Twisty Mysteries Keep You Guessing

By Mrs. McHugh

HHS Librarian/Advisor of The Hawk

Brynn and Mia are 13-years-old when they’re accused of killing their best friend, Summer. The brutal ritualized murder was inspired by a fantasy story the trio was obsessed with, according to police. When lack of evidence and shoddy police work allow the girls to go free, they are outcasts in their town, considered by neighbors to be evil incarnate.

Except, they claim, they didn’t do it. And five years later, they’re determined to clear their names and find the real killer.

This is the plot of Broken Things by Lauren Oliver, a mystery/thriller that will keep you glued to the page. As the story alternates between then and now, you learn more about the victim Summer, whose years bouncing around foster homes left her troubled and turbulent. You get to know Mia and Brynn and why they were drawn to the exciting, but often toxic, friendship. You dive into the fantasy story the girls tried to recreate, both in their afterschool adventures and fan fiction they wrote together. You meet ex-boyfriends, bus drivers and  other characters and wonder what role they played – if not in the murder then in the drama surrounding Summer’s final months.

The book leaves you guessing until the heartbreaking reveal. It is then that you realize that the book is not just a mystery, but a tragedy.

Not just one murder, but thirteen are at the heart of The Forest of Stolen Girls by June Hur. Hwani and Maewol are children when they get lost in the woods and are found, unconscious, next to the body of a dead young woman. The girls are impacted in vastly different ways and the family is torn apart. Years later, after 13 other girls are missing and presumed dead, Hwani’s detective father tries to investigate. Instead, he disappears as well. Defying the norms of a culture that require young ladies to stay hidden at home while they await marriage (it’s Korea, in the 1400s), Hwani sets out to find her father and solve the mystery of the missing girls.

While I enjoy historical fiction, I normally read books set in more recent history. I’m not usually drawn to stories of maidens and emperors. Yet the conflict at this book is timeless – girls fighting the expectations of an oppressive society – and the mystery is engaging. Whenever I thought I figured out the story, a new twist would arise. 

For more mysteries, check out the Genre Lists at

13 thoughts on “Twisty Mysteries Keep You Guessing”

  1. The book, Broken Things, reminds me of this TV show that I watched a while ago, but I forget what it was called. I am really interested in murder mystery and fiction books, and both of these books somewhat intrest me. I think that I might check them out in the library sometime in the future.


  2. Evelyn, there’s a big display of thrillers right now in the library. Many are murder mysteries. Come by and check them out!


  3. The article I read was twisting mysteries to keep you guessing. It got me interested in both of the books, Broken Girls and The Forest of Stolen Girls. Broken girls caught my attention because I like when the story shifts from past to present. It prevents you from getting bored with the story.


  4. This is the first one of these entertainment articles I’ve read. Now that I know this place to find interesting recommendations exists I’m sure it won’t be the last.


  5. I found it interesting how a book about maidens and emperors could incorporate mystery. I also agree that a book about emperors would not appeal to me at first. Knowing now that the book is a mystery, I would definitely consider reading it.


  6. It has a really cool concept on the fact that many books I would never think about reading. I am kind of interest in Broken Things it sounds like a good read. Adding the plot right there for me really helped me on whether I would read the books there. I will actually probably look further into the books and most likely buy one.


  7. I really appreciate this series of book reviews on Mystery Novels by Mrs. McHugh. She is able to offer a good analysis on each book and there is a varying selection of novels. As the librarian, I would trust she knows what she is talking about and her recommendations are most likely a good resource. As someone who is decently interested in mystery novels I think I will go back to this article.


  8. I really find the novel Broken Mysteries compelling. This is certainly a genre and a storyline that interests me. The author did a very good job drawing me into the article and making me want to read these books.


  9. I read the article, “Twisting Mysteries to Keep You Guessing.” I thought that I would like this article because I enjoy reading, especially mysteries because I find them to be really interesting and there is so much potential for multiple different storylines happening at once, which I think is pretty cool. I actually have Broken Things by Lauren Oliver at my house and I am so excited to read it. Also, I will have to look into the other book, The Forest of Stolen Girls by June Hur, because it sounds like something that I may enjoy reading.


  10. I think that the story Broken things looks really good. its in this time period so it makes it feel more realistic and feel maybe as though it just happened. I think that author did a really nice job in pulling me into the story, making me wanna read it. Especially since now I know that this is murder or true crime ill be sure to look into it.


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