HOUSTON, TX— Richie Narvaez’s acclaimed novel for teens set in 1970s New York City, Holly Hernandez and the Death of Disco, is the recipient of a 2020 Agatha Award for Best Children’s / YA Mystery book. An action-packed story, Holly Hernandez and the Death of Disco follows two high-school students as they unravel a dangerous case gripping their school grounds.
The Agatha Awards celebrate traditional mystery and crime books, best typified by the works of Agatha Christie. They are conferred to stories written in a warm mystery subgenre with no explicit sex, excessive gore or gratuitous violence. Winners of six categories (Contemporary Novel, Historical Novel, First Novel, Nonfiction, Short Story and Children’s/Young Adult Novel) were given during the annual Malice Domestic conference held virtually July 17, 2021.
The book has received excellent reviews, including:
“The novel alternates between Holly’s and Xander’s perspectives as the danger mounts and the two investigate the case in parallel. This fast-paced, skillfully developed murder mystery offers equal billing to both characters, their separate lives, and their individual problems while also examining gender inequality and social injustice and providing an interesting look at the history of disco as a safe place for queer people and people of color. A fun murder mystery with a side of disco fever.”—Kirkus Reviews
“Readers will find plenty of action and suspense, a complex mystery, as well as humor and a slew of interesting characters. The 1979 setting—with the absence of current technology such as cell phones and laptops—sets a refreshing stage where the characters use other methods to uncover information. VERDICT: A complex, exciting mystery that will leave readers hoping for a sequel.”—School Library Journal
“This twist on the classic whodunit brings to life the end times of disco as two early ‘80s–New York City teenagers attempt to unravel a cryptic murder that has rocked their high school. As the clock winds down and the killer prepares to strike, Narvaez expertly juggles several parallel plots. From glittery discotheques to strange passages between classrooms, mystical mysteries are infused into a fun, historical murder case that takes a fresh approach to teenage angst, anxiety, and the need to belong.” —Booklist
RICHIE NARVAEZ is the author of Hipster Death Rattle (Down & Out Books, 2019) and Roachkiller and Other Stories (Beyond the Page, 2012), which won the 2013 Spinetingler Award for Best Anthology. His work has appeared in numerous journals and anthologies, including Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, Latinx Rising: An Anthology of Science Fiction and Fantasy (Mad Creek Books, 2020), Hit List: The Best of Latino Mystery (Arte Público Press, 2009) and You Don’t Have a Clue: Latino Mystery Stories for Teens (Piñata Books, 2011). He served as president of the New York Chapter of Mystery Writers of America, Artist in Residence of the Bronx Council on the Arts and a judge for the 2019 PEN America’s Open Book Awards. He teaches at the Fashion Institute of Technology in Manhattan and lives in the Bronx.
ARTE PÚBLICO PRESS is the nation’s largest and most established publisher of contemporary and recovered literature by US Hispanic authors. Its imprint for children and young adults, Piñata Books, is dedicated to the realistic and authentic portrayal of the themes, languages, characters and customs of Hispanic culture in the United States. Based at the University of Houston, Arte Público Press, Piñata Books and the Recovering the US Hispanic Literary Heritage project provide the most widely recognized and extensive showcase for Hispanic literary arts and creativity.