Review: The Clue In The Trees by Margi Preus

Not going to lie, it’s been a while since I last read a YA murder mystery that I liked. But I was very excited when given the chance to read and review The Clue In The Trees.

Francie’s brother Theo has secrets—secrets Francie thinks she wants to know. But what if one of those secrets is that Theo is a murderer? To avoid considering that possibility, Francie plunges into her senior year at a small-town high school near Enchantment Lake in northern Minnesota. It’s a radical change from her private school in New York, but she hopes to keep an eye on her great aunts and maybe finally learn more about the mother she never knew. A small silver box seems to hold the answers, and she is determined to get her hands on it.

But when her long-lost brother turns up, so does a dead body, and once again Francie is drawn into a mystery. A long list of suspects, with Theo at the top, keeps her head spinning. When Francie herself becomes a suspect she starts to feel like she is walking on thin ice, but it isn’t until she is literally walking on thin ice that the pieces start to come together—and by then it may be too late.

In her previous adventure Enchantment Lake, Francie was thrown into northern Minnesota lake living: fishing, berry picking, lost kayaks and scary boat rides, poisoned hotdishes, exploding bulldozers, a forest fire . . . and murder. But if she thinks things have settled down, she’s in for a surprise. A new school with new friends (and a few enemies), a lead role in a play, an encounter with a giant muskie, archaeological twists, secret tunnels, thin ice, and a strangely sticky murder are all coming her way in The Clue in the Trees.

I love Francie as a character. A lot of the time with mystery main characters, they tend to be over eager and unrealistic but Francie really did act like a real person. She felt afraid and was hesitant to get herself something that could get her killed. The writing in this book was sometimes choppy but the dialogue was kept it moving.

As for the plot, there were a lot of times where I though one thing was going to happen, and the complete opposite did. The book was fast enough to keep you wanting to read more but not so fast that it was overwhelming. The rest of the characters were fleshed out and there weren’t too many discrepancies in the story itself.

Overall: Read if you want a quick YA mystery.


Margi Preus is a New York Times bestselling author of several books for young readers, including the Newbery Honor book, Heart of a Samurai, the Minnesota Book Award winning West of the Moon, and Shadow on the Mountain, a Notable Book for a Global Society. New in 2015 is Enchantment Lake, a northwoods mystery, and The Bamboo Sword, which Bookpage says is “historical fiction at its best.”

“Margi Preus has a remarkable ability to create fascinating, page-turning stories that transport readers to faraway times and places. Whether she’s evoking Norway during World War II or 19th century Japan, Preus combines impeccable research with strong characterization and plot—the very elements that draw readers into history and spark the curiosity to learn more.” Bookpage, Sept. 2015






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Thanks to The Fantastic Flying Book Club and the author for giving me the opportunity to read and review this book!

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