Operation: Mystery Book Discussion

by Adriana Flores Heard

Length of Program

Four programs of 50 minutes in length.

Program Description

Host a mystery book discussion series every other week during the summer. Begin the book discussion series with The Westing Game. Participating teens receive a copy of The Westing Game and a notebook two weeks before the first book discussion. After reading each chapter, teens write in their notebooks who they think “did it” or predict what will happen at the end of the book. They may also write any thoughts they have about the book. On the day of the program, the librarian begins the discussion and asks teens to share who they thought was the culprit at various points during the book.


  • Choose dates and times for the program.
  • The book discussion series begins with The Westing Game. Select three additional books for which multiple copies are available. The Teen Advisory Board and Teen Volunteers may suggest titles. Request additional copies through ILL or purchase additional paperback copies.
  • Read or review The Reading Group Handbook: Everything You Need to Know, from Choosing Members to Leading Discussion by Rachel W. Jacobsohn or a similar title to learn how to lead a book discussion group.
  • Create posters and displays and advertise the program. List the titles that will be discussed and the dates and times of the programs.
  • Purchase notepads for teen participants or ask a local news paper or business to donate them.
  • Let Teen Volunteers or Teen Advisory Board help develop a set of rules to make the book discussions productive and fun.


Create artwork inspired by the jackets for the books the teens will read. Copies of book jackets may be viewed or downloaded from amazon.com. Make posters and bulletin boards that include the artwork and a snappy synopsis of the plot.

Recommended Books to Discuss

  • The Body of Christopher Creed by Carol Plum-Ucci.
  • The Dark Side of Nowhere by Neal Shusterman.
  • Haunted Sister by Lael Littke.
  • Locked in Time by Lois Duncan.
  • The Killer’s Cousin by Nancy Werlin.
  • The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin.


Murder by Death. ( 94 minutes)

Web Site

Readerville-Young Adult Reading Group


Video Games

Nancy Drew Message in a Haunted Mansion.

Professional Resource

The Reading Group Handbook: Everything You Need to Know, from Choosing Members to Leading Discussion by Rachel W. Jacobsohn.


Texas Reading Club 2003 Programming Manual / Mission Possible Spy Book!

Published by the Library Development Division of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission

Page last modified: June 14, 2011