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Tag: alice sebold

True Crime: Books, Podcasts, and Documentaries

With Season 2 of the popular podcast Serial nearing the end of this current season, the FX original limited series, The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story, and the runaway Netflix hit Making a Murderer, our fascination with crime stories doesn’t seem to wane. Maybe the draw is that we want to see justice served, or we want to know if we could spot the true crime in a situation, or maybe it has something to do with the fact that, as one of the lawyers in Making a Murderer says, “We could all say that we’re never going to commit a crime. But we can never guarantee that someone else won’t accuse us of a crime.” Whatever the reason, one thing it does is challenge our worldview.

true crime stories for young adults
CC image via Flickr user Tony Webster

 

For readers that enjoy a suspenseful or thriller type mystery, true crime can be a great nonfiction option. True crime can also be a great gateway to other narrative nonfiction for readers that don’t see themselves as nonfiction readers; through it they might find themselves spellbound. Here is a list of heart-pounding true crime books and other media.

Borden Murders Cover                  Chasing Lincoln's Killer              hole-in-my-life-cover

The Borden Murders: Lizzie Borden & the Trial of the Century by Sarah Elizabeth Miller

One of the most followed crime cases of the late 1800s, Miller reexamines the brutal crime that left Lizzie Borden’s father and step-mother hacked to death with an ax, and why so many thought it was Lizzie’s doing.

Chasing Lincoln’s Killer by James L. Swanson (2010 Best Books for Young Adults)

Relive the heart-racing account of the twelve-day chase and capture of John Wilkes Booth and his accomplices in this historical thriller.

Hole in My Life by Jack Gantos (2003 Printz Honor Book, Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults 2006, 2003 Best Books for Young Adults, 2004 Selected Audiobooks for Young Adults)

Shortly after graduating from high school, Gantos accepted an offer of $10,000 to help sail a boat full of hash from St. Croix to New York, eventually landing him in prison.

Murder Mystery Friday

clueIt was Professor Plum in the billiard room with the revolver. No, no, no, it was the Butler in the kitchen with the rope! This week’s Monday Poll about our favorite teen detectives got me thinking about my favorite YA mysteries. And it was the Castle marathon I’ve been having this summer and a friend’s social media commentary on her Veronica Mars re-watch that got me thinking about my favorite YA murder mysteries.

Much like Ms. Mars’s first season attempting to solve her best friend’s murder, here are some of my favorite murder mysteries and the protagonists who attempted to solve them.

Discovering Your “Brand” of Fantasy

fantasyHave you ever picked up a fantasy book and loved it, then tried to follow-up with another, only to find that it’s just not working for you? Have your friends ever complained that they just couldn’t get into fantasy, but when you ask, they’ve only tried one or two books before giving up on the whole genre? If you answered yes to either question, you or someone you know may need to discover their “brand” of fantasy!

Fantasy is a huge genre, divided into many distinct and varied sub-genres. While some readers may love to delve into any type of fantasy, others may find themselves loving one book, then being utterly bored or bewildered by the next. Some readers may even be amazed to discover that they are reading a fantasy because the fantastic elements might be so subtle within the novel.

For example, one reader could love Alice Sebold’s The Lovely Bones but be unable to finish Christopher Paolini’s Eragon. Another could love Eragon but immediately dislike Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere. Yet another could love Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere, but be put off by Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus.

So how would a reader discover what fantasies they do like?