Great books to fill an afternoon

FOUND, The Missing Book 1, by Margaret Peterson Haddix, Simon& Schuster Children’s Publishing, $15.99; ages 10-13.

Thirteen-year-old Jonah and his best friend, Chip, are adopted. Things get interesting for the pair when they begin receiving mysterious letters in the mail, the first one saying, “You are one of the missing.” This mystery takes on the FBI, a disappearing airplane and people who seem to just disappear and reappear at will.

 DOUBLE OR DIE (A James Bond Adventure), by Charlie Higson, Hyperion, $16.99; ages 11-13.

A professor is kidnapped in a cemetery, a scientist is murdered in his lab and a cryptic letter full of clues is found. Need I say more? A mystery can’t get any more intriguing than this. James Bond has only 48 hours to save the professor and maybe even the world.

HOUSE OF DARK SHADOWS, Book 1; WATCHER IN THE WOODS, Book 2, by Robert Liparulo, Thomas Nelson Publishers, $14.99; ages 12-14.

The King family is moving from L.A. to a small town in northern California. Fifteen-year-old David is not too happy. Plus, this new old house is creepy-it has weird sounds, large footprints in the dust and a secret passage to school in the linen closet. Then the really weird stuff starts to happen.

In book 2, David and his brother and sister are stuck pretending everything is OK. But the reality is quite the opposite. Their mom is missing. A stranger has shown up who wants them out of the house. And most importantly, what secret is dad keeping?

 A LA CARTE, by Tanita Davis, Knopf Books for Young Readers, $15.99; ages 11-14.

Laini wants to be a chef, but not just any chef; she wants to be the first African-American vegetarian chef on TV. Laini’s idol is Saint Julia (as in Julia Child). She watches old Saint Julia shows and then whips up something for herself, talking to her imaginary TV audience.

Laini’s recipes are sprinkled throughout the book.

 MARLEY Z AND THE BLOODSTAINED VIOLIN, by Jim Fusilli, Dutton Children's Books, $16.99; ages 9-12.

Marisol is being sent to the principal’s office and the principal says, “Marley, you’d better come along too.” The police are there waiting for them and they have a video of Marisol stealing a very rare violin from Juilliard. Marisol swears she didn’t do it so Marley sets out to prove her friend’s innocence. The adventure takes us throughout the city of New York and Marley is an excellent tour guide. I hope this book is the beginning of a great new series. Marley and her friends make reading fun.

Sandi Pedersen is the mom of four and the Web mistress for Chicago Parent. 
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