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Great summer reads for young teens
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These promising new collection of novels should keep teens happily entertained all summer.

"Killer Pizza: The Slice" by Greg Taylor; Feiwel & Friends/MacMillan Children's Publishing; 352 pages; $16.99.

Even R.L. Stine loves this bristling horror tale, a follow-up to 2009's "Killer Pizza." Here, foodie Toby McGill discovers that his new place of employment, an eatery known as Killer Pizza, is a front for an underground Monster Hunting Organization. Now he and his teen co-employees are invited to tour the headquarters in New York City, but they are sent off on a monster emergency instead.

A 14-year-old girl named Calanthe is rescued by the teens, and though she's officially a sacrificial monster, the kids give her a crash course in modern-day "high school" to help her blend in.

Crazy/funny scariness and lots of action reigns in this hot slice of horror — a perfect step-up from the "Goosebumps" series.

"Sharks & Boys" by Kristen Tracy; Hyperion; 264 pages; $16.99.

Fifteen-year-old Enid has boy problems. But these are the least of her problems, especially when shark problems get even scarier. In an act of desperation, Enid decides to trail sort-of beau Wick, even when he and his friends travel aboard a yacht. There the high stakes begin when Enid stows away in the yacht's bathroom. Just when the harrowing hilarity hits an even keel, author Tracy throws in more thrills as a storm hits. Everyone on board must figure out how to survive with no food or water and sharks circling desperately.

With high stakes, romance and heart-racing survival on tap, Tracy pulls out all the stops, making "Sharks & Boys" a frenetically fun beach read.

"The Fingertips of Duncan Dorfman" by Meg Wolitzer; Dutton/Penguin; 256 pages; $16.99.

Competitive Scrabble has plenty of thrills, and this delightful story brings them to the forefront. Starring three pre-teens who don't have much in common other than their love for the game, Wolitzer's fun novel has all the makings of a classic with shrewd observations, wry humor and even magic.

The title refers to young Duncan Dorfman. He is trying to look after his single mom and adjust to life in a new town while managing his new Scrabble superpower. When he and two friends tackle the national Youth Scrabble Tournament, each with a different drive to win, their stories and paths intertwine.

Carefully penned and fun to read, "The Fingertips of Duncan Dorfman" tackles much than just a word game.

"Uncommon Criminals" by Ally Carter; Disney/Hyperion; 298 pages; $16.99.

The second installment in Carter's New York Times best-selling sassy caper series, "Heist Society," "Uncommon Criminals" is fast-paced and a blast to read. Katarina Bishop is back with her team of clever criminals. She's already known as the girl who ran the crew that robbed the greatest museum in the world, and now she's asked to steal the infamous Cleopatra Emerald so it can be returned to its owners. This proves much more difficult than originally thought, and Kat's in over her head.

As the teens circle the globe, dodging curses and chasing high stakes dreams, readers will thrillingly ride along. Adventure and breathless action reign, and Ally Carter fans won't be disappointed in this second act.