Whodunnit: Teen Mysteries

Whodunnit: Teen Mysteries

Revenge, missing keys, blood feuds, cash prizes—teen books are mysterious places!  Put your problem-solving skills to the test with these great novels!

The Puzzling World of Winston Breen, by Eric Berlin
Winston loves puzzles—patterns, numbers, words, all kinds.  So when his sister Katie finds four wooden pieces with words on them inside the box he picked out for her birthday, he knows that it’s something big.  The puzzle gets bigger when two different strangers approach, each demanding Winston help them find the mysterious treasure.  Winston and Katie will have to work together (and with the strangers!) to find the solution—but first they have to find the rest of the clues!  

The Name of This Book is Secret, by Pseudonymous Bosch
11-year-old misfits Cass and Max-Ernest find a mysterious box, The Symphony of Smells, filled with vials and an encoded plea for help. And from there, their troubles begin: an eccentric magician has been killed, a classmate has been kidnapped, and Cass is getting scolded on manners whenever she tells the principal what clues she has. This engaging mystery-adventure will keep you on the edge of your seat!

The Rag and Bone Shop, by Robert Cormier
Jason doesn’t fit in with kids his own age, and in fact his closest friend may be a classmate’s seven-year-old sister, Alicia.  But when Alicia is murdered, Jason—the last person to see her alive—is hauled in for questioning by a cold, calculating detective who wants a confession.  Jason is stunned, confused, and uncertain: what really did happen that day? And how much of it was Jason’s fault?

Drawing a Blank, or, How I Tried to Solve a Mystery, End a Feud, and Land the Girl of My Dreams, by Daniel Ehrenhaft
Carlton Dunne IV knows he’s a geek—but at least he’s not as bad-off as his dad, who believes that a centuries-old feud is still active. But then Carlton’s dad is kidnapped by the very Scotsman Carlton never believed in, and Carlton is the only one who can go to his rescue. If that’s not enough on his plate, he’s on a deadline for the comic he writes and draws for the local paper, and there’s one particular fan who wants to help. And he’ll need all the help he can get.

Pattern Recognition, by William Gibson
Viral marketing, globetrotting, logo phobias, and corporate espionage—plus internet culture, pop culture, advertising, and paranoia.  But most of that is beside the point: who is making the Footage that everyone’s talking about?  To what purpose?  And who is it sending hired thugs after Cayce to make sure she’s not the first to find out?  

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, by Mark Haddon
Autistic teen Christopher has been falsely accused of a crime: murdering his neighbor’s poodle.  Christopher, lacking the social filters necessary to empathize with people, relies on logic to help him crack the case—and while he’s at it, he might gain some understanding of his parents’ failed marriage and his place in the world.  For a teen who says he doesn’t understand jokes, Curious Incident is remarkably funny and touching.

We Have Always Lived in the Castle, by Shirley Jackson
Merricat has been living in their house all her life, with just her sister and their dementia-addled uncle since the rest of the family was poisoned years ago.  She enjoys their separate world, apart from the whole town, and buries her possessions in the yard where they’ll keep her family safe from harm.  This is sort of a mystery where you know the answers from the first page, but still can’t help root for the culprit.

Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life, Wendy Mass
Jeremy has been given a box that he’s supposed to open it on his 13th birthday, and (according to the writing on it) it’s supposed to contain the Meaning of Life.  The problem: all 4 keys are missing. Jeremy enlists his best friend, and with her help, they break into the office of the lawyer who sent the box, get caught, and are sentenced to community service. Jeremy's getting desperate: he has less than a month to go, and he still hasn’t found the keys. He’s enjoying helping other people, but is there anyone helping him?

The Westing Game, by Ellen Raskin
Sam Westing is worth over two hundred million dollars.  He owns the fancy apartment building near his mansion, and has rented out each apartment to specially-chosen individuals and families.  Sam Westing is also dead, and has left a will behind—a will that accuses one of his tenants of his murder, and pits the sixteen tenants against each other in a competition to discover the circumstances of his death.  “Who among you is worthy to be the Westing heir? The estate is at the crossroads. The heir who wins the windfall will be the one who finds the truth.”

Agnes Quill: An Anthology of Mystery, by Dave Roman
Agnes Quill is unusual, even among 16-year-old detectives: she is able to communicate with the dead, to solve the mysteries they left behind (and sometimes the mysteries of how they got that way!).  This graphic novel collects four of Agnes’s cases in her haunted city, each drawn by a different artist.

The Mysterious Benedict Society, by Trenton Lee Stewart
Raynie is very excited to be one of only four who pass the exam for Gifted Children Looking for Special Opportunities. The four are sent on an undercover mission to the Learning Institute for the Very Enlightened, where they must think, climb, and puzzle their way through to stop the shady Headmaster’s nefarious plans...

So Yesterday, by Scott Westerfeld
Hunter’s job is to spot new things that are cool, show them to his boss Mandy, and let her spread them around to the major corporation she works for.  Hunter’s life is going fine—until he meets Jen, an Innovator (the step above Hunter on the cool pyramid), and Mandy is abducted by a mysterious anti-branding company.  Can Hunter and Jen find Mandy before the anti-corporation finds them?

I Am the Messenger, by Markus Zusak
Ed Kennedy is the type of guy who could accidentally stop a bank robbery—and that’s exactly what happens to him.  Soon after, he starts getting playing cards in the mail.  Sometimes they have addresses, sometimes names, but it’s up to Ed to make sense of them—and discover who they’re coming from, and why.