The exciting and fascinating riddles that lie between the covers of a superb mystery novel have long been a favorite among readers.
Readers can follow a mystery through revealing clues, dramatic turns, and exciting revelations in any mystery novel.
You have plenty of options when you are looking for your next mystery book to pick up. However, if you don’t want to spend ages researching which books you should be reading, then I have done all the work for you.
I have collected the 27 best young adult mystery books that you need to read. All of these books will keep you on the edge of your seat for hours.
27 Young Adult Mystery Books You Need To Read
There are lots of mystery books out there that will have you keep turning the pages to know what happens next.
These mysteries include high stakes and unreliable characters. You may even be tempted to try to solve the case before the characters do.
Read on to discover my top choices that you need to read.
The Loneliest Girl In The Universe by Lauren James
Romy Silvers, who is an astronaut’s daughter, is accustomed to living in space.
Yet before her parents’ sudden deaths left her stranded on the Infinity, a spaceship hurtling away from Earth, she had no idea how lonely the universe could be.
Romy makes an effort to make the most of her lonesome circumstance. However, when NASA informs her that a new spacecraft, the Eternity, will be boarding the Infinity, she believes it’s a dream come true.
Eventually, Romy starts communicating through with J, the Eternity’s captain. Romy discovers, however, that there is more to J’s mission than she might have anticipated as the Eternity approaches closer.
- The thoughts and feelings of Romy are quite realistic.
- Emotional and shocking twist at the end.
- Good pace.
- Not all the characters are explored.
Daughter Of The Burning City by Amanda Foody
The majority of Sorina’s sixteen years had been spent within the confines of the Gomorrah Festival.
Sorina stands out among the numerous eccentric people who make up the moving circus city, since she is the only illusionist to be born in a very long time.
She has a unique ability to conjure illusions that other people can see, touch, and feel, and each have distinct personalities. However realistic they may appear, her illusions aren’t real. Until one of them is killed.
Sorina must find the perpetrator and figure out how they killed a person who doesn’t actually exist in order to save her family.
- Good exploration of family bonds.
- LGBTQ themes explored.
- Fast-paced story.
- Some readers found it difficult to connect with Sorina.
One Of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus
Bronwyn, a Yale candidate, has never disobeyed a rule in public. Cooper is a professional athlete who is exclusively competent on the baseball diamond. Nate, the bad boy, is just one slip-up from entering the world of crime.
Addy, the prom queen, is attempting to patch up the gaps in her ideal existence. While outsider Simon, the brains behind Bayview High’s infamous gossip app, will never again speak about any of them again.
Before he could reveal their darkest secrets online, Simon passes away. It’s not an accident, according to investigators. Thus, Bronwyn, Cooper, Nate, and Addy are all suspects.
- Great exploration of friendships.
- The four main characters are well fleshed out.
- POV style of writing works well.
- Due to multiple perspectives, this can make the book difficult to follow.
People Like Us by Dana Mele
Although Kay Donovan might have a few dark secrets, she has completely recreated herself. She is now an amazing soccer player, and she and her stunning pals effortlessly rule their private school with charm and humor.
Nevertheless, when a girl’s body is discovered in the lake, Kay’s meticulously planned existence starts to fall apart.
A computer-coded treasure hunt that the murdered girl left for Kay leads to the suspicion of suspect after suspect, until Kay finds herself at the center of a murder inquiry.
- Kay goes on an interesting personal journey in the book.
- Character driven story.
- Lots of twists and turns.
- Some readers found it difficult to connect to all the characters.
Now Entering Addamsville by Francesca Zappia
Zora is blamed by everybody in Adamsville, Indiana when the school janitor’s house is set on fire, and he perishes in the ensuing fire. Yet, Zora has been living a moral life since her father was sent to jail.
Her only option, with everyone seeking for evidence to use against her, is to find out who the real killer is. One significant issue is that Zora has no leads. To clear her name, Zora must work with her cousin Artemis.
Things aren’t looking good for Zora with a famous ghost-hunting television show upsetting the locals, barely any assistance from her loved ones, and out-of-control rumors.
- Strong female character.
- Great mix between mystery and ghosts.
- Action sequences are really detailed.
- The story ends on a huge cliffhanger and readers are still waiting for a sequel.
