YA Thriller Books

The best young adult thrillers & teen fiction mysteries.

Death by the River, an Addictive Teen Thriller by Alexandrea Weis and Lucas Astor

The Bottom Line: A deliciously dark and timely teen crime thriller deserving of a TV series. While tackling heavy-duty subject matter with grace and sophistication, Death by the River is tailor-made for fans of Riverdale, Twin Peaks and Twilight. A monster lurks in the halls of Louisiana small town St. Benedict High School, and his name is Beau Devereaux. As high school students go, Devereaux …

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Until Proven Innocent, a Highly Recommended Teen Mystery by Laura Stewart Schmidt

The Bottom Line: A deftly-written, all-American teen mystery deserving of a broad audience. When a Minnesota Alzheimer’s patient implies knowledge about an unsolved death dating back to the 1960s, his 15-year-old granddaughter launches an investigation. Until Proven Innocent begins as a local university is buying the former home of Henry Springs, who disappeared after a fire claimed the lives of his wife and daughter some …

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One of Us, an Essential YA Whodunnit by Karen M. McManus

The Bottom Line: An essential whodunnit for both YA and adult crime fiction fans. Karen M. McManus’ teen murder mystery is the perfect antidote to Netflix’s Riverdale, the Twin Peaks-meets-Archies mashup that never really feels set in high school. By contrast, McManus artfully sets up a believable single-setting high school atmosphere that feels inspired by both Clue and the Breakfast Club. On Monday afternoon, five …

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The Dream Keepers, a Refreshing Young Adult Thriller by Z. Oko

The Bottom Line: A sophisticated young adult novel that will appeal to all readers, regardless of age. The Dream Keepers stretches the idea of fantasy to its limits, incorporating a larger-than-life dreamland where anything can happen with a narrator that’s at once naïve and completely in charge. Mona and her friends are a comforting cast of characters. Their familiarity with one another and Z. Oko’s …

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Age of Order

Age of Order, an Enthralling Sci-Fi Thriller for Fans of Divergent and The Hunger Games

The Bottom Line: Fans of Divergent and The Hunger Games will find plenty to love in this enthralling, fast-paced story filled with richly drawn characters and the injustices they face. A track star, Daniela Machado has the opportunity to escape the world she knows — the squalor, oppression and constant vigilance required to survive in Bronx City — and claim a spot at the elite …

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Game of Fear

Game of Fear, a YA Thriller by Gledé Browne Kabongo

Academic overachiever Abbie Cooper Cooper is desperate to get accepted into Princeton University. But when a mysterious stranger threatens to expose the dark secret that could destroy her future, it’s only the beginning of a diabolical game with no limits—a game Abbie will break every rule to win.  

Girls on Fire Rebecca Wasserman

Book Review: Girls on Fire, a New Crime Thriller by Robin Wasserman

The Bottom Line: With Robin Wasserman at the helm, it’s never too early or late for Halloween. This barnburner of a novel about intense obsession is a must-read. Halloween, 1991. A popular high school basketball star ventures into the woods near Battle Creek, Pennsylvania, and disappears. Three days later, he’s found with a bullet in his head and a gun in his hand—a discovery that …

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Glass Sword book cover

Glass Sword, a new Young Adult Fantasy Thriller by Victoria Aveyard

The next installment in Victoria Aveyard’s Red Queen series escalates the struggle between the growing rebel army and the blood-segregated world they’ve always known—and pits Mare against the darkness that has grown in her soul. Mare Barrow’s blood is red—the color of common folk—but her Silver ability, the power to control lightning, has turned her into a weapon that the royal court tries to control. The …

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Ember in the Ashes

An Ember in the Ashes, a YA Fantasy Thriller by Sabaa Tahir

Laia is a slave. Elias is a soldier. Neither is free. Under the Martial Empire, defiance is met with death. Those who do not vow their blood and bodies to the Emperor risk the execution of their loved ones and the destruction of all they hold dear. It is in this brutal world, inspired by ancient Rome, that Laia lives with her grandparents and older …

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The Company of Magic Peter Milton

Book Review: The Company of Magic, a YA Thriller by P.J. Milton

The Bottom Line: Harry Potter fans will be spellbound by this high flying YA thriller about the hidden world of magic and the organizations that control it. Is Big Brother is always watching? Yes, and his name is Joshua. In the Roman Coliseum, Joshua, the CEO of a company of magicians called Sarras, presents his business card to a vampire named Tobias. There is no …

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