Thursday, August 9, 2012
Under Cover #15
I just finished RUSH FOR THE GOLD, an Olympics mystery by bestselling sportswriter John Feinstein. I've been caught up in the Olympics on TV -- especially swimming -- so this one jumped off the shelf and demanded to be read.
It's a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at elite swimming and the Olympics in general, as a high school girl, Susan Carol Anderson, gets a chance to compete at the 2012 Olympics in London, and is quickly caught up in a whirlwind of media, sponsors, and sleazy agents hoping to make money off her if she wins gold. The book is told in alternating viewpoints, between her and her boyfriend Stevie Thomas, an aspiring sportswriter, who tries to get to the bottom of high-stakes behind-the-scenes operation.
The mystery takes a while to get underway, and there's no central crime to kick off the story. The swimming details initially pulled me in, and before I knew it I was caught up in the slowly unfolding mystery of the sponsors' and agents' strange behavior. I'm going to go back and read the previous five sports mysteries involving Stevie and Susan Carol, one of which won the Edgar Award in the YA Category (LAST SHOT, 2006).
I've found the "Final Four" mystery series shelved with middle grade, and I think I see why -- the crimes are not violent, the romance is light -- but I think they could appeal to YA readers too who are looking for fast-paced mysteries set in the world of sports and sports reporting.
I recently read THE CABINET OF THE EARTHS by Anne Nesbet, a stunning middle grade fantasy/mystery with a timeless feel.
When twelve year old Maya and her family move to Paris so her father can take a job with the “Society of Philosophical Chemistry,” she and her charismatic younger brother stumble upon a sinister mystery linked to her family history and a mystery cabinet that seems to hold the key to immortality.
Nesbet’s prose is as magical as the book itself, and I was struck not only by the novel’s inventiveness but by the depth with which it explores ideas about betrayal and power. This is a great book for precocious middle schoolers who enjoy a bit of the fantastical, but nonetheless crave mystery.