Do you love a YA book with a fast pace and intriguing mystery at its heart? So do we, which is why we compiled this list of fifteen of the best YA thriller books in varying subgenres from the last few years! Escape to a different place and time where every moment counts, and high stakes mean some choices are literally life and death!
Two Can Keep a Secret by Karen McManus
Ezra and Ellery are sent to live with the grandmother they barely know after their mom checks into an in-patient rehab facility. Once they arrive in their mom’s quaint Vermont hometown, which is haunted by their aunt’s disappearance years earlier right around Homecoming, they find that history is about to repeat itself.
You’re Next by Kylie Schachte
Flora has a nose for finding trouble. When witnesses her classmate–and secret crush–Ava’s death, she becomes determined to find the killers of so many girls who never got justice. But what she doesn’t bank on is uncovering a conspiracy that will draw a killer directly to her.
The Cheerleaders by Kara Thomas
Five years ago, five cheerleaders in Sunnybrook died under weird and mysterious circumstances. Monica’s sister was one of them. Now, the school wants to commemorate the fallen girls, but Monica feels like all they’re doing is stirring up old, painful memories–what she has yet to realize is that it’s also coaxing out a killer.
Allegedly by Tiffany D. Jackson
Mary is in a group home for killing a baby–allegedly. No one could ever prove definitively that she was the one responsible, but the evidence was stacked against her. Since she was just a kid herself, she’s in a group home, which isn’t always safe. Now expecting a baby of her own, she has to confront the truth about what really happened that night, which means finally facing her mother.
The Silence of Bones by June Hur
Seol is an indentured servant to the police bureau in Joseon (Korea) in 1800, tasked with assisting the inspectors with cases dealing with women. When a noblewoman is murdered, Seol’s curiosity gets the better of her as she begins asking her own questions about the death, and the connections to the bureau and her own haunted past.
Fake I.D. by Lamar Giles
Nick and his family are in witness protection, living under new names and pretending to be normal people. Nick knows he needs to keep his head down and not draw attention to himself, but when Nick’s friend Eli shares a conspiracy theory and then is killed for what he knows, Nick can’t help but be drawn into the case.
Dread Nation by Justina Ireland
Jane lives in a version of the past where the Civil War was interrupted by the dead rising to life. She’s trained her entire life to be an attendant, a bodyguard to the rich, white people who can afford protection against zombies. She’s set on returning home to Kentucky, but when people begin to go missing in Baltimore, Jane is drawn into the mystery.
Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas
Anna and her friends are spring breaking in Aruba, having the time of their lives until Anna’s best friend is found brutally murdered. Now, Anna is accused of the crime and everyone–their friends, the police, and even the media think she’s at fault. She maintains her innocence, but the truth isn’t nearly as straightforward as she’d like.
Five Total Strangers by Natalie D. Richards
Mira is just hoping to get home for the holidays when a blizzard grounds her connecting flight and she’s stuck in the airport. But then her seat mate Harper offers her a ride–she and three friends are renting a care and driving the rest of their journey. Mira jumps at the chance, but this car full of strangers may prove dangerous as their trip becomes fraught with lies, sabotage, and secrets.
Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
In this sci-fi thriller, Kady and Ezra have just broken up when their small mining outpost planet is attacked. The flee for their lives and are soon engaged in a desperate race against their enemy to the nearest jump station in order to alert the authorities about the attack, and they’ll have to figure out a way to work together if they’re to survive.
White Rabbit by Caleb Roehrig
Rufus was looking forward to a fun Fourth of July night partying with his friends when his half-sister April calls, desperate for help. He goes to her side, joined by Sebastian, his one-time boyfriend. They find April covered in blood, and her boyfriend dead–but she has no memory of what happened. Rufus and Sebastian must work together over the course of one dangerous, muggy night in order to clear April’s name.
The Best Lies by Sarah Lyu
Remy thought her life was pretty perfect–she had a best friend named Elise and an adoring boyfriend named Jack. But when Jack winds up dead and Elise is accused of his murder, Remy must rethink everything she thought she knew about her relationships to see a darker truth lurking beneath the surface.
Five Midnights by Anna Davila Cardinal
Lupe has just arrived in San Juan, Puerto Rico to visit family when she catches wind of a series of shocking murders that have rocked the city. With her cousin missing, she teams up with Javier, who knew one of the victims, to get to the bottom of the murders and discover who–or what–is terrorizing the city.
When I Am Through With You by Stephanie Kuehn
When Ben joins a student camping trip out in the wilderness, no one expects anyone to wind up dead. But now that Ben is in custody and being blamed for the tragedy, he’s going to tell the world exactly what happened, and he won’t leave a single detail out.
The Athena Protocol by Shamim Sarif
Jessie is a part of the Athena Protocol, a top secret elite team that targets human traffickers and criminals. They have an honor code–no killing–but when Jessie breaks that code and is kicked out, she becomes determined to absolve herself by researching a top human trafficker, hoping to get back into Athena’s good graces…but she has no clue just how much danger she’s really in.Want more great YA books? check out our best YA book club selections. Then hop on over to our best mystery book club selections for more great, thrilling reads.
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