Alender, Katie. Marie Antoinette, Serial Killer
24 September 2013, Scholastic Press
Colette Iselin is glad to be spending a week in Paris on a school trip with her good friends Hannah and Pilar, getting away from her divorcing parents in Toledo, Ohio. Before leaving, she has found a necklace with an interesting symbol on it, and when she arrives in France, she sees a ghost at several historic sites. Since there is a serial killer at large in Paris, Colette is a bit concerned, but not so concerned that she avoids making friends with the hottie stranger, Armand, as well as the scholarly tour guide, Jules. In between parties and shopping, Colette and Jules research her medallion and find that her family, along with the families of the young people who have been killed in a particularly grisly fashion (beheaded, although this is not described in too much detail), were members of L'Ordre de la Cle, members of French society who were supposed to protect Marie Antoinette, but who instead betrayed her. The descendents of these families are all being killed along a path in Paris, and Colette has to decide whether to flee Paris or to face the ghost.
Weaknesses: Worst cover and title ever. Okay, I'm wrong. That would be Bad Taste in Boys. But this cover is not a good fit for a rather strong ghost mystery. It makes it seem like it will be one of those Little Vampire Women books, and it's not. This isn't the best ghost mystery, but it was solid, and if it had a better cover I would buy it without hesitation. Would have liked it even more if we didn't know from the start that the ghost was Marie Antoinette.
Strengths: I read this because I adored Alender's Bad Girls Don't Die series, and this is a featured title in the Scholastic book fair this week. It had a lot of good things going for it; fashion, travel, hot boys, violent ghosts. Definitely more of a young adult feel, but still okay for middle school. Sadly, the hardcover and paperback both seem to have the same picture.
Carter, Ally. United We Spy (Gallager Girls #6)
September 17th 2013, Disney-Hyperion
Cammie is back for her senior year in high school, and is thinking vague thoughts about college, but a much more pressing issue is the continued existence of the Circle of Cavan, which is killing off a number of people and has Cammie in their sights as well. Zach's mother (who tortured Cammie) is still on the loose. When the girls realize that the circle is using Liz's entry essay as a plan to destroy the world and cause chaos and devastation, they know that they have to stop them, even if it means grave personal danger for themselves and their friends.
Strengths: *Sigh* So good. Sad that the series has ended, but looking forward to whatever Ms. Carter is writing next!
Weaknesses: These books are hard to review because I get so lost in them!