YA Thrillers That Will Give You Chills

Fantasy might be my one true love, but I also have a soft spot for thrillers. Crime and domestic thrillers are my usual jam, but recently I’ve read some absolutely brilliant, gripping YA thrillers, so I wanted to share some recommendations with you! I know, I’m good like that.

So, if you’re looking for a gripping thrill-ride that’ll keep you up at night turning the pages and leave you gaping at the final line, you’re in the right place. Here we go…

One of Us is Lying & One of Us is Next by Karen M. McManus

Now a Netflix Original series! I read One of Us is Lying a few years ago when it was released, and I really enjoyed it and bought the sequel straight away when it came out, but I never got round to reading it. That is, until the Netflix adaptation came out, and whilst it was a fun watch, I knew I remembered things differently in the book. It prompted me to pick up One of Us is Next and finally read it, to see what happened after Simon. Well, I flew through it in a couple of days, I think I actually enjoyed book two and the new generation of Bayview students even more than the first book! I even went out straight away and bought Two Can Keep a Secret (another book by Karen M. McManus, but not in the same series) so I’d have another thriller by the same author to read when I get the craving again.

I highly recommend these books if you like shows like 13 Reasons Why, and of course, the recent One of Us is Lying Netflix adaptation! There’s a third book, titled One of Us is Back, coming out next year, so there’s plenty of time to get caught up with the Bayview Four.


This Lie Will Kill You by Chelsea Pitcher

I grabbed this book off the shelf when I bought Two Can Keep a Secret – it was sitting right next to it, I’m fairly sure there was some kind of two for £7 deal, and I mean, look at that cover? It looked like exactly what I was craving in my post-One of Us is Next rush. And I wasn’t wrong. Like a cross between Cluedo (that’s Clue to my American friends) and Riverdale, this book had me up late and reading on my lunch break at work to find out what happened and who did what to who, when and why.

This one is somewhat darker than the One of Us series, with strong Pretty Little Liars and Riverdale vibes (that dolls house in PLL is pure This Lie Will Kill You, and Ruby, one of the MCs, is a total Cheryl). It dances on the line between thriller and horror, but without the gore, so if you’re in the mood for a chilling and suspenseful read, then this one’s for you.


A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson

This is one I haven’t read yet, but I’ve heard good things and can’t wait to dive in! Here’s the blurb:

The case is closed. Five years ago, schoolgirl Andie Bell was murdered by Sal Singh. The police know he did it. Everyone in town knows he did it.

But having grown up in the same small town that was consumed by the murder, Pippa Fitz-Amobi isn’t so sure. When she chooses the case as the topic for her final year project, she starts to uncover secrets that someone in town desperately wants to stay hidden. And if the real killer is still out there, how far will they go to keep Pip from the truth?

The blurb reminds me a bit of Sadie, which I absolutely adored, so this will be jumping up to the top of my TBR!


Sadie by Courtney Summers

Speaking of Sadie, I listened to the audio book last summer and was blown away by this incredible book! Told through the POV of Sadie, who is hunting for her younger sister’s killer, and a podcast hosted by an investigative journalist who is trying to find Sadie, it’s layered and complex but so gripping and tense.

If you can, I highly recommend listening to the audio of this one, as it really does show the whole podcast format in the best way. But there is a lot of very triggering content in this one, so please do be aware before diving in, if you’re likely to be triggered by themes of sexual assault and child abuse.


Broken Things by Lauren Oliver

This is another one I’m yet to read, but I loved Lauren Oliver’s Delirium series, and the blurb for this one is just too good to pass up.

It’s been five years since Summer Marks was brutally murdered in the woods.

Everyone thinks Mia and Brynn killed their best friend. That driven by their obsession with a novel called The Way into Lovelorn the three girls had imagined themselves into the magical world where their fantasies became twisted, even deadly.

The only thing is: they didn’t do it.


On the anniversary of Summer’s death, a seemingly insignificant discovery resurrects the mystery and pulls Mia and Brynn back together once again. But as the lines begin to blur between past and present and fiction and reality, the girls must confront what really happened in the woods all those years ago—no matter how monstrous. 

