Welcome back, you beautiful people! About a month ago, I was finally able to finish reading the latest novel by one of my favorite contemporary Christian fiction YA authors, Stephanie Morrill. Her first mystery novel, The Lost Girl of Astor Street takes place in 1920s Chicago, and was a whirlwind of fun to read!
As the novel begins, we meet Piper and her best friend Lydia, who both come from well-to-do families and attend an all-girls school. Things begin to take a turn for the worst after Piper discovers that Lydia suffers from seizures, and that her family wants to keep it under wraps and send Lydia away to fix her. Distraught and caught up in a crush on her family’s driver, Matthew, Lydia informs Piper that she has decided to reveal her feelings to Matthew and hopefully skip out on being shipped away. The next morning, Lydia is pronounced missing, and Piper’s world turns on its head. She makes it her personal mission to find justice for her friend.
For fear of spoilers, I won’t elaborate on Piper’s adventure as a sleuth, but will rather review the highlights:
- Mariano: During her search for Lydia, Piper befriends a young detective named Mariano. Upon their meeting, hardhearted and formerly gagging-at-romance Piper begins to experience falling in love for the first time in the most awkward and adorable way! Plus, Mariano is a pure sweetheart!
- Cast of Characters: Stretching beyond her love interest, the remaining cast of characters were all well-developed and interesting in their own respects. Some you either love to love, or love to hate *cough* NICK *cough*, and it will greatly hinder your ability to decipher who the culprit is.
- The Mystery: I haven’t read many mysteries since I read some of the Nancy Drew books way back in fifth grade, but this novel makes me want to find more YA mysteries! Usually I’m able to have some sort of conclusion about who the culprit is before the end, but all the plot twists kept me second guessing until Piper discovered it herself! There were so many angles, all thorough enough to be criminally convincing, though only one truly was the criminal.
- Piper’s Character Arc: One of the things I love most about the author’s writing is that she produces believable and endearing character arcs. As mentioned earlier, at the beginning, Piper is cynical about love, regarded as a rebellious troublemaker by her family and peers, and strongly dislikes dogs and children. Over the course of the novel, Piper regains hope in love and marriage through her budding relationship with Mariano, she hones her rebellious nature and finds a productive outlet for it, and her heart softens toward both dogs and kids through the allies she makes on her quest. As stated in my original Goodreads review, Piper is perfectly flawed, fearless, and fierce. You can’t help but love and root for her!
- Sequel???: At the end, the author hints to Piper continuing her sleuthing in cases similar to Lydia’s. I’m not sure if the author is considering making a Piper Sail mystery series, but I strongly encourage her to do so! I’ve never been a big advocate of series until I read her Ellie Sweet series, so know that is a rare compliment!
My overall rating is ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ out of 5 stars.
What YA Christian mystery books do you recommend? I’m new to the Kindleverse, so hook me up!