Summer Sleuthin' — Book Recommendations

By: Shanleigh Klassen

One of my absolute favourite niche story genres is the summer mystery. I mean, what’s better than having your friends at your side, jumping onto your bike, and racing off to follow the next clue? Summer mystery stories are not just about the adventure, but they’re about discovering the truth, tightening the bonds of friendship, and of course, having a summer you’ll never forget.

The book featured in our June CAMPFIRE STORIES box takes place at a super fun summer camp and follows our cast of characters as they’re drawn into a mystery that’s connected to both the past and the present. Read on for six more book recommendations that feature intriguing summer mysteries.

**Curious to know what book we’re featuring next month? Check out our spoiler page HERE, but beware! SPOILER ALERT!**

The Parker Inheritance by Varian Johnson
Book cover for The Parker Inheritance by Varian Johnson. Two Black children ride bikes on a street lined with shops. As the children travel from left to right, the buildings in the background shift from colour to sepia-toned.

Following her parent’s divorce, Candice and her mother travel to Lambert, South Carolina to spend the summer at her late grandmother Abigail’s house. Bored and a little lonely, Candice discovers an old letter in the attic addressed to her grandmother that details a mysterious fortune buried somewhere in town. With the help of the quiet boy across the street, Brandon, they two begin to decipher the clues. But the more they uncover, the more they begin to learn about the unspoken secrets Lambert has tried to bury for all these years. As Candice and Brandon reckon with their own families' histories, they must also try to locate the promised treasure before all the answers slip into the past yet again.


Finally, Something Mysterious by Doug Cornett
Book cover for Finally, Something Mysterious by Doug Cornett. The silhouettes of three children stand on the edge of a blue-coloured forest with flames shooting up into the sky in the background. In front of the children stretches a sea of yellow rubber ducks.

Paul has always thought Bellwood was a strange, if pretty boring, town. But then hundreds of rubber ducks appear on Mr. Babbage’s lawn without explanation and finally, there’s something Pauls’s only-sibling detective club, The One and Onlys, can investigate. Soon, Paul and his friends have a long list of suspects, but no clear motives or culprit. As small side mysteries begin to pile up, Paul discovers that maybe not everything can be easily solved. An intensely fun summer story about friends, amateur sleuthing, and of course, a whole lot of rubber ducks.


Maizy Chen’s Last Chance by Lisa Yee
Book cover for Maizy Chen's Last Chance by Lisa Yee. A young Asian American girl wearing a green tshirt and blue shorts standing with one hand on her hip. In the background is an older Asian American woman standing behind an older Asian American man in a wheel chair, both standing behind a desk. A young white girl stands outside the room looking in.

When Maizy and her mother travel to Last Chance, Minnesota to care for her ailing grandfather, she’s a little hesitant to spend so much time with the grandparents she barely knows. But quite quickly Maizy discovers the Golden Palace restaurant that’s been in her family for generations has secrets of its own. Over the course of an unpredictable summer, Maizy navigates familial tensions, racist attacks on her family’s restaurant, and learns how her ancestor’s immigration in the 1860s impacts her to this day. An incredibly heartfelt and humorous story that highlights the connection between the past and our present.


Me, Frida, and the Secret of the Peacock Ring
by Angela Cervantes
Book cover for Me, Frida, and the Secret of the Peacock Ring by Angela Cervantes. A young biracial Mexican girl stands with her hair flying above her head with the title written over top. The child wears a white tshirt and is holding a small ring in their left hand. The background shows an orange on its vine and a peacock.

Paloma hopes that by spending her summer in Mexico City, she’ll be able to reconnect with her Mexican heritage and unlock any memories she may have of her deceased father. But then Paloma meets Lizzie and Gael who present her with an irresistible challenge: help them find a valuable ring that once belonged to beloved Mexican artist Frida Kahlo. Finding the ring means a big reward, but Lizzie and Gael have a secret. Do they really want to return the ring, or are they after something else entirely?


The Emperor’s Riddle by Kat Zhang
Book cover for The Emperor's Riddle by Kat Zhang. The silhouettes of two children are shown running between buildings at sunset with lanterns lit on either side. In the background is a mountain located in China with a temple on the peak.

Mia is not sure what to make of this family trip to China, but she’s excited about the prospect of a summer exploring with her Aunt Lin, the only adult who truly understands her. But then Aunt Lin disappears right after her old nemesis, Ying, comes to visit. Years ago, Aunt Lin and Ying had searched for an ancient treasure together — one that still hasn’t been found. When Mia discovers an old map filled with riddles in Aunt Lin’s room, she knows what she has to do: find the treasure, find her aunt. Along with her brother Jake, Mia must solve the clues to rescue their aunt, and maybe unearth a treasure greater than her wildest dreams.


The Best Worst Summer by Elizabeth Eulberg
Book cover for The Best Worst Summer by Elizabeth Eulberg. Two polaroid photos are shown on a teal background. The top photo shows two children hugging in front of a birthday cake. The bottom photo shows two children smiling at the camera, one in blue in a wheelchair and the other in red with their hands in their pockets.

A story that follows the events of two different summers, three decades apart. In 2019, Peyton is convinced her summer is ruined when her family moves away, leaving her best friend behind. But then she discovers a box buried in her backyard, and with the help of her new friend Lucas, they discover coded messages . . . and an apology In 1989, best friends Melissa and Jessica are sure this is going to be the best summer ever. But as tensions mount and a family secret starts to unravel, Melissa and Jess — and even Peyton and Lucas — will explore how growing pains can affect everything, even friendship.

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