I don’t know what it is about reading mysteries in the summertime, but it just seems right to me. I have always enjoyed sitting on a deck chair, poolside, and grabbing a good mystery out of my bag. I can smell the sun tan lotion and chlorine now…
One pleasant surprise, though, is when I crack the spine of my paperback and realize that the mystery I am reading is also set in the summer. It just makes it all the more enjoyable. If you’re looking for a good mystery set in the summertime for your poolside reading, check out these titles:
Shift by Jennifer Bradbury (2009 Best Books for Young Adults)
The mystery: A disappearance
Chris and Win set off for a bike trip the summer after they graduate high school. Told in alternating chapters set in the present and the past, Chris recalls the moments of the trip that may lead to a clue about where Win disappeared to after the huge fight that led them to part ways as they made their way home. In the present, Chris is suspected by police when he returns from the trip and Win does not.
Black Rabbit Summer by Kevin Brooks
The mystery: Missing persons
Pete’s friends are getting together for one last hurrah after high school graduation. It is the kind of event that brings all your old friends together before everyone heads off to college — and some friends you want to see, while others you don’t. However, something goes wrong and Pete wakes up the next morning to find out that one of his “friends” is missing, and so is a local girl who may have been with the group at some point in the night.
The Morgue and Me by John C. Ford
The mystery: A murder cover-up
Christopher is working at the morgue for the summer as a janitor. He has a strong interest in forensic science and thinks the job will be interesting. Christopher has no idea. His natural questioning nature leads him to discover a corpse that has been ruled a suicide, but it has multiple gunshot wounds to the chest. Christopher believes there is no way that it was death by suicide. That and the large amount of hidden cash he discovers leads Christopher on a chase to uncover the mystery behind the cover-up.
Sea Change by Aimee Friedman
The mystery: Family secrets, and maybe a supernatural secret?
Miranda and her mother have inherited a summer home after her grandmother’s passing. They set off for Selkie Island off the coast of Georgia to prepare the home for sale. Miranda, with a deep interest in science, has a hard time believing some of the legends she hears about the island from the locals and the rich teens who are there for the summer. However, as Miranda delves deeper into the house and its contents, she begins to undercover secrets that make her question much of what she believes.
Acceleration by Graham McNamee (2006 Selected Audiobooks for Young Adults, 2004 Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers, 2004 Best Books for Young Adults)
The mystery: A murder plot
Duncan believes he has the most boring summer job working in the Toronto subway’s lost and found. One day while trying to find something to do, Duncan comes across a journal in the lost and found. Unable to resist the temptation, he reads the journal. Duncan soon discovers that it belonged to one sick individual. He believes that he has stumbled across the journal of a serial killer. Duncan thinks that by using the journal he can find the killer. When the police don’t take him seriously, though, Duncan sets off to stop the killer himself. Can he find the killer — and at what cost to his own life?
Jasper Jones by Craig Silvey (2012 Printz Honor Book)
The mystery: A mysterious death
Set in a small town in Australia in the 1960’s, this novel is named after the mysterious young town outcast who wakes Charlie up one night to show him something. What that something turns out to be is a dead body of a girl they both know. Jasper and Charlie hide the girl’s body, fearing that Jasper will most definitely be blamed due to his mixed race as a half-aboriginal. As the long, hot summer days drag on, the suspicion grows, and Charlie and Jasper fear being found out and blamed for the girl’s death.
— Colleen Seisser, currently reading The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh
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