Books to Keep You Guessing
I don’t read a lot of mysteries or thrillers, but sometimes there is nothing better than a book that you just can’t put down because you have to know what’s going to happen next. Here are several mystery/thrillers that will keep the pages turning from a clever whodunit for middle schoolers to suspense novels that will hook teen readers.
The Underdogs is a book that I really don’t want to say too much about because I want you to read it and see if it surprises you as much as it did me. But here are the facts: Annabel Harper has been found dead by the pool at the tennis club, and the police are investigating everyone at the club as potential suspects. Meanwhile, Chelsea and her best friend Evie are doing some investigating of their own, and it gets dangerous. It seems everyone at the club has secrets. The chapters go back and forth between “Before” and “After” building the suspense as it slowly reveals the larger picture. This is a clever mystery for middle schoolers.
In The Smaller Evil, Arman never quite feels like he sees the larger picture. He sees himself as awkward and anxious, and he knows he needs help. When he meets Beau, a self help guru who has all sorts of promises about how he can help, Arman agrees to go on a week-long retreat in the middle of nowhere. But when Arman arrives at the retreat, it isn’t at all what he expected. It’s more like a cult than a self help group, and he wants to leave. That’s when things start to get really weird, and Arman isn’t sure who he can trust—or even if he can trust himself. Did he see Beau’s body covered in blood in the back of a van or didn’t he? It’s gone by the time he finds help, and no one believes him. If you love psychological thrillers, you will want to add The Smaller Evil to your to-read list now.
Lamar Giles is a YA mystery writer to watch. In his second book, Endangered, Lauren Daniels thinks of herself as “karma personified.” You probably wouldn’t even notice her if you happened to go to school with her, even if you had classes together. And that’s not unintentional. Lauren works hard to maintain a level of invisibility at school. No one would ever think that she is the one behind the anonymous photo blog Gray Scales, which specializes in revenge. But someone knows. And he or she is threatening to expose Lauren’s secret identity. This is an edge of your seat read that is sure to appeal to readers who like action-filled suspense novels, but it also addresses some serious topics like race, justice, and identity that give the story depth. Not to be missed!
Sara Shepard kicks off a new mystery series in The Amateurs, which follows a group of young people investigating a cold case about a murdered teen. Five years after the murder, there isn’t a lot to go on to find the killer, but some disturbing events lead them to believe that they are on the right track and someone wants to scare them off the case. Meanwhile the personal drama from each of the main characters sometimes threatens their ability to work together—or work on the case at all. The surprising ending just whets the appetite for what’s going to come next in this series–at least it did for me! I read it in one evening, and I expect that many fans of YA romantic mysteries won’t be able to put it down either.
The Amateurs by Sara Shepard. 2016. 9781484742273. Gr. 9-12
Endangered by Lamar Giles. 2015. 9780062297563. Gr. 9-12
The Smaller Evil by Stephanie Kuehn. 2016. 9781101994702. Gr. 9-12
The Underdogs by Sara Hammel. 2016. 9780374301613. Gr. 6-9
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