Last November, I started an internship at Tundra Books. While I (unfortunately) am no longer there, I'm grateful to my lovely co-workers for many things, one of which is introducing me to Ellie Marney's so-good-I-can't-stop-talking-about-it Every series.
The books - Every Breath, Every Word, and the only-released-in-Australia-so-far conclusion, Every Move - follow two mystery-solving teens in a contemporary setting inspired by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes.
Narrated by Rachel Watts - a country girl at heart who recently moved to Melbourne - the Every series follows Watts and her eccentric (and sexy) neighbour James Mycroft as they roam around Melbourne solving crimes and referring to each other by last names only. Not to mention wallowing in sexual tension so thick, I doubt anyone can get halfway through book one without shouting "JUST KISS ALREADY."
Every Breath has our intrepid detectives stumbling upon the body of a homeless man outside the zoo. Because they had been friends with Homeless Dave, they're intent on finding out whodunit it, even if it means severely annoying Detective Senior Sergeant Pickup in the process. Their investigation takes them to shaking scaffolding, a slightly unhinged art student, family drama (on all sides), and finally back to the zoo itself where they literally follow each other into a lion's den.
Book two, Every Word, solidifies the magical entity known among fans as "Wattscroft" before tearing our hearts apart and flinging them to London. While you may find it unbelievable that Watts can jet off across the world to find Mycroft in his time of need, there's no denying how beautiful their relationship is. We learn more about Mycroft's tragic past, which helps us to understand some of his behaviour, and I enjoy telling people that the latter half of the book is explosive (you'll understand why when you read it).
As I'm a huge fan of London, I'm inclined to name Every Word my favourite, though, having read Every Move (best day at work ever!), I have to say it's a brilliant series ending. The characters are realistic: Mycroft, the eccentric genius, is full of flaws. He can be annoyed and angry and moody and has a hard time letting people in, but when he finally opens up to Watts, you can't help smiling through your tears (and I dare you not to swoon over his "anarchy curls").
Rachel, on the other hand, is one of the strongest female protagonists out there: literally and figuratively. Growing up on a farm gives her a certain strength (she plays roller derby, for heaven's sake!), plus a different outlook on life, compared to the city-bred Mycroft who sometimes underestimates how stubborn she can be. Plus, she can hold her own against Mycroft who treats her as an equal.
The mysteries are smart and well thought out, reaching logical conclusions without pulling information out of thin air. Plus, Ellie Marney is not afraid to make her characters suffer. They are physically and emotionally hurt and there are some pretty intense scenes, but I love how she doesn't tone it down, preferring to put them (and us readers) through the ringer. The third book, Every Move, deals with the aftermath of some of these scenes in a realistic way, instead of glossing over the characters' reactions.
The supporting characters are just as great as Mycroft and Watts, whether it's Rachel's adorable, supportive brother Mike, or their friends Mai and Gus who drop in a dash of diversity (Mai is Vietnamese, Gus is Sudanese), making an already outstanding series just about perfect.
I read Every Breath right after I caught up on BBC's Sherlock, and I can assure you that it was a great decision. If you're a fan of Sherlock, or YA contemporaries/mysteries with clever banter, well-rounded characters, and gorgeous writing, I highly recommend Ellie Marney's Every series.