The Missing Season by Gillian French
The children of Pender, an old factory town, are aware that a creature, they refer to as the Mumbler, is to blame whenever another child goes missing in October.
When Clara first gets to the area, her new crew informs her of this story. She is taken care of by Bree, Sage, Trace (who is in charge of the Halloween prank war this year) and irresistible Kincaid.
Although Clara doesn’t genuinely believe in the Mumbler, she can’t help but feel that there is something sinister and dangerous in Pender as Halloween approaches. Especially, as tensions are rising in the community.
- Lots of suspense.
- Gripping story.
- The characters are fleshed out and feel real.
- The middle of the book has some pacing issues.
Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco
Audrey Rose Wadsworth, was born a lord’s daughter and has a lifestyle of possibilities and wealth ahead of her.
Although, Audrey has been leading a hidden, secret life while attending society teas and satin dress fittings.
Audrey often defies her father’s strict rules and goes against social norms to visit her uncle’s laboratory to learn about the gruesome field of forensic science and medicine.
Suddenly, Audrey is drawn into the inquiry of a serial killer while studying a series of gruesomely murdered corpses. She is even forced to confront her own safe place and the life she leads.
- Strong female character protagonist.
- Colorful cast of supporting characters to follow.
- You get to understand the tragedy that Jack the Ripper left behind.
- There is a lack of action sequences.
The Box In The Woods by Maureen Johnson
This single book is set in the Really Devious universe. Amateur detective Stevie Bell needs a satisfying murder to solve.
She has returned home for a normal summer after apprehending a murderer at her high school.
The proprietor of Sunny Pines, the location of the infamous unsolved case, sends her a message. Stevie is invited to the camp to assist the new owner in creating a true-crime podcast about the tragedy.
Nothing seems more enjoyable than spending the summer looking into historical murders. However, Sunny Pines continues to harbor a dark presence. Stevie might not survive this time.
- Standalone book, so you don’t need to have read the previous three books in the Truly Devious series.
- Lots of humor to enjoy.
- Loveable characters.
- Some readers found the plot tricky to follow due to flashbacks.
Two Can Keep A Secret by Karen M. McManus
Echo Ridge is a typical American community. Yet, five years ago, a homecoming queen’s murder made the town famous, and Ellery’s aunt also went missing there when she was seventeen.
Ellery is currently required to relocate there to live with a grandma she hardly knows.
Although the community appears idyllic, secrets are being kept there. Even before the first day of school, someone has declared that homecoming will be just as deadly as it was five years ago. Then, another girl vanishes.
Ellery is an expert on secrets. She stays at Echo Ridge for a while, and it soon becomes obvious that everybody there is concealing something.
- Plenty of plot twists.
- Likable characters.
- Shocking and unpredictable ending.
- Malcolm is a difficult character to connect to.
The Cartographers by Peng Shepherd
Nell Young has been an avid cartographer her entire life. Dr. Daniel Young, her father, is a pioneer in the area.
Although, she hasn’t seen or spoken to him since he unjustly fired her and damaged her reputation. This was following a dispute over an outdated highway map found in a petrol station.
Nell is compelled to look into the death of her father at the New York Public Library after seeing the exact, identical, seemingly useless map buried in his desk.
She quickly learns, to her astonishment, that the map is very valuable and rare.
In fact, she might currently possess the final map, as a strange collector has been tracking them all down and destroying them as well as anyone who stands in their way.
- There is lots of action to follow.
- Good exploration of cartography.
- Multiple POV to enjoy.
- The ending is a bit rushed.
Dead Girls Detective Agency by Suzy Cox
What might you do if the only way to move on after death was to resolve your own murder? Charlotte Feldman, is a young woman who must unravel the mystery of her own murder in order to leave purgatory.
Meet the members of the Dead Ladies Detective Agency: Tess, Edison, Lorna, and Nancy, who help Charlotte solve this case.
It appears that discovering her killer is the only way to leave this precarious situation. Yet, she may have underestimated the murderer.
- Lots of humor to enjoy.
- Interesting and well-thought-out concept.
- Lovable characters.
- Certain elements of this book are very clique.
The Cheerleaders by Kara Thomas
In Sunnybrook, there are no longer any cheerleaders. The car crash came first. Then the murders took place shortly after, thanks to the man next door.
Everyone will never understand why he did it because the police shot him.
