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  1. #1

    Default Mystery Novel Suggestions--please

    My 9 year old son is a dedicated mystery novel lover. He won't read Harry Potter, or Percy Jackson, or any of the stuff his sister loved at this age. Instead he's reading series like "Mariella Mysteries", and the Hiassen elementary books. I'd like to find some series that are a little more challenging than Mariella, but not as morally ambiguous as the teen level Hiassen novels. We tried the Theodosia mysteries, but he's not that excited about the idea of magic coming into the story. Ideas?

    Oh! And if anyone knows a good novel about sharks or shark watching scientists suitable for that age level, that would be great,too.
    AtomicGirl--Mom, old enough to know better
    Athena--13, 8th grade, home schooled, 2E, wicked cool
    Monkey King- 8, 3rd grade, home schooled, future owner of the galaxy

  2. T4L In Forum July19
  3. #2

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    Would Agatha Christie be too difficult for him to read?
    Carol

    Homeschooled two kids for 11 years, now trying to pay it forward


    Daughter (22), a University of Iowa graduate: BA in English with Creative Writing, BA in Journalism, and a minor in Gender, Women & Sexuality Studies

    Son (21), a Purdue University senior majoring in Computer Science, minoring in math, geology, anthropology, and history

  4. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by inmom View Post
    Would Agatha Christie be too difficult for him to read?
    I'm thinking about Agatha Christie, even if it's initially a read-aloud. We're doing Medieval History this year, so I was also considering the Brother Cadfael books, too. I haven't read those is a lot of years, though, so I'd need to pre-read to refresh my memory on suitability.
    AtomicGirl--Mom, old enough to know better
    Athena--13, 8th grade, home schooled, 2E, wicked cool
    Monkey King- 8, 3rd grade, home schooled, future owner of the galaxy

  5. #4

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    How about all the old John Bellairs books? They're sort of horror, sort of mystery.

    Nancy Drew? Trixie Belden? Hardy Boys? Brixton Brothers? All cheesy mystery series for kids.

    I love the Enola Holmes books. They're on the easy end, but she's Sherlock Holmes's much younger sister. They're well done.

    We also adore the Winston Breen books. They're all puzzle based books but all have a mystery in them.

    A lot of mystery lovers might like Mysterious Benedict Society. Or some of the other books in that sort of vein, like The Book Scavenger. Or The Name of this Book is Secret series.

    Greenglass House was good.

    From the Mixed Up Files has a mystery in it. And The Westing Game is another classic kid novel with a mystery.

    Sammy Keyes is another kid mystery series that's pretty good.

    Chet Gecko is a hardboiled detective series for kids. It's animal characters and lots of animal puns. They're sort of funny.

    A slightly more grown up series is the Echo Falls mysteries. Down the Rabbit Hole is the first one. They're great and almost unknown for some reason - the author is an adult mystery writer. They're often sold as YA, but there's not much in the way of romance. However, the crimes are real crimes and the danger feels a bit grittier and more real than a lot of kid mystery series, even though the protagonist is young.

    Another YA mystery that's fine for younger readers is The London Eye Mystery.

    Another YA series that might appeal is Alex Rider. It's a spy series. It's YA, so, again, slightly darker and grittier, but okay for most 9 yos.
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  6. #5
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    I second Mysterious Benedict Society. Dd has read and re-read that one.

    I always look for your posts, Farrar. I have my new library list! Not to derail the thread, but I'd be interested in more YA fiction suggestions, mystery or otherwise, that downplay romance. Dd is very much turned off by that right now.
    Skrink - mama to my 14 yo wild woman

  7. #6

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    I'm not sure about the difficulty level but Randi Rhodes Ninja Detective, is a new-ish series. My daughter and I listened to the first one on audiobook but she's not a big mystery fan.
    Teemie - 11 years old, 6th grade with an ecclectic mix

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  8. #7

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    We love books by John Bellairs. Most of his books were illustrated by Edward Gorey.

    Louis Barnavelt Series:
    The House with a Clock in Its Walls
    The Figure in the Shadows
    The Letter, the Witch, and the Ring
    The Ghost in the Mirror (completed by Brad Strickland)
    The Vengeance of the Witch-Finder (completed by Brad Strickland)
    The Doom of the Haunted Opera (completed by Brad Strickland)


    Anthony Monday Series:
    The Treasure of Alpheus Winterborn
    The Dark Secret of Weatherend
    The Lamp from the Warlock's Tomb
    The Mansion in the Mist


    Johnny Dixon Series:
    The Curse of the Blue Figurine
    The Mummy, the Will, and the Crypt
    The Spell of the Sorcerer's Skull
    The Revenge of the Wizard's Ghost
    The Eyes of the Killer Robot
    The Trolley to Yesterday
    The Chessmen of Doom
    The Secret of the Underground Room
    The Drum, the Doll, and the Zombie (completed by Brad Strickland)
    Learning, Living, and Loving Life outside of the norm with 7 kids.

