I recently read Peter Abrahams’s latest YA book Reality Check, which has just been released in paperback. I’ve had a growing interest in reading mysteries, a genre which I somehow completely missed growing up. Even with that interest, this isn’t the sort of book I would have picked up in a million years, except that I so enjoyed Abrahams’s Echo Falls series. Well, I finished it, but mostly because it was such a quick read. I can’t say it was my cup of tea at all. The protagonist was just so relentlessly dumb. I get what Abrahams was trying to do in showing that his persistence and good intentions eventually paid off, even if he wasn’t the brightest bulb. Still, I spent most of the read thinking that it was an annoying plot device that just let him give the reader clues at a slower rate.
So forget about that. But do read Abrahams’s wonderful Echo Falls series, which begins with Down the Rabbit Hole. These are in the YA section, but the characters and the handling of the crimes and mysteries are done with a little more innocence than Reality Check. The main character, 13 year-old Ingrid, is smart enough to know better than to keep getting involved all the town’s mysteries, but her curiosity keeps getting the better of her. I like how Abrahams hits on a familiar young adult theme by making the grown-ups around Ingrid, even the well-meaning ones, incapable of helping her. Even though Ingrid is clever, she’s still clearly a kid, not a miniature adult. I’ve seen this series compared to Veronica Mars. I don’t know if I’d say it’s that good. All of Ingrid’s mysteries are also considerably less complex than season two of Veronica Mars. But I certainly enjoyed reading, even if I occasionally saw the plot twists coming.