Book: Murder at the Lake
Author: Bren Gaudet
Age: 9-12/possibly YA?
From: Phenix & Phenix
When seventeen-year-old Amanda Christie is invited to a cousins-only weekend retreat at her aunt's estate in Austin, Texas, she doesn't know what to expect. But she soon finds that the weekend will be anything but boring. One of the guests is responsible for the death of Amanda's uncle, and when a dangerous storm traps the teens inside the secluded mansion, Amanda becomes determined to uncover the killer. But when their cell phones go missing and the guests begin to disappear, Amanda realizes that the killer isn't finished. With time running out and no way of knowing who to trust, she must either uncover the murderer...or risk being the next victim.
Review: Murder at the Lake's Amanda Christie definitely does have Nancy Drew-like qualities. At first, I found her a bit difficult to like, but then I grew to enjoy her character and her abilities for sleuthing. The beginning of the novel is a bit slow, until a few chapters in when the suspense picks up. One by one, the cousin's and their friends are picked off, and Amanda is out to find out who is behind everything before it's too late to save herself.
What I liked the most was that this was a clean novel (I only counted one cuss word, I believe). However, that was also what brought the realism down a bit. A group of kids ranging from 16-21, and only one cuss word? A little odd, but I got over it easily enough.
Highlights: Gaudet really had me caught in the pages once the mystery got going. I kept wondering who was next, who was the killer (which I guessed correctly! Yes!), and the end was still a partial surprise to me. Once Gaudet got to the mystery & suspense, I was happy to keep turning the pages.
Lowlights: In the beginning, I felt like the characters were a bit...drab, boring. The beginning felt a little off, compared to the rest of the novel. Yet, I have high hopes for the next one!