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,