This book follows three characters, Molly Mavity, a teenage girl whose father was convicted of murder and is awaiting his execution date and whose mother is dead. Pepper Yusef, a teenage boy who has epilepsy and struggles in almost all aspects of his life, especially school. He has to write an essay over the summer or he will fail. And Ava Dreyman, a seventeen year old East German resistance fighter who was murdered. In this book Molly receives a mysterious package that introduces her to Pepper. This unlikely duo is tasked with solving Ava’s mysterious murder from 1989 using her diary. The two teenagers uncover things about their own lives and learn valuable lessons about how there is more to life than meets the eye.
— Eliza Handley
Code Name Verity meets I Am the Messenger in this riveting YA novel from Morris Award finalist Stephanie Oakes, in which three points of view are woven together in a story that's part Cold War mystery, part contemporary coming-of-age, and completely unputdownable.
Molly Mavity is not a normal teenage girl. For one thing, her father is a convicted murderer, and his execution date is fast approaching. For another, Molly refuses to believe that her mother is dead, and she waits for the day when they’ll be reunited . . . despite all evidence that this will never happen.
Pepper Al-Yusef is not your average teenage boy. A Kuwaiti immigrant with epilepsy, serious girl problems, and the most useless seizure dog in existence, he has to write a series of essays over the summer . . . or fail out of school.
And Ava Dreyman—the brave and beautiful East German resistance fighter whose murder at seventeen led to the destruction of the Berlin Wall—is unlike anyone you’ve met before.
When Molly gets a package leading her to Pepper, they’re tasked with solving a decades-old mystery: find out who killed Ava, back in 1989. Using Ava’s diary for clues, Molly and Pepper realize there’s more to her life—and death—than meets the eye. Someone is lying to them. And someone out there is guiding them along, desperate for answers.
At turns heart-racing, hilarious, and heartbreaking, The Arsonist is an intricate tapestry—of love, loss, and the mysterious connections between us all.
About the Author
Stephanie Oakes lives in Spokane, Washington, and works as a library media teacher at a combined elementary and middle school. She has an MFA in poetry from Eastern Washington University. Her first book, The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly, was a Morris Award finalist and a Golden Kite Honor book.
A ALA/YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults pick
"Layers of narrative, lies, and family legacy make for a compelling, exquisitely crafted story."—#1 New York Times bestselling author E.K. Johnston
"The Arsonist scorches with intensity and fiercely good writing. An exceptional read."—Jeanne Ryan, New York Times bestselling author of Nerve
"This rich blend of history, intrigue, humor, and grief makes for page-turning storytelling."—BCCB
"The lives are of all three protagonists are inexplicably linked, but the suspenseful telling of this story ties everything together for a satisfying ending...definitely a page turner."—School Library Connection
"The complex plot is fraught with unlikely coincidences; dangerous confrontations, lies and secrets, and leaps back and forth in time...a page-turner."—School Library Journal