The last dead cheerleader was Monica’s sister. Sunnybrook High’s cheerleading squad was disbanded following her suicide, five years ago.
Now, Sunnybrook High’s faculty and students wish to honor the deceased cheerleaders. Yet, Monica finds it difficult.
There are the notes in her stepdad’s desk, a recently discovered cell phone from years ago, and a mysterious new classmate. Whatever occurred five years ago is still an issue that needs to be solved.
- Lots of tension throughout the novel.
- Monica is a well-developed and interesting character to follow.
- Each chapter is paced well.
- Certain chapters feel unnecessary.
Monday’s Not Coming by Tiffany D. Jackson
It seems that only Claudia is aware that Monday Charles has gone missing. Claudia is worried when Monday doesn’t show up on the first day of the new school year.
Claudia is aware that there is a problem. She wouldn’t be left alone to handle bullies and tests without her best friend. Monday’s sister April isn’t much help, and Monday’s mother won’t give Claudia a direct answer.
Claudia discovers that no one can remember when they last saw Monday, as she continues to delve into the disappearance of her best friend.
How is it possible for a teenage girl to completely disappear without a single person noticing?
- These books give a great insight to someone living with dyslexia.
- Addresses important issues we face in society today.
- Emotional and suspenseful story.
- There are lots of time jumps which can be difficult to follow.
The Darkness Outside Us by Eliot Schrefer
Two boys alone in the universe, who also happen to be sworn enemies on the same mission.
Ambrose has no recollection of the launch when he awakens on the Coordinated Endeavor. His mother voices the ship’s operating system.
There is evidence that outsiders have been aboard, and his dashing, brooding shipmate has locked himself away.
Nevertheless, Ambrose will not let anything stand in the way of his mission—not when it involves saving his own sister.
Ambrose and Kodiak have to cooperate and build trust in order to navigate the ship’s mysteries. The only way to make it through might be via love.
- Great character development.
- Slow burn mystery and romance combined.
- Plenty of twists and turns to enjoy.
- The ending feels slightly rushed.
If You’re Out There by Katy Loutzenhiser
When Priya abruptly disappears after moving to California, Zan is confused and devastated.
Even worse, Priya’s social media has devolved into a stream of poorly written postings that chronicle a cheery, dull new existence and don’t sound at all like her.
Zan starts talking about how sad, insecure, and betrayed she feels once she meets Logan, the attractive new guy in Spanish class. He is just as eager as she is to jump into the inquiry.
Then, a hint found in Priya’s most recent selfie raises a new, quite unsettling possibility. Perhaps Priya isn’t only not responding to Zan’s emails. She may be unable to.
- Great exploration of friendships and relationships.
- Full of witty humor.
- Unexpected plot twists.
- The romance feels forced at times.
Broken Things by Lauren Oliver
Summer Marks was cruelly killed in the woods five years ago. Everyone believes that Brynn and Mia murdered their best friend, but they didn’t actually do it.
A seemingly trivial finding revives the mystery on the anniversary of Summer’s passing and brings Mia and Brynn back together.
The girls, however, are forced to confront what actually occurred in the forests all those years ago, no matter how horrifying. As the lines between the present and the past and between fiction and reality start to blur.
- A great build up of mystery and tension.
- Enjoyable story about the love of books and friendships.
- Good paced plot.
- The ending is over-explained, with too many details.
You Were Never Here by Kathleen Peacock
Ever since she was twelve years old, Cat has not visited Montgomery Falls, the community that her family established.
Since that summer, she has learned that she is capable of doing things that a typical 12-year-old is not. After Cat and Riley Fraser shared their first kiss, this also ended their friendship.
Cat is back now, five years later, and Riley is nowhere to be found. When Riley’s brother, Noah, requests for assistance in figuring out what occurred.
Cat is divided between wanting to know the truth and keeping the secret she’s been keeping since that summer.
- Interesting characters to learn about.
- Mystery combined with a love triangle.
- Lots of suspense.
- The beginning is slowly paced.
Ghost Wood Song by Erica Waters
Shady Grove is able to summon ghosts from the afterlife with her father’s fiddle. She is also aware that the fiddle’s music only heralds trouble and gloom.
Shady can’t let the dead hold their secrets once her brother is suspected of killing someone.
She must find a way to make those spirits sing if she wants to clear his name.
- Ghosts help to elevate this story to become really creepy.
