As I get ready to embark on my new series, young adult mysteries set in World War II, I’m trying to read as much as I can in the genre. I know the young adult and middle grade books that stuck with me as a child: things like Blubber, Nothing’s Fair in Fifth Grade, Are You There God, It’s Me, Margaret (and heck the entire Judy Blume canon), Bridge to Terabithia, and all of Lois Duncan’s creepy suspense novels like Stranger with My Face and Killing Mr. Griffin. I’m not as well acquainted with books that were published before the eighties, although I have started reading as much as I can based on bookseller, parent, and librarian recommendations. So far I’ve discovered wonderful things like Chris Grabenstein’s Crossroads, Peter Abraham’s delightful Echo Falls mysteries, Judy Blundell’s award-winning What I Saw and How I Lied, and the wonderful Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie (not YA, but the narrator is eleven). I need more recommendations though. What were your favorite middle grade and YA books when you were growing up? What about now? I’m specifically looking for mysteries and historicals, though any recommendations (except fantasy) would be appreciated. And I'd love to know why these books were important to you. For me, nine times out of ten, it's the voice that sells me -- all the writers I read as a preteen and teen managed to strike a chord with my hormonally out-of-whack self. They spoke to me.
And now for some BSP: On Friday, June 12th at 7:00 PM, the marvelous Kathleen George and I will be launching books together at a joint party at Mystery Lovers Bookshop in Oakmont. If you're in the Pittsburgh area, please join us for this exciting double event! If you can’t come, please consider ordering signed copies of Kathleen’s new Richard Christie novel, The Odds, and my latest Rosie Winter mystery, Winter in June.