Diana Renn: I'm re-reading THE CHRISTOPHER KILLER by Alane Ferguson. Warning: it's not for the faint of heart, or for the very young reader. The teen sleuth, Cameryn, is the daughter of the county coroner in a small town in Colorado, and she aspires to become a forensic pathologist. She's up close and personal with dead bodies and autopsies, and you'll learn more than you might have wanted to about this science. But wow, wow, wow, what a mystery. I really couldn't figure out who did it until the end. Expert use of red herrings, suspects, and reveals, in unpredictable ways. Here's what I really love: Ferguson takes a dark premise (a girl trying to track down a serial killer, who has just killed someone she knows) and shines the light into it. There is opportunity for spiritual reflection and growth, for dealing with the reality of loss, and even -- incredibly -- humor. I'm reading it again to figure out how she pulled off this incredible high-wire act.
W.H. Beck: I just finished ICEFALL by Matthew Kirby over Thanksgiving. I actually read it all in one gulp--it was that good. Set in the north in the time of beserkers and Vikings, overlooked second daughter Solveig and her siblings are sent to live in a distant fortress on a fjord when their father, the king, goes to war. Once the fjord freezes, they will be safe from any invaders. Only it slowly becomes clear that, even though they are with their father's most trusted servants and guards, there is a traitor among them--and now that the fjord is frozen, they are all trapped. Will they survive? Who is the saboteur? Is their father winning or losing his war? As Solveig grapples with these questions, she also learns the power of Story from her father's skald and starts to figure out what her own power might be. A locked-room mystery with characters to cry over, an unusual setting, and important themes. Loved it.
Kristen Kittscher: I'm finally reading the 2009 mystery THE SWEETNESS AT THE BOTTOM OF THE PIE, 70-year old Alan Bradley's brilliant debut, which has me hoping he'll be writing well into his 90s. I'm a sucker for precocious young protagonists, and -- while this is not a YA title -- it features one of the most entertaining young geniuses you'll ever encounter: eleven year old Flavia De Luce, a budding chemist whose wry, deadpan observations about her world light up this funny, clever cozy-esque mystery set in 1950s England. Though not a fast-paced book, it's a tale that bookish teens are just as likely to enjoy as adults.
Elisa Ludwig: I'm reading NOTHING by Janne Teller. Talk about dark! This book is extremely creepy and bone-chilling, but brilliant in its simplicity.