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Posts Tagged ‘mystery’

Tokyo Heist – A Review

Posted on December 21st, 2012 by Anna in Books, Reviews - Staff

Tokyo Heist by Diana Renn

Read by: Anna/Copley Teen Room

Tokyo Heist is the story of two stolen Van Gogh drawings and a missing Van Gogh painting. It is also the story of the young man who bought that painting and the family he left behind when he committed suicide over 30 years ago. And, it’s the story of a bright teenage girl with an eye for drawing her own manga series, known as Kimono Girl. 16-year-old Violet hadn’t planned on solving an art heist mystery during her summer vacation spent with her estranged father. She hadn’t planned on getting chased by the largest Japanese gang, known as the Yakuza. And she definitely didn’t plan on a trip to Japan any time soon. But she gets all that, and more, in this gripping mystery/suspense novel where sometimes the only way to solve a crime, is to draw it out like a Japanese comic book.

I LOVED  this book. That’s it. Plain and simple. The way it was told, the language used, everything was realistic and gripping. Plus, I loved Kimono Girl. I was picturing the scenes Violet was drawing easily, and I loved the idea of a girl who could slip in and out of paintings to solve crimes and move around. It was a very interesting way to view the world and solve a crime. Anyone who loves Japan and manga will likely fall in love with Violet and this novel. It’s a quick dive into Japanese culture, but one not soon forgotten. I highly recommend this title.

Croak: A Review

Posted on December 14th, 2012 by Anna in Books, Reviews - Staff, Teen Services

Croak by Gina Demico

Read by: Anna/Copley Teen Room

This is the story of a 16-year-old teen who gets shipped off to spend the summer with her Uncle Mort because of sudden behavioral issues. Lex, named after the battle of Lexington, has no idea why she turned violent. She just knows that she likes to punch people and it doesn’t matter whether they’ve done something to personally offend her or not. But when she gets to the town of Croak, NY (Population 82), she’s startled to discover that her uncle isn’t the farmer she expected. He’s a Grim Reaper. And so is everyone else in the small town. She was born to be a Grim. At first she isn’t sure about this, but the more she hangs out with the other Junior Grims, and the more time she spends at work, Killing dead bodies so her partner can Cull the souls to send the people to the afterlife, the more she comes to realize that Croak is where she belongs.

But then, mysterious deaths start to occur. Not only do the medical examiners not know what’s killing these people, seemingly at random, but neither do the Grims. When it become apparent that the killer could very well be a Grim, it’s up to Lex and the other Junior Grims to figure it out.

Honestly, I think I died laughing. No joke. This book is at the same time dark, very serious and yet light with humor. I loved getting to hang out in the afterlife with the dead famous people like Edgar Allen Poe who seems to be the only one who doesn’t like John Wilkes Booth because John stole Edgar’s favorite quill. When we get the absolutely lovely description of the alcohol-like drink that actually has no alcohol in it, I about died, wishing I could have a cup. Keep in mind, the drink has no alcohol, but if a Grim has more than three drinks in a row, that could spell a very different kind of trouble: Death. The murder mystery that takes place is definitely a mystery that will defy you until near the end of the book. At least, it did for me. The book is at times creepy, but there is also a healthy dose of awkward romance to go along with the creep. While most books these days throw in the perfect romance between the two perfect main characters, this romance is not perfect. Nothing goes as planned and neither are the two main characters perfect. It’s wonderfully realistic.

Over all, this book was a nice breath of fresh air from all the books that only seem to mimic each other these days. Yep, there’s a girl on the cover, but she’s wearing a black hoodie (proper Grim attire) and carrying a large scythe. Not a fancy dress that never gets worn in the book. But be aware of one thing. As you near the end of the first book, make sure you have Scorch, the second book, handy because you’ll want to dive right in without waiting. Trust me, this book is awesome. And the story’s not done yet…

I can’t recommend this book enough.