  9. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by skrink View Post
    I second Mysterious Benedict Society. Dd has read and re-read that one.

    I always look for your posts, Farrar. I have my new library list! Not to derail the thread, but I'd be interested in more YA fiction suggestions, mystery or otherwise, that downplay romance. Dd is very much turned off by that right now.
    Well, my head is in mysteries, so my first thought was Gilda Joyce - they're MG, not YA, but they're at that top end - straddling the gulf. It's a psychic detective series.

    Other stuff... Wendy Mass is another author who straddles that MG to YA gap. Some of her stuff has some romance, but it's not the focus. Her Willow Falls birthday series is cute and a little younger, but A Mango Shaped Space and Every Soul a Star feel a little more YA leaning though they're often shelved as MG.

    A number of the "issue" books that are at the upper end of MG feel more grown up but aren't romance centered - like Out of My Mind, Counting by 7's, Mockingbird, etc. Also, some of the upper end historical fiction MG stuff like Laurie Halse Anderson's books are complex enough for YA readers but not romance focused.

    But... YA... Well, some of the historical fiction in YA isn't very romance centered. So The Book Thief, A Northern Light, Code Name Verity... Keep in mind though that some of this stuff is YA for a reason. I think it's all beyond okay for a 14 yo, but Code Name Verity has implied torture during WWII. It's not light, you know?

    Some of the adult fiction that's often secondary marketed to the YA crowd isn't romance centered - The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime, Life of Pi, The Night Circus, etc.

    Some of the YA fantasy/sci-fi isn't so romance focused. Scott Westerfeld's steampunk series Leviathan has a romance as a main plot, but it really feels like an adventure series and the romance is very much back burner - it serves the adventure plot, not the other way around. Westerfeld's Uglies series is a dystopian that also has romance, but again, the romance feels lesser because it's not the focus. That's a great dystopian that seems to have been forgotten in the shuffle, actually. It's older than Hunger Games. The Miss Peregrine series (sort of a creepy horror series) is another that isn't as focused on romance as a lot of the big name series (the movie looks super cool and will be out soon too). The Fifth Wave is another that has a good dose of romance but isn't really about the romance (it's a post-apocalyptic alien invasion story - or is it?).

    Oh, and MT Anderson is a writer (some historical, some dystopian) who crosses genres whose books are usually about something. Some have a romance, but the romance usually isn't the focus. Oh, and Paolo Bacigalupi is another author like that. Interesting stuff - mostly sci fi leaning.

    Contemporary... Well, a lot of the contemporary has romance at the center, but Gary Schmidt is a good author whose books are usually about something else. Some are more recent historical fiction. The Beginning of Everything was sort of romance centered but ends up not being about the romance at all, which was an interesting twist. Hm... this is a harder category. The John Green mold is strong in this genre... All my favorites that I'm thinking of like Boy Meets Boy and Fangirl and Paper Towns and so forth are all very romance-centric.
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    Children's Books, Homeschooling and Random Musings...

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  10. #9

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    My first thought was The Boxcar Children - I plan on having my daughter read the first one this school year but I haven't read any yet so I can't comment on them personally... but I've certainly heard people rave about the series.

    Some lists.

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/richpub/li.../RLERAWE45GG22

    New Jersey Library Association / CSS ChoiceBooks 4th Grade Mysteries

    Best Mysteries for Young Readers (197 books)

  11. #10

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    Thank you everyone! I've added a lot of these ideas to his suggested reading list, and I'll pick up what I can at the library for the first official day of school. We tried things like Hardy Boys, and Boxcar Children. He was turned off by the suggestion there might be a supernatural explanation (even though I assured him it never actually turns out to be a ghost). He has exact opposite tastes from his sister. For her the more gods, ghosts, wizards and elves the better, for him those things are an instant turn-off.

    He likes animal mysteries the best and Stuart Gibbs' Funjungle series is probably his favorite. I think he'll really like Chet Gecko, and Enola Holmes. You've also reminded me that I have several others like "Curious Incident", "The London Eye Mystery" and "The Westing Game" on the Kindle I gave him (linked to his sister's account). I forgot about them.

    And Skrink--My 14 year old, romance adverse daughter is really into the Ranger's Apprentice books right now. They're still sold in the MG section, but she and her bff are loving that series (There has been sewing for cosplay involved).
    AtomicGirl--Mom, old enough to know better
    Athena--13, 8th grade, home schooled, 2E, wicked cool
    Monkey King- 8, 3rd grade, home schooled, future owner of the galaxy

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Mystery Novel Suggestions--please