Now, some of the reviews have called it predictable, but I’m actually okay with that. I love a shocking twist as much as the next girl (Gone Girl, I’m looking at you) but I really enjoy the journey towards the truth and even if I call the killer in the first few chapters, I probably can’t guess every element of what went on, so there’s still plenty to discover. Plus, I really like being right, so there’s that.

All These Bodies by Kendare Blake

Last, but not least, is this from the author of Anna Dressed in Blood (my FAVOURITE YA horror) and Three Dark Crowns. Kendare Blake is an incredible author, so this 1950s set, true crime inspired thriller with a potentially supernatural twist (Kendare calls it “true crime with a vampire”) sounds like my dream read. Here’s the blurb:

Sixteen bloodless bodies. Two teenagers. One impossible explanation.

Summer 1958—a string of murders plagues the Midwest. The victims are found in their cars and in their homes—even in their beds—their bodies drained, but with no blood anywhere.

September 19- the Carlson family is slaughtered in their Minnesota farmhouse, and the case gets its first lead: 15-year-old Marie Catherine Hale is found at the scene. She is covered in blood from head to toe, and at first she’s mistaken for a survivor. But not a drop of the blood is hers.

Michael Jensen, son of the local sheriff, yearns to become a journalist and escape his small-town. He never imagined that the biggest story in the country would fall into his lap, or that he would be pulled into the investigation, when Marie decides that he is the only one she will confess to.

As Marie recounts her version of the story, it falls to Michael to find the truth: What really happened the night that the Carlsons were killed? And how did one girl wind up in the middle of all these bodies?

Right? Right?? I’m off to buy and read this book immediately.

Happy reading friends,

Lyndsey x

Review: One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus

I read One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus on my holiday in Singapore in September and I literally flew through it, it was such a fun read.

TL;DR Five kids go into detention, but only four come out alive. They’ve all got secrets, but do any of them have a motive for murder? Simon’s plan to expose all their deepest, darkest truths on his popular gossip app could be the key…

One of Us is Lying Karen McManus

4 stars

Synopsis

A jock, a geek, a prom queen, a bad boy, and Simon the outcast are all thrown into detention for having phones in their bags. The weird thing is, they’re not their phones. That doesn’t seem to matter to the overzealous teacher though. When a crash in the school car park draws the teacher away from the room, leaving the kids alone, it’s not long before Simon is dead, the cause a suspected allergic reaction.

One by one, the kids are questioned by the police and their darkest secrets start to come out, secrets so big they might push anyone to kill to keep them hidden. Any one of the four could be responsible, or could they just be the scapegoats for a killer who’s hiding in plain sight?

By the end of the book, no one is who they seemed at first glance, and they’ll never be the same again. Isolated and feared by their schoolmates, and demonised by the local media, Bronwyn, Addy, Nate and Cooper gradually form a tight-knit circle, but is it a case of keep your friends close and your enemies closer? Or are the four witnesses to Simon’s death the only ones who can solve the mystery before the crime is pinned on the wrong person?

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This book is a fun, fast and gripping read with so many twists and turns it’ll keep you up at night turning page after page. Billed as a cross between The Breakfast Club and Pretty Little Liars, it brings together a band of misfits from every well-known high school clique and throws them into a compelling murder mystery plot for the modern age.

I had my suspicions about the climax from somewhere in the middle, but I certainly didn’t predict the whole reveal and was pleasantly surprised by some of the twists. The only reason this wasn’t a five star read is because a few of the secrets were pretty predictable and some of the drama was very high school, which is not a criticism as such, but knowing that I’m not exactly the target demographic for YA, despite it being my favourite, from a personal point of view some of the issues could have been easily resolved with a little communication. I’m sure that wouldn’t be a problem for younger readers, so that’s a very personal feeling on the novel and definitely wouldn’t make me recommend this book any less, I still think it’s a brilliant read.

I gave One of Us is Lying four stars, it’s a great contemporary thriller with well-written, flawed and interesting characters and an explosive plot twist. Have you read it yet? If not, what are you waiting for? If yes, tell me in the comments what you thought! Who was your favourite character? Did you see the twist coming? (No spoilers please!).

 

Lyndsey

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