A Mysterious Weekend

enolaGildaMystery fans, rejoice! Gilda and Enola, two of the most brilliant young sleuths in literature, are at it again. Happily for us, Jennifer Allison and Nancy Springer have been hard at work, penning new installments of the Gilda Joyce and Enola Homles series, respectively. For those of you who aren’t yet familiar with these charaters, Gilda is a contemporary high-school girl who just happens to be interested in solving paranormal mysteries. Using her psychic abilities (ahem) and her typewriter, she bravely runs into ghostly situations, while most other people are running away. As for Enloa, she’s Sherlock Holmes’s intrepid little sister who refuses to behave as a proper Victorian English girl should; instead, she wanders the streets of London alone, usually in disguise, and always on the run from her older brothers, who are determined to make a lady out of her. As if! Enola loves ciphers and codes, but her penchant for solving puzzles often leads her into dangerous — and even murderous — territory. (The second book in the series, The Case of the Bizarre Bouquets, is downright scary.) So, it’s going to be a good weekend for me. I plan to read both books by Monday. Anyone else up for the pleasure? If so, here are the latest titles:

Gilda Joyce: The Dead Drop, by Jennifer Allison

Enola Holmes and the Cryptic Crinoline, by Nancy Springer

When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead

whenyoureachmeThere is so much going on in this book that it’s hard to summarize cleverly and succinctly. So, for this one, I’m going to try a list of facts to see if I can convey the flavor of this intriguing novel:
1. Miranda, a sixth-grader, knows the streets of her Manhattan neighborhood like the back of her hand, including which corners to avoid, when to cross the street, and where the crazy homeless man stands every afternoon.
2. One day Sal, her best friend, gets punched in the stomach for no reason by some random kid they don’t even know.
3. Now, for some reason, Sal won’t talk to Miranda anymore, so she has to walk home from school alone.
4. Soon after this, Miranda’s apartment is broken into. The spare key is missing from its secret spot. Yet nothing seems to be missing. Strange…
5. Then, Miranda finds a mysterious note from somebody who says he wants to save her friend’s life. What? Even weirder, the notes keep coming, and they seem to be predicting events before they even happen.
6. Could somebody be trying to reach her from the future? And is Sal ever going to speak to her again? After all, it wasn’t Miranda’s fault he got punched!

The Red Blazer Girls by Michael D. Beil

red blazerOkay, to really get into this book, you’d better like puzzles, mysteries, and math (well, at least a little bit of math). Sophie, Rebecca, and Margaret are seventh-graders at an all-girls Catholic school in New York City. They’re into dances, music, and books. They’re just discovering that boys aren’t always gross and weird (just most of the time). They think this is going to be just another ordinary school year with breakfast at Perkatory and after-school homework sessions at Sophie’s apartment. But then, a lot of stuff happens. For one thing, there’s this new girl Leigh Ann, who looks like a Seventeen model. That’s pretty annoying, especially since the boy Sophie likes seems to get all silly and red whenever Leigh Ann is around. But the main action of the novel surrounds a ring — a really old, really valuable ring that is supposedly hidden somewhere in the church across from school. Soon, the girls are decoding secret messages, digging through moldy books in the library storeroom, breaking into to secret passageways, and hiding under tables from priests! This is definitely NOT your typical middle school mystery. If you read and liked The Puzzling World of Winston Breen, you might like The Red Blazer Girls, which also provides puzzles for readers to solve along the way. If only a fun, exciting mystery would drop into my lap in the middle of a boring Tuesday afternoon.