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Adult Books 4 Teens
Inside Adult Books 4 Teens

Introductions & Mystery

Before sharing today’s review, two matters of housekeeping. First, the RSS feed for this blog will be available early next week. Please do check back for that.

Second, I have been asked to introduce myself. So here goes…

I am a school librarian in New York City, Head Librarian at Convent of the Sacred Heart, a K-12 girls school in Manhattan. Before that I was a librarian at Mercersburg Academy, a coed boarding school for grades 9-12.

I am an enthusiastic and active member of YALSA, having served on several committees, the most relevant being the Alex Awards. (The Alex Awards are given annually to ten books written for adults that have special appeal to young adults, ages 12 through 18.) After four years on the Alex committee, the last as chair, I started reviewing for School Library Journal‘s Adult Books for High School Students column, and the rest is history. I used to joke that I wished I could serve on the Alex Awards forever. Having the chance to create this blog pretty much fulfills that wish!

I want to thank Francisca Goldsmith, both for her inspiring work on the print column and for her work with this blog. Francisca continues to help choose and assign the books to be reviewed here, and is working with reviewers on the west coast. She will also be sharing her graphic novel expertise here on a regular basis.

On to the books! Today we turn to a favorite genre: Mystery

I have been a fan of Lisa Unger since reading her debut novel Beautiful Lies (Shaye Areheart, 2006) and its sequel Sliver of Truth (Shaye Areheart, 2007), both featuring Ridley Jones. Neither is particularly for teens, though now that I think about it, nothing would prevent older teens from enjoying them.

Unger’s latest mystery has teen appeal in spades.

UNGER, Lisa. Fragile. 318p. Shaye Areheart. 2010. Tr $24. ISBN 9780307393999. LC number unavailable.  Fragile

Adult/High School–Some aspects of small town life seem inevitable: the interconnectedness among people, even between generations, and the secrets that are kept, maybe for a lifetime. Maggie and Jones are pillars of the community–a therapist and police detective, respectively. Although they both grew up in The Hollows, they were determined to spend their lives anywhere else, but they marry and raise their son, Ricky, in that same town. When Ricky’s girlfriend, Charlene, goes missing, most people assume she finally ran away for good. The investigation reveals the possibility of something more sinister, and Jones struggles to repress a haunting secret. As the point-of-view shifts from Charlene, to Maggie, to Ricky, to Jones, readers are able to piece together events as they unfold and recognize the false assumptions each character acts upon. Just about everyone in town has a hidden darkness, and old prejudices simmer under the surface. Ricky, Charlene, and troubled classmate Marshall tell much of the story in turn, keeping teen voices center stage. Young adults will recognize Ricky’s relationship with his parents, especially his desire for independence warring with his need for approval. The greatest appeal, however, will be in the rising tension and dark atmosphere as all that is behind Charlene’s disappearance comes to light. Ultimately, this story is about choices and how the decisions of one individual can reverberate with unknown consequences in the lives of others. Fragile is a fine transition for teens ready to venture into adult mysteries.–Priscille Dando, Robert E. Lee High School, Fairfax County, VA

Angela Carstensen About Angela Carstensen

Angela Carstensen is Head Librarian and an Upper School Librarian at Convent of the Sacred Heart in New York City. Angela served on the Alex Awards committee for four years, chairing the 2008 committee, and chaired the first YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adult committee in 2009. Recently, she edited Outstanding Books for the College Bound: Titles and Programs for a New Generation (ALA Editions, 2011). Contact her via Twitter @AngeReads.