometimes here N/Ice) but I loved Simwan’ love hate relationship and fierce protective instinct for his sisters. In short I think our students would love this.

Gumshoe Mystery

Scarlett Undercover

Scarlett Undercover by Jennifer Latham
Age Range: 12 and up
Grade Level: 7 and up
Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (May 19, 2015)
This was a Netgalley review. EBook free in exchange for an honest review.

As many of my friends know I am a big fan of diverse characters in my school reading lists. But none of that matters if the story behind the diversity is dull and flat. Even better than just diverse is when the story is so strong, that anyone can relate to the protagonist irregardless of where they came from or what religion they are. Scarlett is one of those characters, and Scarlett Undercover is one of those stories.

This is a great upper middle or young teen fiction mystery novel. Scarlett is a fun diverse main character and a nice change from the boilerplate of white snarky girl standing up for herself. Reminds me of a lot of the adult urban fiction out there, but done in a more kid friendly way. Scarlett is a young teen who operates a successful gumshoe business with an office complete with chain smoking stoop sitters, filing cabinets, and friendly cop. It is almost perfectly noir, and all of this is done amidst the backdrop of two Muslim sisters trying to maintain their family in spite of the tragic death of their Father and living in the middle of urban America.

This action packed mystery novel has it all: groups with secret agendas, stolen artifacts with mystic powers, even assassins. The beginning is a little choppy and the story takes a little time to get rolling, but once it does. Magic happens.

Parental note: violence and swearing are pretty much the only thing to worry with in this novel.  But don’t read this expecting to get a better understanding of the Muslim religion or Persian or Arabic culture.  Like I said, this is a fantasy-mystery novel and NOT meant to be a factual explanation or agenda book.

And the winner is…

The Selection By Kiera Cass
The Selection
By Kiera Cass


The Selection, by Kiera Cass

Series: The Selection (Book 1)

Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: HarperTeen; Reprint edition (March 26, 2013)


This is a good teen series with some problems, but mostly it has to do with the story being a hunger games for the romance set. There are some very obvious foreshadowing and hand holding which I do not like in my books, but for many of my teen readers is just fine.
I have learned that in a school library the goal is to get the largest number of kids reading, and this book series is one that does that. There is just a smidge of action, but any death and destruction are off screen with tertiary or unknown characters. The plot is just what it looks like : hunger games alla Princess Diary meets the Bachelor, but the characters are not going to shoot each other with bows, just mean glances and a well aimed verbal barb. There is a love triangle, and like I said I don’t like books that lay out plot devices so blatantly with the intention “Giant Neon Sign… This will be important… Can you see how she is going to get into trouble in book two?!” But it is a teen romance. And for a teen romance not a bad book.
Parental note… Well, here is where I get a little squiggly. There is no sex. There is no drugs. But the whole arranged marriage at such a young age always makes me uncomfortable. And this entire story is very patronizing to young women. If your teen loves Cinderella stories with a dash of romance and a splash of danger then go for it.