- Romance doesn’t take away from the main plot.
- Good exploration of grief.
- The ending is slightly predictable.
#MurderTrending by Gretchen McNeil
Welcome to the not-too-distant future, where law-abiding residents can delight in watching the executions of some of society’s most notorious criminals.
This is streamed live from the prison island Alcatraz 2.0 on The Postman app.
Dee Guerrera, thinks she is likely to become the app’s next victim as she awakens hazily and lies on the floor of a dimly illuminated warehouse.
It’s one thing to know that seasoned criminals are getting their just deserts here, but Dee won’t submit and die for a terrible act she didn’t do.
Will Dee and her recently formed gang, the Death Row Breakfast Club, establish her innocence before each one is killed and watched by the world.
- Good world building.
- Developed characters.
- Good mixture of mystery and romance.
- Very graphic deaths.
A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson
Andie Bell, a popular and attractive senior in high school, was killed by Sal Singh, who later killed himself.
Even though it has been five years, Pip still feels that there must have been more to the tragedy that still looms over her community. Sal was always kind to her, so how could he be a murderer?
For her final assignment, Pip, a senior herself, decides to revisit the closed case. At first, she does so only to cast doubt on the first findings.
Nevertheless, she soon finds a trail of sinister truths that may actually show Sal to be innocent.
- Short chapters that are easy to follow.
- Lots of suspense and tension to enjoy.
- Pip is a well-thought-out character.
- Certain conversations between characters are unnecessary and forced.
A Study In Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro
Charlotte Holmes has always attracted Jamie Watson’s interest. After all, their great-great-great-grandfathers are among history’s most notorious duos.
Charlotte makes it obvious that she is not searching for friends when Jamie and she winds up in the same boarding school.
Jamie is no longer able to avoid a situation where a student with whom they both have a history with passes away under questionable circumstances.
Their death is as if it were right out of the most terrifying Sherlock Holmes tale. The only people they may rely on when danger increases are one another.
- The finer details make this plot really intriguing.
- Great first installment of the Charlotte Holmes series.
- The suspense is built up slowly to create the most impact at the end.
- Certain side characters are underdeveloped.
White Rabbit by Caleb Roehrig
It’s the worst night of Rufus Holt’s life. The first sign of trouble is the return of Sebastian, the ex-boyfriend who broke his heart. Sebastian unexpectedly shows up and says they need to talk.
Then April, Rufus’ sister, calls to plead for assistance. She is discovered holding a knife next to the body of her boyfriend, Fox Whitney.
April adamantly denies killing Fox. However, Rufus is too familiar with her to trust that she is being really honest with him.
Rufus now has just one night to clear his sister’s name, and his only source of trust is the boy he desperately wants to despise but can’t stop loving.
- Interesting mystery.
- Likable main characters.
- Good mix of humor and darkness.
- Difficult themes are explored in this book.
The Diviners by Libba Bray
Evie O’Neill has been sent to the busy streets of New York City after being banished from her dull little village.
The only drawback is that she must share an apartment with her uncle Will, who has an unhealthy preoccupation with the supernatural.
Evie is concerned that he may learn about her darkest secret, a magical ability that has only caused her trouble thus far.
The police discover a dead girl who was marked with a mysterious symbol, and Evie believes her ability may be able to help catch the culprit.
Other tales are being told in the city which never sleeps, as Evie plunges headfirst into a dance with a murderer.
- Detailed world building.
- Multiple points of view allow you to learn about more characters.
- Well-thought-out villain.
- Pacing issues throughout the book.
Sadie by Courtney Summers
Sadie’s life hasn’t been simple. She raised her sister Mattie in a remote, tiny village, doing her best to give them a decent existence and keep them afloat.
Then Sadie’s entire world falls apart when Mattie is discovered dead. After a mishandled public inquiry, Sadie is desperate to discover the person who killed her sister. She sets out on the road in search of him.
West McCray becomes fixated on finding Sadie after hearing her story at a nearby gas station.
He launches his own podcast and follows Sadie’s journey while attempting to understand what transpired and searching for her before it’s too late.
- You feel connected to Sadie and what she has gone through.
- Chapters alternate between Sadie’s POV and the podcast, which gives you a complete picture.
- Realistic ending.
- Very dark and difficult themes are spoken about, which may be upsetting for some readers.
