Blackthorn Winter by Kathryn Reiss
The Plot: Juliana, 15, is upset at her parents' trial separation. Her father had gotten busier and busier at work; her mother is an artist. So her mother decides to move to a small arts colony and pursue her art. Unfortunately, that means leaving California for her mother's native England, to a small seaside town, Blackthorn. Juliana's younger brother and sister, Edmund and Ivy, are excited about the move, but Juliana misses her friends and her family.
Shortly after the family arrives in Blackthorn, someone is murdered. Juliana decides she has to investigate, whatever the cost.
The Good: Juliana and her brother, Edmund, are adopted; Ivy is not. While there are questions about Juliana's birth parents, that mystery is the B (if not the C) Plot of the book. Most books with an adopted teen have a primary story line of finding and connecting with the birth parent. That's not the primary storyline here, and it is refreshing.
This is a mystery that doesn't involve ghosts, which is also good. Juliana pursues the truth, no matter what the cost. If that means investigating a new friend's mother -- she'll do it. In that way, Juliana reminded me of Veronica Mars.
Like Veronica, Juliana is driven to solve the mystery. It may be in part because of the mystery of her birth mother; it may be because she is lost and alone, and the investigation gives some meaning to her days.
I also love books set in England. Blackthorn seems like something right out of a BBC series.
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