There has been a tremendous development in thriller and mystery novels for young adults over the past few years. A good novel in these genres has a riveting storyline, peculiar characters, and (of course) the much-loved thriller/mystery plot twists. Whether it is a serial killer or a supernatural mystery, all of the following books have clues hidden here and there and make for interesting reads. I have read all of the following books and have found them to be compelling and much recommended for young adult readers.
1. the perfectionists by sara shepard
The Perfectionists is one of those ‘Woah, did that really happen!?’ stories that you have to read. The ending. Is. Truly. Gripping. And after reading the book, you won’t believe you didn’t spot the clues to the ending earlier. This book is part of The Perfectionists duo series from the author of Pretty Little Liars.The story is truly riveting and and the series makes for a compulsive read. A revenge pact prank against the most popular boy in high school goes wrong and five girls are implicated in his murder. The novels are full of clues, suspects, and clever twists and turns, culminating in a big reveal in the second book, The Good Girls. I would highly recommend this duo series for its plot and captivating characters. Lets just say not everyone is as they seem!
Book Description: At Beacon Heights High, Nolan Hotchkiss is king. His charm, wealth and good looks are deceptively seductive, and many are the students whose lives and reputations have been ruined by them. All while Nolan continues to reign, unquestioned and undisrupted. Until now, that is. Mackenzie, Ava, Julie, Caitlin and Parker don’t seem to have much in common. Each has her own friends, dramas and goals. But one thing they do share: they all have a deep hatred of Nolan Hotchkiss. And they all think it’s about time he paid for the things he’s done. They come up with the perfect murder – a hypothetical murder, of course. It’s all wishful thinking … until they wake up one morning to find that their wish has come true. Nolan has been killed – in exactly the way they planned. The thing is, they didn’t do it. So who did?
2. Frozen charlotte by alex bell
This is one of the best horror mystery novels I have ever read. Do NOT read the book in the dark. Seriously, just don’t. It is truly creative, suspenseful, and really, really creepy. This book will keep you constantly guessing, and the line between friend and foe may not always be clear. If possessed china dolls, terrifying characters, and desolated settings are your thing, then you will love this novel. Read it and see for yourself…if you’re brave enough! I’ve written a full review on this book which can be found here.
Book Description: Dunvegan School for Girls has been closed for many years. Converted into a family home, the teachers and students are long gone. But they left something behind… Sophie arrives at the old schoolhouse to spend the summer with her cousins. Brooding Cameron with his scarred hand, strange Lilias with a fear of bones and Piper, who seems just a bit too good to be true. And then there’s her other cousin. The girl with a room full of antique dolls. The girl that shouldn’t be there. The girl that died.
3. One of us is lying by karen mcmanus
This is a suspenseful and dark novel that will keep you guessing until the end of the book! When a boy is poisoned in a room full of students during a detention at school, a full murder investigation takes place and no one can be ruled out as a suspect. Who can they believe and is the liar one of them? If you are a fan of high school mystery novels and the drama that comes with them, then this could be the book for you. There isn’t a dull moment and there’s action throughout the entire novel. The sequel to this book, One of Us is Next, is equally enthralling and the summary for this can be found in the link above.
Book Description: Five students go to detention. Only four leave alive. Yale hopeful Bronwyn has never publicly broken a rule. Sports star Cooper only knows what he’s doing in the baseball diamond. Bad boy Nate is one misstep away from a life of crime. Prom queen Addy is holding together the cracks in her perfect life. And outsider Simon, creator of the notorious gossip app at Bayview High, won’t ever talk about any of them again. He dies 24 hours before he could post their deepest secrets online. Investigators conclude it’s no accident. All of them are suspects. Everyone has secrets, right? What really matters is how far you’ll go to protect them.
4. A Good Girl’s Guide to murder by Holly jackson
Just when you think you know what’s going on with this novel, a plot twist comes along and you wonder who the culprit could possibly be! A schoolgirl works on an independent project to investigate a closed murder case. The only problem is, someone knows what she is doing and they don’t want her to succeed. Can she find the murderer before they get to her? This book was so successful that a follow-up novel, Good Girl, Bad Blood was released shortly afterwards and is also a riveting book. I would highly recommend them both! I’ve written a full review on this book which can be found here.
Book Description: The case is closed. Five years ago, schoolgirl Andie Bell was murdered by Sal Singh. The police know he did it. Everyone in town knows he did it. But having grown up in the same small town that was consumed by the murder, Pippa Fitz-Amobi isn’t so sure. When she chooses the case as the topic for her final year project, she starts to uncover secrets that someone in town desperately wants to stay hidden. And if the real killer is still out there, how far will they go to keep Pip from the truth?
5. Heartstream by tom pollock
If you love dystopian fiction then you will be enthralled by this book. I’m talking Black Mirror kind of dark that will make you wonder at the horror of the author’s story and the world her created. The ending is staggering and yes, there is a twist ending. Fans of the TV show Black Mirror, this one’s for you. I’ve written a full review on this book which can be found here.
Book Description: I just wanted to see you. Before the end. A taut psychological thriller about obsession, fame and betrayal, for fans of Black Mirror. Cat is in love. Always the sensible one, she can’t believe that she’s actually dating, not to mention dating a star. But the fandom can’t know. They would eat her alive. And first at the buffet would definitely be her best friend, Evie. Amy uses Heartstream, a social media app that allows others to feel your emotions. She broadcasted every moment of her mother’s degenerative illness, and her grief following her death. It’s the realest, rawest reality TV imaginable. But on the day of Amy’s mother’s funeral, Amy finds a strange woman in her kitchen. She’s rigged herself and the house with explosives – and she’s been waiting to talk to Amy for a long time. Who is she? A crazed fan? What does she want? Amy and Cat are about to discover how far true obsession can go.
So these are my top thriller and mystery recommendations for young adults. Have you read any of them, what did you think? Let me know in the comments below!