Mystery, intrigue and spies will keep you reading

ELVIS& OLIVE, by Stephanie Watson, Scholastic Press, ages 9-12; $15.99.

Natalie waits everyday on one corner for her bus to private school. On the other corner is a very strange boy waiting for his bus to public school. Then summer happens.

Natalie was out playing when the boy comes up to her. She soon realizes this boy is really a girl and that they are the same age. Perfect Natalie and Tomboy Annie become friends. Annie shows Natalie her secret clubhouse under her front porch. And what good is a secret clubhouse without secret code names and a secret mission? Annie and Natalie become Elvis and Olive, neighborhood spies.

They soon realize that spying and learning secrets about the neighbors isn’t all that exciting, especially when the secrets they uncover end up hurting people-even each other.

 THE LONDON EYE MYSTERY, by Siobhan Dowd, David Fickling Books, ages 9-12; $15.99.

Salim is about to move to New York with his mom, but is visiting his cousins Ted and Kat in London for a couple of days before he leaves.

They decide the best way to play tourist in London is to go for a ride on the London Eye. When a stranger offers the kids one free ticket, the kids decide Salim should ride by himself and save the money on the other tickets. Ted and Kat watch as Salim gets on the ride. Exactly 30 minutes later, the ride is over and all the passengers get off-all except Salim.

Now Ted and Kat must ignore their brother-sister rivalry, follow the clues and find their cousin.

ICECORE: A CARL HOBBES THRILLER, by Matt Whyman, Atheneum Books for Young Readers, ages 13 and up; $16.99.

Carl is a typical 17-year-old who just happens to be really good at computer hacking. He considers his hacking to be harmless-so what if he changes his grades once in awhile, he only changes them slightly.

Then one day he decides to try hacking into Fort Knox. He figures that any system bragged about as hacker proof deserves to be proven wrong. It isn’t his fault that gold bars were stolen because of his hacking. He didn’t steal the bars. But when the men in black arrive, he is put on an airplane to a detention center where the other prisoners are the world’s worst criminals. How and why did he end up here? All because of a little keyboard fun, Carl is in a fight for his life.

 DARKSIDE (Book 1), by Tom Becker, Orchard Press, ages 11-14; $16.99.

After his home is broken into and his father is put in an asylum, Jonathan isn’t sure where to turn or who to trust.

After he is sure the house is safe, Jonathan returns and goes into his father’s forbidden study. Here he finds an old book with notes about a secret tunnel that leads to a secret underground London. Included in this book is a picture of baby Jonathan with his mother and father, the mother his father would never talk about.

Jonathan realizes the only way to save his father is to go searching for the truth. But the truth includes an underground world full of vampires and werewolves and secrets that have Jonathan running for his life.

THE SECRET AGENTS STRIKE BACK, by Robyn Freedman Spizman and Mark Johnston, Atheneum Books for Young Readers, ages 10-12; $16.99.

A couple of summers ago, Kyle started the secret agents club to help out his dad. This summer the adult who needs their help is Lucinda’s mom.

Lucinda tells the club her family is moving because her mom took a new job. Lucinda’s mom is a biology professor at NYU. But something from her past is back and she is scared-so scared she wants to move.

Kyle and the other agents have to find a way to stop the move. This is the perfect case.

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

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