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Check It Out

Courier Article by Charles Sutton
Sunday, May 25, 2008

Summer reading programs full of fun and mystery

This year's summer reading program, "Get a Clue @ Your Library" and the "Fresh Start" campaign are two fantastic ways for children and teens to read and be rewarded.

Both programs run through July 21. Children and teens who complete the summer reading program may win some fantastic prizes.

If fines are blocking your library card, get a Fresh Start. Children and teens through age 17 can reduce their library fines by reading in the library this summer. Take advantage of this limited opportunity.

Sign up for either program at any Evansville Vanderburgh Public Library location and pick up one of these hot titles.

"Something Rotten" by Alan Gratz

This is a modern twist on Shakespeare's "Hamlet." I suggest you check out the two books together. "Something Rotten" stands alone, but after reading, you might be inspired to read the classic.

Hamilton Prince and best friend Horatio Wilkes discover evidence that Rex Prince didn't die of cancer. He was murdered. Horatio, sworn to help his friend solve the murder, has plenty of suspects.

Hamilton's ex-girlfriend, environmentalist Olivia Mendelsohn, wants the Prince family to pay for their role in polluting the river. Trudy Prince, Hamilton's mom, who remarries her dead husband's brother, Claude; and Ford Branff, who attempts a hostile takeover of Elsinore Paper have motive and access.

It's a regular whodunit with suspense and passion.

"Steel Trapp: The Challenge" by Ridley Pearson

Steven Trapp got his nickname from a teacher for having "a mind like a steel trap." Steel Trapp has a photographic memory. He is never mistaken — precocious, overconfident, intelligent and geeky, maybe, but not mistaken.

The book starts with a good deed — the return of a forgotten briefcase to its owner. When the owner refuses to accept the briefcase, Steel re-boards the train perplexed.

Why would the owner lie about the briefcase?

Confusion and curiosity gets the best of him. He steals a glimpse of a photograph inside the briefcase and meets Kaileigh, an ex-National Science Challenge finalist and runaway looking to find her stolen experiment. The two find themselves in the middle of an investigation of national security and must match wits to solve the case. A mixture of action, adventure and science, this one is difficult to put down.

"Doppelganger" by Pete Hautman and Mary Logue

The third book in the Bloodwater Mysteries finds teen investigative journalist Roni Delicata without a story to pursue or a mystery to solve. She's miserable until she finds an "age-progressed" photo that bears a striking resemblance to her friend and mystery-solving partner Brian Bain on a missing-children Web site.

Family secrets surrounding Brian's adoption disturb him and intrigue Roni. The two set out to find answers related to Brian's rather Bryce Doblemun's abduction.

It's full of weird characters, dead ends, plot twists and slapstick humor.

When you reach the end, you will be surprised.

Charles Sutton is a teen specialist for the Evansville-Vanderburgh Public Library. Contact him at 428-8217. The opinions in this column are personal.