All Of This Is True by Lygia Day Peñaflor
One group of friends’ worlds will be rocked when they become friends with author Fatima Ro, and one of them ends up in hospital.
Miri Tan loved Ro’s work, and her friends helped to concoct a strategy to get closer to her. Soleil Johnston hoped to pursue a career as a writer. She couldn’t believe their luck when the group began spending time with Ro.
Penny Panzarella was prepared to reveal all of her secrets to Ro to demonstrate that she was more than the party girl everyone assumed she was.
This suspenseful tale will keep you on the edge of your seat as it is presented as a succession of journal entries and interviews.
- Great characters.
- Good exploration of friendships.
- Very intense.
- The plot was a bit messy due to being told through interviews and journal entries.
Missing, Presumed Dead by Emma Berquist
Lexi has the ability to predict when and how someone will pass away. Others claim it’s a gift, but Lexi sees it as a burden because it leaves her friendless and isolated.
All of that changes after Lexi observes a young woman named Jane being killed violently outside the local club.
Jane doesn’t pass peacefully into the afterlife. Her ghost is still there, determined to find her killer, and she needs Lexi’s assistance. To make up for not being able to save Jane’s life, Lexi will stop at nothing to assist Jane.
- Engaging mystery.
- Intriguing world building.
- Good mix of supernatural, horror, fantasy, and mystery.
- The romance is messy and doesn’t add to the overall plot.
All The Things We Do In The Dark by Saundra Mitchell
Many years ago, Ava experienced a tragedy. The evidence is the curved scar on her face. The traces of someone else’s secrets, however, are frozen in the woods outside of town, waiting for Ava to find them.
What Ava discovers, however, poses a threat to the well crafted wall of ordinary that she has spent years erecting around herself.
Secrets leave their marks. What do you do, though, if the secrets in question are not your own? Ignore the reality and leave?
Or do you reopen old wounds that have now started to heal and let it emerge from its shallow grave?
- Ava is well-defined and very loveable.
- A thought-provoking plot.
- This book is only 300 pages, so it’s easy to read.
- This book does examine very mature and triggering themes.
There is a broad range of mystery books that are perfect for young adults to read, however, when you are selecting there are a few factors to keep in mind.
These factors can help you decide what makes these mystery books the best ones to read.
To make a good mystery book, there needs to be suspense. Tension should be created and built up slowly. This will keep readers turning the pages to find out what will happen next.
Without suspense, the mystery may not be as interesting as the raiders hoped.
A mystery shouldn’t be an obvious story. There needs to be plenty of twists and turns to keep the reader on the edge of their seat. These twists should all come together in the final few pages or chapters to create a really gripping mystery.
Without lots of twists, then the reader will be able to guess and solve the mystery within the first couple of chapters.
The characters that are involved in a mystery book need to be really well fleshed out and developed. With a mystery book, we will often follow one or a group of characters and see the investigation from their different points of view.
The characters are a really important aspect of any book, but with mystery books there needs to be a defined reason as to why they are so interested in the mystery.
What makes all the books we have spoken about, one of the best mysteries you need to read, is that they all include a great hook.
A hook is used within the first few pages that makes the reader continue reading to discover what has happened. It creates curiosity, and makes the reader ask more questions.
For anyone who loves to solve crimes, then you will love the mystery books I have outlined above.
While these books are written with young adults in mind, even adults may enjoy reading the interesting characters and intriguing stories found in these books.
I have provided you with 27 of the best young adult mystery books that you need to read. Each book will leave you on the edge of your seat, dying to know what happens next.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Do You Know If A Book Is A Mystery?
A mystery book will always follow a crime like a disappearance or a murderer. This crime is followed from the second it has been committed until it has been solved.
Sometimes multiple points of views or flashbacks are employed.
What Is A Mystery Book Referred To As?
At the beginning of the nineteenth century, the mystery subgenre started to take shape as we know it today.
The focus of the genre, often referred to as crime fiction, detective stories, murder mystery novels, or police novels. This is since they follow crimes that need to be solved.
What Is The Most Complicated Mystery Book?
Cain’s Jawbone by Torquemada is regarded as the most challenging mystery ever written. Only four individuals have, to date, have managed to figure out this nearly 100-year-old literary conundrum.
If you are looking for a challenge, then this book could be a consideration. Although, this book is not suited to younger readers.
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