Mystery-Thriller Young Adult Fiction
I love a good mystery. Unlike the fantasy or contemporary genres, I haven’t come across an endless range of good YA mystery novels. But there are some really fantastic young adult mystery-thrillers, be they murder mysteries, crime novels, thrillers with amazing twists or mysteries with a touch of the paranormal. Here is a list of some of my favourite YA mystery-thrillers, including some exciting new releases.
Click on the covers for full reviews.
The Naturals Series – Jennifer Lynn Barnes – Disney-Hyperion – Published 2013 -2016
Very top of my list is The Naturals series. Have you seen the TV show The Mentalist? Well, this series is like that in book form. But better. The Naturals is the first book, followed by Killer Instinct, All In and finally Bad Blood, which was released 1 November 2016. Serial killers and a team of teenagers who are naturally gifted in profiling, mathematics, emotion reading and recognising lies. A wonderful cast of characters and an intricate plot that just gets more amazing as the series progresses. Seriously, I cannot praise this series enough. Read it!!!!
Nikki Kill series – Jennifer Brown – Katherine Tegen Books – Published 2016 – ongoing
This series starts when Nikki Kill is dragged into the investigation of who grievously harmed one of her class mates. Nikki’s synesthesia, seeing colours for numbers, words or letters, makes her a good investigator. Nikki is a tough, brash, and independent character. Her investigation continues in the second book in the series, Dare You. And if Dare You is anything to go by, this series is just going to get better and better.
The Fixer series – Jennifer Lynn Barnes – Bloomsbury – Published 2015 – ongoing
Yep, back to Jennifer Lynn Barnes. Because she is awesome. The Fixer series is about Tess Kendrick, who learns that her much older sister is entangled in the world of powerful politics. When the President has a problem, he calls Ivy Kendrick and she makes it go away. But this time some very powerful people are involved in a conspiracy that involve the families of Tess’s new classmates.
The Long Game continues the series and it is even more exciting, dangerous and edge-of-your-seat crazy. Both are excellent books and the series promises to continue with more twists and fabulous suspense.
The Hidden Memory of Objects – Danielle Mages Amato – Balzer+Bray – Published 21 March 2017
Megan’s brother is dead. The police say he died of a drug overdose and Megan can’t reconcile the images she has of her fun-loving, positive brother with those from the story the police are weaving of a boy who saw no other option than to deliberately overdose in an abandoned building. Heartbroken and confused, Megan decides to do some investigating of her own, starting with the things Tyler left behind. But as Megan collects and then starts creating artwork from her brother’s things, she begins to have strange headaches and blackouts, triggering memories of her brother that she couldn’t possibly have.
Holding Smoke – Elle Cosimano – Hyperion-Disney – Published 3 May 2016
Smoke is serving time for two murders, one of which he didn’t commit. After a near-death experience, he can now move outside his body.
This is a mystery with a good dash of paranormal. I’ve not enough words to covey the supreme brilliance of this book. This book is dark and edgy and so very readable. It’s harsh and eye opening, heartbreaking and just a touch hopeful. I couldn’t put it down, intrigued by the thrilling and fast-moving plot, and addicted to the complex characters.
Take the Fall – Emily Hainsworth – Balzer + Bray – Published 16 February 2016
This is an edge-of-your-seat, nail-biting, check-over-your-shoulder, add-your-own-cliche-here kind of book. This is ultimately an epic murder mystery, with a huge list of suspects, a twist that came out of nowhere and a surprise ending. It’s dark and kind of disturbing but so easy to read.
The night Sonia was attacked in the forest, her best friend Gretchen was also attacked. Sonia survived, but Gretchen is found dead at the base of the falls. It sparks an investigation and town-wide terror as the police search for those responsible.
In Place of Never – Julie Anne Lindsey – Lyrical Press – Published 2 February 2016
This truly is a stunning book. With a unique, lyrical writing style, jaw-dropping romance, a heroine you can really get behind and all the intrigue of a good mystery, this book has it all.
Mercy’ sister died three years ago in a tragic drowning everyone labelled an accident. Mercy’s mother committed suicide not long after, Mercy’s dad, a pastor, buried himself in work and Mercy herself checked out of life altogether, leaving her younger sister to raise herself. But the three-year anniversary of Faith’s death sees the return of the Lovells’ travelling performing group and a chance for Mercy to uncover what really happened at the river that fateful night three years ago.
Thicker Than Water – Brigid Kemmerer – Kensington Books – Published 29 December 2015
With a mix of heady romance, suspense and mystery, plus just a touch of the paranormal, Thicker Than Water is a mature young adult novel that will have you second guessing every moment and swooning right along with the characters.
Thomas Bellweather hasn’t been in town long. Just long enough for his newlywed mother to be murdered, and for his new stepdad’s cop colleagues to decide Thomas is the primary suspect.
Forget Me – K.A Harrington – G.P Putnam – Published 7 August 2014
On the three-month anniversary of her boyfriend Flynn’s death, Morgan uploads her only photo of him to FriendShare to get some closure—but she’s shocked when the facial recognition software suggests she tag him as “Evan Murphy.” She’s never heard of Evan, but a quick search tells her that he lives in a nearby town and looks exactly like Flynn. Only this boy is very much alive.
Every Breath – Ellie Marney – Allen & Unwin – Published September 2013
Set in Australia, this is a Sherlock Holmes adaptation.
Rachel Watts is an unwilling new arrival to Melbourne from the country. James Mycroft is her neighbour, an intriguingly troubled seventeen-year-old genius with a passion for forensics. Despite her misgivings, Rachel finds herself unable to resist Mycroft when he wants her help investigating a murder. And when Watts and Mycroft follow a trail to the cold-blooded killer, they find themselves in the lion’s den – literally.
Hunting Lila – Sarah Alderson – Simon and Schuster – Published 5 August 2011
With a good mix of paranormal, Hunting Lila is the first book in a fantastic series.
17-year-old Lila has two secrets she’s prepared to take to the grave. The first is that she can move things just by looking at them. The second is that she’s been in love with her brother’s best friend, Alex, since forever. After a mugging exposes her unique ability, Lila decides to run to the only people she can trust—her brother and Alex. They live in Southern California where they work for a secret organization called The Unit, and Lila discovers that the two of them are hunting down the men who murdered her mother five years before. And that they’ve found them.
The Body Finder – Kimberly Derting – Harper – Published 16 March 2010
This series again mixes mystery with paranormal.
Violet Ambrose is grappling with two major issues: Jay Heaton and her morbid secret ability. While the sixteen-year-old is confused by her new feelings for her best friend since childhood, she is more disturbed by her “power” to sense dead bodies—or at least those that have been murdered. Since she was a little girl, she has felt the echoes that the dead leave behind in the world… and the imprints that attach to their killers.
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