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Suspect by Kristin Wolden Nitz

Published by Peachtree Publishers

Pages: 224

Ages: Young Adult

Publishers SummarySeventeen-year-old Jen is scheduled to spend a thrilling summer helping Grandma Kay run the Schoenhaus, a Victorian bed and breakfast in the Missouri vineyards. But Grandma Kay’s plans include a lot more than housekeeping. She intends to solve a real mystery from the past involving the disappearance of a beautiful and accomplished young woman.

And the victim was Jen’s own mother.

Ellen disappeared without a trace when her daughter was still young. For years, Jen received holiday gifts in the mail and letters signed by her mother. But then the communication abruptly stopped. Now Grandma Kay is convinced the letters were forged and that her daughter-in-law was murdered.

The stage is set for an elaborate Mystery Weekend at the inn. Family members and friends—including Jen’s very recent ex-boyfriend, her old childhood crush and his insufferable girlfriend—assemble and are assigned roles to play. But as the drama unfolds, Jen makes an important off-stage discovery in the Schoenhaus library. Soon her worst suspicions are aroused: Could a member of her own close-knit family be responsible for her mother’s disappearance?

It’s the summer after junior her of high school and Jen is still recovering from the recent break up with her boyfriend Kent who suffers from “long-distance relationship” phobia. Now, on top of all of that she’s been asked to step in at her Grandma Kay’s bed and breakfast after one of the regulars has been in an accident. Everything seems to be going along fine until she discovers her grandmother’s plans to rehash the disappearance of her mother that happened almost 15 years ago. During a murder-mystery weekend Jen discovers her mother’s disappearance could have been more than just an escape, but a possible murder by someone very close to her.

It’s not often you come across a young adult mystery read. In my own reading past I can honestly say that I’ve never read a purely “mystery” YA book, they’ve always fallen into the adult genres or have some sort of paranormal or fantasy element involved in the plot. Without a doubt Suspect held it’s own, right up there with the adult mysteries I’ve loved with the exception of being a little more fast paced and not nearly as racy. Which actually was a nice change.

Jen’s character as well as my other favorite, Mark were both pretty straight forward, but very well balanced. Both had just enough revealed to make you really interested, but not so much that you couldn’t stand having them in each scene. Another favorite was Grandma Kay. Her persistence to accomplish her mystery weekend and discover Jen’s mom’s killer is something makes her seem just a little off kilter and really intriguing. Nitz did an amazing job of creating characters that you were able to connect with in a reasonably short amount of time, but that were also not quite complete as to add to the mystery behind the story.

Suspect was a complete surprise. I’d never before read a purely young adult mystery novel, normally there is always some element of the paranormal or fantasy to add to the mystery, but Suspect in no way lacked. Kristin Wolden Nitz created a plot and characters that kept me guessing until the very last pages. I could hardly put the book down until I finished it off, which didn’t take very long at all. For mystery lovers and young adult readers this is definitely a book to put on your reading list, don’t miss out on a great read!

The1stdaughter Recommends: Ages 12 and up. A fantastic addition to the small world of Young Adult mystery novels! Perfect for even the youngest of young adult readers as well.

Today’s review is part of our month long celebration of Peachtree Publishers for our monthly feature “Book Publishers 101“. Make sure to stop by the Peachtree Publishers Site for more information about this title and more. For more information about our Book Publishers 101 feature take a look at this month’s opening post.

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4 Responses to Book Review: Suspect by Kristin Wolden Nitz

  1. Whoa. You had me at YA mystery. Brilliant.

  2. Gina says:

    Great review Danielle! Sounds like this one is not to be missed either as I too haven’t run across a pure “mystery” in the YA genre on my own reading adventures. Reminds me of those corny fun “who dun its” that many of the TV shows use to pull in the 90s but with a much more serious mystery to solve. I believe I have this one in Mount TBR and will certainly pull it aside for a much sooner read. Thanks for shedding some light on this title…and happy reading!

  3. Lisa says:

    Great review. I agree that most YA mysteries definitely involve paranormal elements. It’s a nice change to not have that in every YA book.

  4. [...] There’s a Book reviews YA mystery novel Suspect by Kristin Wolden Nitz [...]

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