The Day the Fortune Teller Died - Marianna Heusler
The predecessor to this book, The Night the Penningtons Vanished, introduced readers to an amateur teenage sleuth, Isabella, and friends Vicki and Lauren. As an introductory book touching on various themes of teen friendship and dealing with difficult relationships (in this case Isabella's with her older, rebellious sister Anna), Penningtons proved well-written and compelling. Years later, I was pleasantly surprised to see author Heusler had penned a follow-up story. The cover may be a bit misleading to readers - in this time where YA paranormal and dystopian novels are big news, one might think this book falls somewhere in that realm. At its heart, though, The Day the Fortune Teller Died is a true mystery.This time, Isabella is asked to solve a mystery before it is actually committed. When a new girl in town, Eva, suspects her life is in danger, she hires Isabella to find out who has it in her for. Building upon the prediction of a local medium living in a less savory area of town, the young woman discovers answers are not easy to obtain, particularly when certain predictions made by the medium do come true...and point toward somebody in Isabella's family as a likely culprit.You really don't need to read Penningtons before this one - if you lean toward continuity, though, it's a good idea. I actually Fortune Teller is the better of the two books in the series. Heusler does a very good job of keeping the reader in suspense by slowing revealing surprises at appropriate and pivotal moments in the book. As you read you may find yourself constantly thinking about certain points, but toward the end it all comes together in a satisfying conclusion. Only quibbles: the older sister Anna may get on your nerves through the story, but her indifference and juvenile behavior provides an interesting contrast to the younger and more mature Isabella. If your younger reader is looking for a contemporary mystery free of bad language, Fortune Teller is a good choice.