Now that I got my Edgar rant off my chest, and my soapbox has been reinstated as a coffee table, I thought I should think about criteria for my list of YA mysteries. Since everyone else seems to be so liberal with their interpretation of the genre.

So here are my four must-haves:

1. Must have a mystery as the central plot. This means the solving of the mystery has to be at the front of the story, and at the top of lead character’s list. Navel-gazing and peer pressure allowed, but it had better while on the way to catch a bad guy. Or while washing the blood off your hands, or something equally mystery-worthy.

2. Must contain a crime, punishable by law. This was a tough one to add, but in light of recent crimeless ‘mysteries,’ I want to add this clause. Puzzles are cool, but crimes are better.

3. Must be YA.

4. Must have been first published within the last five years. The Face on the Milk Carton was a great book, but it’s about time we found some new YA mysteries to talk about. And no reprinted 'classics' either.

That’s it. I’m off to my bookstore.

Game on.

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