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John Spray Mystery Award (2019)

By 49th Teachers
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The shortlist for the $5,000 2019 John Spray Mystery Award for children.
Aftermath

Aftermath

edition:Paperback
also available: Hardcover

#1 New York Times bestselling author Kelley Armstrong delivers spine-chilling thrills as a small town deals with the fallout of a school shooting. Secrets don't remain hidden for long in this read: perfect for fans of Kara Thomas's Darkest Corners and Lynn Weingarten's Suicide Notes from Beautiful Girls.

Three years ago, Skye's brother Luka died in a mass shooting at the local high school. But there's no sympathy for Skye and her family because Luka wasn't a victim -- he was a shooter. Now, Skye …

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Excerpt

I will not say that the day Jesse Mandal asked me out was the best of my life. That’s silly, trite, foolish. But I was thirteen, which means I was all of those things. After school, I would have danced home, humming “Best Day Ever.” I’d have tweeted cryptic emojis of hearts and endless exclamation marks. I’d have lain in bed listening to All-Time Five sing about love, glorious love.
I was thirteen. I was that girl. But I didn’t dance home at the end of the day. I didn’t send any tweets. I never listened to ATF again. Because after that day, I’d never be that girl again.

The day started as my days had for the past year, no longer rising to my mom singing whatever song she can mangle my name into—“Good morning, Skye-shine,” or “The Skye will come up tomorrow.” I’d groan and bury my head under the pillow until she went off to do the same to my brother, Luka—who gets Suzanne Vega’s “Luka,” having been named after the song.
It was only when those wake-ups stopped that I realized how much I’d secretly loved them. Just like I’d loved her hot breakfasts, even when I complained that I could sleep in an extra twenty minutes if she’d let me grab a juice box and granola bar, like all my friends did.
That day I rise to the alarm moments before Luka raps on my door with, “Skye? You up?” He showers first—he’s sixteen and needs it more, and sometimes there’s no hot water anyway, if Mom forgot to pay the bill again. We both try to be quiet and not wake her. When Dad is away on business she’s rarely out of bed before noon, and in the past six months he’s been gone more than he’s been home.
I’m grabbing a juice box and bar when Luka says, “That is not a proper breakfast.”
“So you’ve said. Every morning.”
“That isn’t even real juice. You might as well drink soda.”
“Well, then . . .” I take a Coke from the fridge.
He plucks the can from my hand. “Sit. I’m making you scrambled eggs and toast.”
“You don’t have time.”
“I do. Isaac’s picking me up today. He’s borrowing his mom’s car and—”
A horn sounds outside. I arch my brows.
Luka’s cell pings with a text. He reads it and says, “Seriously?”
“That’s Isaac, isn’t it?”
“Yeah. He’s early. Something’s up. So important.” He rolls his eyes. “It always is with him.” He starts to type a response. “I’ll walk to school.”
“Then you’ll be late. And if we fight about it, we’ll wake Mom.”
He hesitates and then says, “Tomorrow, okay? I’ll cook for you tomorrow.”
“And I’ll drink real juice today. Just for you.”
He comes over and squeezes my shoulder. “You’re a good kid, Skye. Even when you try not to be.”
I stick out my tongue. He grins, grabs his backpack and jogs to the door.

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Call of the Wraith

Call of the Wraith

edition:Paperback
also available: Hardcover eBook Audiobook

Christopher Rowe is back and there are more puzzles, riddles, and secrets to uncover in this fourth novel of the award-winning Blackthorn Key series.

Christopher Rowe has no idea who he is. After being shipwrecked in Devonshire, he wakes up alone, his memories gone. Villagers tell him he was possessed by an unseen evil, and only became conscious after being visited by the local witch.
As Christopher tries to get his bearings, he realizes his current state may be far from coincidence. Dark events …

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Tank & Fizz: The Case of Firebane's Folly

Tank & Fizz: The Case of Firebane's Folly

by Liam O'Donnell
illustrated by Mike Deas
edition:eBook
also available: Paperback

When their school bus veers off course while taking the kids from Gravelmuck Elementary on a field trip, monster detectives Tank and Fizz witness a crime that brings them snout to snout with Rockfall Mountain's oldest monster, the ancient dragon Firebane Drakeclaw. Thieves have stolen the Crown of Peace, which keeps the monster clans of the Dark Depths from fighting, and Tank and Fizz saw the whole thing. Now the detectives must track down the thieves and find the crown or their whole class wil …

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Wolfe in Shepherd's Clothing

Wolfe in Shepherd's Clothing

edition:Paperback
also available: eBook

Be careful who you trust. When Charlie Wolfe winds up homeless, Tony Shepherd's family takes him in. But Tony's parents have one request: No more mysteries! The boys want to keep their word … but someone is leaving dismembered bodies around the city and Detective Gekas is asking what they know. Soon, Tony and Charlie are caught in a labyrinth of lies and death—and not everyone is as they seem. Can the boys escape unscathed or will someone they care about end up dead?

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