The best books to hook young readers on puzzling and magical mysteries

The Books I Picked & Why

Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow

By Jessica Townsend

Book cover of Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow

Why this book?

I haven’t been this excited about a series since Harry Potter. I love, love, LOVE Morrigan and have read this series over and over. They’re magically mysterious with amazing characters and wondrous world-building! I was especially impressed with the Christmas Eve parade, the gigantic Magnificat, and the magical battle between St. Nick and the Yule Queen. Fantastic series!!

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Six Feet Below Zero

By Ena Jones

Book cover of Six Feet Below Zero

Why this book?

I love a thrilling mystery with secrets, humor, and surprises. I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough to find out if anyone would realize Rosie and Baker were hiding their Great-Grandma in a freezer. It was all Great-Grandma's idea! The kids race against time to piece together clues to find a missing will and save the family home from destruction. Reminiscent of an Alfred Hitchcock story with unexpected twists and heart-pounding danger. Fun mystery!

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By Ben Guterson, Chloe Bristol

Book cover of Winterhouse

Why this book?

It’s fun to travel and stay at hotels, so I couldn’t resist this mystery set in a very mysterious and magical hotel. When orphaned Elizabeth is sent away to Winterhouse Hotel, she finds a puzzle book and solves cryptic clues that lead to secret passages and magic. Readers will enjoy trying to decipher the secret codes and clever puzzles. Enjoy!!

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Sammy Keyes and the Hotel Thief

By Wendelin Van Draanen

Book cover of Sammy Keyes and the Hotel Thief

Why this book?

When Sammy Keyes witnesses a burglary, she must solve the crime before the thief catches her! Sammy is clever, sneaky, sassy, and brave. Her actress mother is too busy for her, she doesn’t have a father, and she’s living illegally with her grandma in a seniors-only hotel. Exciting, mysterious, and funny! Not many series go past three books, but super sleuth Sammy stars in 18 books! I collected the whole series.

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Book Scavenger

By Jennifer Chambliss Bertman

Book cover of Book Scavenger

Why this book?

Instead of Willy Wonka’s candy hunt, Garrison Griswold created a game called Book Scavenger, where books are hidden all over the country. But when Griswold is attacked, Emily and James follow cryptic clues to a missing book—and a dangerous thief. I love books where BOOKS are part of the mystery. And I enjoyed the San Francisco setting, having visited there many times. Book Scavenger is an exciting ride through pages!

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