The best young adult/crossover mystery novels

Who am I?

I’ve been writing fantasy/mystery for around twenty-five years and have self-published a YA series of six books titled the Tyler May series before gaining a traditional publishing deal in 2019. Since then, I’ve had four books published (the Banyard & Mingle Mysteries) which chart the investigations and adventures of a pair of roguish private detectives in a future, Dickensian Britain. I am constantly researching – and have been for many years – true crime stories, and my intake of books, TV, and film consists of archaeology, forensics, crime, murder mystery, fantasy, and thriller. I’m also partial to a good historical whodunnit.


I wrote...

Seraph of the Sallow Grove

By B J Mears,

Book cover of Seraph of the Sallow Grove

What is my book about?

Set in a future Britain when the world is recovering from a cataclysm, this book charts the adventures of two very different private detectives as they work a perplexing case: 

When a dog unearths a body from a shallow grave, Banyard and Mingle set out to discover who is killing silkers and burying them there. Before long the body count rises. All the victims are important men who went missing from Camdon city around the 17th of each month. With the 17th of Elventide approaching, can Banyard and Mingle prevent another murder? And in the face of increasing political pressure to close the case, can they make sure the right person is apprehended?

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of The Screaming Staircase

B J Mears Why did I love this book?

This is a brilliant book, introducing the fantastic trio of solid characters who make up Lockwood’s paranormal investigations team. Stroud’s writing style is so easy to read that I fall effortlessly through his books, this one included, barely noticing that I’m holding a paperback in my hands. The story is every bit as captivating as a gripping whodunit, with twists you certainly don’t see coming. First rate!

By Jonathan Stroud,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked The Screaming Staircase as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 8, 9, 10, and 11.

What is this book about?

SOON TO BE A NETFLIX SERIES

A sinister Problem has occurred in London: all nature of ghosts, haunts, spirits, and specters are appearing throughout the city, and they aren't exactly friendly. Only young people have the psychic abilities required to see-and eradicate-these supernatural foes. Many different Psychic Detection Agencies have cropped up to handle the dangerous work, and they are in fierce competition for business.

In The Screaming Staircase, the plucky and talented Lucy Carlyle teams up with Anthony Lockwood, the charismatic leader of Lockwood & Co, a small agency that runs independent of any adult supervision. After an assignment…


Book cover of I Am the Messenger

B J Mears Why did I love this book?

I Am the Messenger begins with a scene that grabbed me by the collars and hurled me into the book. I can’t praise this one highly enough. It is perhaps more of a literary, young adult novel than most others, so is unusual in that sense, but don’t let that put you off. It’s fantastic.

Ed Kennedy’s character is a cherry on a rather delicious cake, marbled with the stories of those around him. The plot pivots on a mystery that works, but I also found myself reading it just to be with the characters and to revel in the masterly skill of an incredible writer. I’ve read it at least twice now, and will be reading it again, no doubt.

By Markus Zusak,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked I Am the Messenger as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

What is this book about?

DON’T MISS BRIDGE OF CLAY, MARKUS ZUSAK’S FIRST NOVEL SINCE THE BOOK THIEF AND AN UNFORGETTABLE AND SWEEPING FAMILY SAGA.
 

From the author of the extraordinary #1 New York Times bestseller The Book Thief, I Am the Messenger is an acclaimed novel filled with laughter, fists, and love. 


A MICHAEL L. PRINTZ HONOR BOOK
FIVE STARRED REVIEWS

Ed Kennedy is an underage cabdriver without much of a future. He's pathetic at playing cards, hopelessly in love with his best friend, Audrey, and utterly devoted to his coffee-drinking dog, the Doorman. His life is one of peaceful routine and incompetence until…


Book cover of The Chrysalids

B J Mears Why did I love this book?

I first read The Chrysalids at school because it was on the English Lit curriculum, but it made an impact on me that has never left – so much so, that some forty years later I was compelled to hunt down a copy to reread. Forty years is long enough to forget much of the detail, so I was able to enjoy it all over again. A brilliant story about a boy who discovers he has an exceptional gift/mutation in a harsh world that’s recovering from a cataclysm. Vividly pictured and beautifully crafted.

