Young Adult Mystery Must Reads

Earlier we posted some of our favorite recently released Young Adult tales that deal with compelling modern day issues. But, this fall readers will also find some great YA reads that deliver compelling, and sometimes creepy, tales of mystery. Today we round out five new must-reads and RT’s editors’ suggestions for YA favorites to fill-out your TBR pile.




The story: Based on the riveting Amanda Knox case, Betrayal by Gregg Olsen presents the tragic murder of a British student studying in the small town of Port Gamble. Twins Hayley and Taylor Ryan tackle the mystery and attempt to flush out the killer from all the many suspects. But the deeper they dig, the more secrets they uncover — secrets that involve not only the murder, but their town and even their own family.

The reviewer says: RT reviewer Raven loved the “vivid realistic descriptions of criminal justice techniques.”

The audience: Teens, or teens at heart, that watch procedural TV shows and courtroom dramas are sure to be intrigued by this riveting tale.  


The story: Who can you trust when you don’t even remember who you are? That’s one of the problems plaguing amnesiac Miranda North in the debut YA, False Memory, by Dan Krokos. What Miranda does remember is her name, her age, and, that deep down inside, she has the skills of a super sleuth. Together with her friends and the guy who claims to be her boyfriend, she’s on a mission to discover who she can (and can’t) trust. 

The reviewer says: RT's Marie warns readers that they "won't be able to catch their breath" during this absolutely thrilling story.

The audience: If you like teen protags who kick some serious butt, then this is the story for you. 


The story: The question of identity also surfaces in Beautiful Lies, a new thriller by Jessica Warman. Rachel and Alice are identical twins, right down to their very toes. It’s impossible to tell them apart, but when one sister disappears the other is left behind to discover that their similarities are only skin deep. Because she’s been keeping secrets that just may tear them apart for good.

The reviewer says: RT's Raven says that the story's "complex characters" round out this stunning psychological thriller. 

The audience: With less action, but more inner turmoil, this story is for readers wanting to be left searching for answers up until the very last page.


The story:  Amelia Anne is Dead and Gone by Kat Rosenfield presents the tale of two lives smothered by the restraints of small town life: Becca, who worries that she’ll never be able to escape after graduation, and Amelia Anne, who’ll never have the chance to leave because she’s dead. Becca struggles with her own fears and doubts as she looks into the death of the young girl found discarded by the side of the road.

The reviewer says: Although not twins, and not even sisters, the lives of the two girls intertwine in the debut that RT's Marie calls "wonderfully, oppressively atmospheric."

The audience: Do you love Edgar Allan Poe's short stories? Can't get enough of Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights? Then this could be exactly the read you've been waiting for.


The story: During a party gone wrong, Meg, the heroine in Gretchen McNeil's Ten, can't get off the isolated island she finds herself on. When another partygoer supposedly commits suicide, the hunt for answers is on. 

The reviewer says: RT's Marie rated this story a Top Pick! and says, "With its quippy dialogue, it's like reading Scream."

The audience: Agatha Christie fans unite! 



If you’ve already read the books above, RT Editors are on hand to suggest other oldie, but goodie reads. The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin was the immediate suggestion from RT’s Mala who gleefully says, “It is a classic.” This puzzling book will have you scratching your head, and don’t be fooled by its early publication date (1979), this story is a genre original which stands the test of time. She also suggests that you look into procuring a copy of the YA noir thriller, Master of Murder by Christopher Pike. It is, in her words, “delightfully devious” and another excellent library/thrift store find.

Of course, there's always the classic teen sleuth, Nancy Drew, who's still solving crimes today! (And RT's Elissa has also always been partial to the mischievous Trixie Belden.) Elissa seconds Mala's Christopher Pike vote, she reads Last Act, which is a twisted forefather of High School Musical, at least once a year. As of late there's also been an amazing YA mystery resurgence. Michele Jaffe's Ghost Flower will keep you wondering — am I reading a paranormal mystery or not — until the very end. Ghost Flower also won RT's Seal of Excellence Award, so you know it's sure to please those looking for a side of mystery with their YA!

Is there a YA mystery that you hold near and dear to your heart? Don’t keep it a secret, spill the goods and leave a comment! For more YA visit our Everything Young Adult Page!