I loved this book. It constantly kept me guessing. Even when I thought I had something figured out, I was wrong, or missing a puzzle piece. It started...moreI loved this book. It constantly kept me guessing. Even when I thought I had something figured out, I was wrong, or missing a puzzle piece. It started maybe slightly slowly, but once it picked up, the pace just became more and more furious. It was a great mixture of mystery, suspense, thriller, crime.(less)
I have no idea what to say about this book, or even what I think of it. It would likely make as much, or more, sense if you read chapters or sections...moreI have no idea what to say about this book, or even what I think of it. It would likely make as much, or more, sense if you read chapters or sections randomly as it made reading it front to back. And yet it was intriguing or compelling enough to get me to keep turning pages until I had gotten far enough along that it made some sense & I was invested. (less)
Jane Hudson's early life was one of much tribulation and loneliness. She had no real friends, and try as she might, she could never please her mother....moreJane Hudson's early life was one of much tribulation and loneliness. She had no real friends, and try as she might, she could never please her mother. But all that changed in High School, when she met and was taken in by the Toller siblings. Matt & Lucy are the world to Jane, and when they take her under her wing, helping her to prepare for the the Iris Scholarship - a full ride to the local Boarding School to the girl who scores highest in Latin - she starts to have some hope for her life.
Not only does she win the scholarship, for the first year ever the school awards it to two girls: Jane and Lucy. But life at Heart Lake is not all Jane had hoped for. While Latin is exciting, and all the girls revere their teacher, Jane finds life with her roommates to grow more difficult as the year progresses.
Her mother had warned her about threesomes, and eventually Jane does find herself the odd girls out. But nothing could prepare her for the events that would comprise the end of her senior year. And while she moved on and tried to leave it behind, when she returns to Heart Lake 20 years later as its new Latin teacher, the events of her past come back to haunt her in more ways than one.(less)
Cass and Max-Ernest (those aren't their real names, of course) are both outcasts. Max-Ernest can't stop talking, and Cass can't stop fearing disaster...moreCass and Max-Ernest (those aren't their real names, of course) are both outcasts. Max-Ernest can't stop talking, and Cass can't stop fearing disaster is about to strike. When Cass is sure the school is sitting atop toxic waste, Max-Ernest takes her seriously, which leads to an awkward collaboration.
They end up getting in way over their heads with a mystery surrounding a magician's death; while investigating said magician's house, they stumble upon his workshop and find his notebook. Worse still, they're caught in the act, but manage a narrow escape. Only then the scary couple from the magician's house shows up at their school on the same day a classmate goes missing.
This all takes place in an undisclosed location, of course, as the secret is too dangerous for such details to be shared.
This is another one of those books where I really liked the story, and wanted to know what happened, but sometimes felt the writing got in the way. So...moreThis is another one of those books where I really liked the story, and wanted to know what happened, but sometimes felt the writing got in the way. Sometimes I could just read along, and sometimes I felt like I was stumbling over the story. Sometimes I just wanted to get to the end, other times I couldn't wait to see what happened next. I'm hopeful that the writing will progress as the series goes along.(less)
I think I actually plowed through this book faster than a Harry Potter. I'm really hoping, since "An Echos Falls Mystery" is in the title...maybe that...moreI think I actually plowed through this book faster than a Harry Potter. I'm really hoping, since "An Echos Falls Mystery" is in the title...maybe that means more will be forthcoming. Our little sleuth, Ingrid Levin-Hill, is a real treat. And if she can come out as well as she did while still in the midst of a lot of teenage craziness (you know, those ideas that should never work, but somehow you manage to get out the other side anyway), by the time she hits her 20's she could be giving her idol Sherlock Homes a run for his money.
While the jacket somehow led me to believe this story would be another kind of twisted Alice in Wonderland, that being the next play Ingrid was to star in, the Alice part actually had very little to do with it. But that was fine with me. There was indeed enough madness going on in the plain old world. In fact, my only problem with this book was one sentence somewhere deep into it where the tense was wrong, and I don't even know why my brain picked up on it. Otherwise, solid story, very quick pace, entirely entertaining. As a first foray into writing for Young Adults, this was an awesome entry, and I'm sure any avid Abrahams readers would be just as pleased with this book as with his others.(less)
This book was a lot of fun to read. It reminded me a little of a Da Vinci code for younger minds, only in some ways this book was a lot trickier. Thro...moreThis book was a lot of fun to read. It reminded me a little of a Da Vinci code for younger minds, only in some ways this book was a lot trickier. Throughout, there is a pentomino code, and another hidden code which I never tried to decipher, although I saw the clues. Codes aren't my thing. But I was still pulling out a notebook to decrypt the letters going between two friends in certain chapters.