By John Wyndham,

Why should I read it?

9 authors picked The Chrysalids as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In the community of Waknut it is believed mutants are the products of the Devil and must be stamped out. When David befriends a girl with a slight abnormality, he begins to understand the nature of fear and oppression. When he develops his own deviation, he must learn to conceal his secret.


Book cover of After the Snow

B J Mears Why did I love this book?

After the Snow follows the adventures of a boy who finds his family is missing when returning home in the snow-bound hills. The settings and atmosphere in the book are beautifully worked, as is the voice, which I found to be bold, fluent, and captivating. The characters are strong and the plot bumps along at a good pace. Another must-read!

By S. D. Crockett,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked After the Snow as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

What is this book about?

The oceans stopped working before Willo was born, so the world of ice and snow is all he's ever known. He lives with his family deep in the wilderness, far from the government's controlling grasp. Willo's survival skills are put to the test when he arrives home one day to find his family gone. It could be the government; it could be scavengers--all Willo knows is he has to find refuge and his family. It is a journey that will take him into the city he's always avoided, with a girl who needs his help more than he knows.

S.D.…


Book cover of The Graveyard Book

B J Mears Why did I love this book?

I didn’t want this book to end. It grabbed me from the first pages and swiftly drew me into a twisted tail of assassins, ghosts, and the supernatural. The characters – whether living or dead – are wonderfully portrayed and full of humanity in a way that makes spending time with them a delight. The fantasy elements, as with all of Gaiman’s works, are skillfully rendered. This one’s on my to read again list.

By Neil Gaiman, Dave McKean (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

16 authors picked The Graveyard Book as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 10, 11, 12, and 13.

What is this book about?

When a baby escapes a murderer intent on killing his entire family, who would have thought it would find safety and security in the local graveyard? Brought up by the resident ghosts, ghouls and spectres, Bod has an eccentric childhood learning about life from the dead. But for Bod there is also the danger of the murderer still looking for him - after all, he is the last remaining member of the family. A stunningly original novel deftly constructed over eight chapters, featuring every second year of Bod's life, from babyhood to adolescence. Will Bod survive to be a man?


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Book cover of One Giant Leap

Ben Gartner Author Of The Eye of Ra

New book alert!

Who am I?

I love to read a good action-adventure story. I’ve also written a few. And I know that no matter how high the stakes, if there’s no heart in the characters then there’s very little engagement to make it any more memorable than a temporary thrill. I love thrills, but the stories that stick with you after the excitement of the moment is over, those are the true gems. Besides the fun of reading that type of book, maybe you even learn something about yourself or the world and come out a wee bit wiser than when you went in. And isn’t that a fantastic use of our imaginative powers?!

Ben's book list on new action-packed middle grade with heart

What is my book about?

I’m pretty sure I’m about to die in space. And I just turned twelve and a half.

Blast off with the four winners of the StellarKid Project on a trip to the International Space Station and then to the Gateway outpost orbiting the Moon! It’s a dream come true until space junk collides with the ISS, turning their epic trip into a nightmare of survival. Alone aboard the Aether starship, the kids have to work as a team to save the adults before the ISS is destroyed. Suit up, cadet, and launch into adventure with One Giant Leap!

By Ben Gartner,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked One Giant Leap as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 8, 9, 10, and 11.

What is this book about?

I’m pretty sure I’m about to die in space. And I just turned twelve and a half.

Blast off with the four winners of the StellarKid Project on a trip to the International Space Station and then to the Gateway outpost orbiting the Moon! It’s a dream come true until space junk collides with the ISS, turning their epic trip into a nightmare of survival. Alone aboard the Aether starship, the kids have to work as a team to save the adults before the ISS is destroyed. Suit up, cadet, and launch into adventure with One Giant Leap!

Praise for…


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