I think this is a really original and unique book, that looks at things in all sorts of ways--ways we might usually not. The range of topics covered is somewhat broad, but they flow together, and while in some cases the thinking behind it all seems highly advanced, at the same time, younger people tend to be much more open to "crazy" and wild ideas than some of their more learned counterparts who "know better."
If you like mysteries, puzzles, or art, definitely give this book a read.
This is one of the books I've most enjoyed in the past few years. I've never read anything quite like it, and it has a bit of something for everyone. Mystery, puzzles, codes, excitement. The idea of an elementary class unraveling an injustice that far outlives them is just great.
The basic story revolves around Vermeer's paintings, how many he did in his life, and how many were correctly attributed. Something you'd think was above the heads of grade school kids, but their class is anything but usual.(less)
This is the third "Book of Bayern." I found myself wishing I had read the others more closely to this one as I struggled at some points to remember cl...moreThis is the third "Book of Bayern." I found myself wishing I had read the others more closely to this one as I struggled at some points to remember clearly things that were only alluded too, but I think that was my own personal annoyance at forgetting, and it didn't really take away from the story itself.
In this book, Bayern's war with neighboring Tira is still a sore spot in many minds. Both countries long for peace, but know it won't be easy in the making. Still, despite the misgivings, each agrees to send an ambassador to stay in the other's kingdom, in hopes it will help to spark forgiveness. Isi, Queen of Bayern, believes it easy to think a stranger is an enemy, and hopes it will be harder to think the same of, if not a friend, someone you know.
Most of the part sent to Tira from Bayern are the usual suspects from the earlier books. Enna, known to the Tiran as the "fire-witch," though they don't actually know her identity; Finn, Bayern's Own's (soldiers to the king) best swordsman; Talone, a soldier who came to Bayern from Isi's homeland of Kildenree; and Razo, a forest boy who began as an animal herder, and still doubts his place in the Own.
The trip gets off to an ominous start, as Razo stumbles upon a burned body just outside the camp they've set while they wait for their Tiran escort. Immediately his thoughts jump to Enna, but sleeping nearer her tent tells him only that she hasn't left it.
When the Tiran arrive, things get darker. Bad behavior leads to words, leads to Razo being stabbed. Not the most fortuitous start to his life with the enemy.
Indeed, throughout their stay in Tira, the Bayern will meet with much ill will. A radical group called Manifest Tira will make multiple threats against them. Tumas, friend to the soldier who stabbed Razo, will never cease to have it out for him. Even after Razo befriends the Prince, still someone tries to do him harm--in the Prince's company no less.
All the while, burnt bodies keep turning up. Razo can't stop his fear that his friend is burning without her own knowledge. And when he finally does, he then faces the worry that somehow the lovely Dasha might be involved--a thought too much for him to bear.
Assigned by Talone to be their spy, Razo observes all, hoping against hope to find the culprit in time to stop the vote for war.
It's probably a tale that would have some people skipping ahead to the end just to find out who it is, because the feeling of dread is rather pervasive. But I've never been one for the skipping ahead or starting at the end, so I just kept turning pages.
Definitely a solid addition to the line, and a good read. Fast-moving, always keeping you on your toes, so to speak. I would recommend reading The Goose Girl and Enna Burning first though. Without any of the back-story there's probably a lot that might be lost. Although that could just be my opinion since I know the back story. Certainly the whole Tira-Bayern conflict can be much more greatly felt and understood if one at least knows Enna's story.
But, regardless of one's history or lack thereof with Shannon Hale, this is one worthy of the stack.(less)
t was just another dune party on a slow night in Mystic…until Casey Carmody went missing off the side of the pier and no one was sure whether she’d be...moret was just another dune party on a slow night in Mystic…until Casey Carmody went missing off the side of the pier and no one was sure whether she’d been shot or not. Suddenly everything was a question and all the gossip was hot.
Stuck at the Police Station waiting for his parents’ flight to get in, Kurt Carmody was helpless. So he did the only thing he could: eavesdropped with his best friend on the statements given by their friends. An experience that turned out to be more eye-opening than he’d expected…and not in the ways he’d expected.
By the end of the night, his sister’s story had become hopelessly entangled with that of Stacy Kearney, another Island girl, and Kurt didn’t know if he’d be able to save either of them. But that didn’t mean he wasn’t going to try.(less)