Library Blog

YA Book Reviews by Amy


Mystery Mayhem  

I am currently ignoring my reading list because I am in the mood to read some good YA mysteries. I like to read books with a good amount of suspense and a mystery that surprises me with twists and turns. Usually murder plots, unreliable characters, and a good detective on the case is all I need to enjoy a book.   

I have always been interested in mysteries. The earliest memory I have with the mystery genre is watching Scooby-Doo; I loved watching it for the spookiness element, following the clues, and guessing ‘who-done-it’. When I was in fifth grade, I fell in love with Nancy Drew. I wanted to be just like her- smart, strong, and sassy. I devoured many different Nancy Drew books throughout the years and even enjoyed the Nancy Drew themed computer games. My taste of mysteries grew with my age; I began reading Agatha Christie and enjoyed seeing if my theories were correct or not—I’m usually pretty good at figuring out the end but not always.  

I wanted to combine my love of reading Young Adult and mysteries, so I am on the search for the perfect YA mystery. I have found a few that I have enjoyed which I recommended here. There are some new ones I have read recently that I wanted to highlight.  

Grab your magnifying glass and search for the truth with these good YA mysteries.  


The Best Lies by Sarah Lyu  

Remy’s life has never been perfect, but there were always two people she could count on: Jack, her caring boyfriend and Elise, her best friend that has been there for her this past year. So, when Elisa shoots Jack and Jack dies, Remy must think how this could possibly happen. There were only several minutes between Remy seeing Elise and leaving and Jack entering the house; is Remy’s memory of that night correct or is she forgetting something important? She must look back during the past year of her relationships to find clues and get closure. 

This book was a quick read; I couldn’t put it down. The plot switches from current day events of Remy being questioned by the police and the first day she met Elise and the history of their friendship. Give this book a chance if you like psychological thrillers.  

Check out this book at the library.  


You Owe Me a Murder by Eileen Cook  

Kim hates that she has to spend the next sixteen days on what would have been a trip of a life time in London, but after being broken up with unexpectedly and then spending the entire trip with him and his new girlfriend, she would rather do anything else. In a chance encounter at the airport, she meets a stranger named Nicki that she connects with and spills her secrets. Jokingly, they agree to solve their problems by murder. Kim does not think anything of it until her ex-boyfriend is found dead. Does Kim have to uphold her end of the bargain?    

This plot is very similar to Alfred Hitchcock’s Strangers on a Train (which just so happens to be a great movie too!) and is just as suspenseful. Eileen Cook writes morally grey characters that you as the reader must determine throughout the book if you will root for them or if you want to see their demise.  

Available on Overdrive.  


They All Fall Down by Roxanne St. Claire 

When Kenzie appears on the infamous list, she did not expect to be considered as one of the ‘Top 10 Hot Girls in School.’ With new found popularity and unwanted attention, the other girls on the list feel that they must stick together, especially when they are being killed off one by one. Kenzie does not want to believe her life is in danger, but when she delves into the history of the List, she believes this might have been in the works for decades. Kenzie’s number is getting closer and closer to her being next. Can she figure out who is behind it all before then?   

This is a creepy novel that seemed to get under my skin. I wanted to know who was the murderer and why. This book has a Pretty Little Liars vibe with some horror movie tropes.  

Check this out at the library. 


People Like Us by Dana Mele 

Kay is running from her past, but she ends up at a school where a girl is found dead in the lake. At first it appears to be a suicide, but the police believe that someone might have done that to her and Kay would have her reasons. When Kay receives a threatening email blackmailing her to destroy her friends’ reputations, she has to do it to save her own secret. It becomes clear that the person blackmailing her is most likely the murderer.  

This book is a great example of a ‘who-done-it’ while not knowing where our main character’s intentions lie. Is Kay someone you are rooting for or are you rooting for her comeuppance? Read this if you want to find out.  

Available on Overdrive.    


All Your Twisted Secrets by Diana Urban 

Six teenagers receive invitations to a scholarship dinner, only to find out that it was all a ruse to get them to do something dastardly; they must pick someone to murder or a bomb will detonate. These six people all have interconnecting lives that inhabit friendship and love, but also deceit and lies. These dishonest actions have shattered some of these relationships beyond repair and some might be a reason to volunteer someone else to be the martyr. Will we find out who has organized this evil plan and why? Will Amber, the musician, find a way to save everyone and thwart the malevolent plot?   

Remember last week when I said this book was on my library TBR? Well, I read it all in one sitting. Completely page-turning and addicting, I had to read it to find out who would commit this evil plot.  

Available as an eBook onOverdriveand eAudiobook on Hoopla    


They Wish They Were Us by Jessica Goodman 

Jill’s best friend, Shaila, was murdered her freshman year. Shaila’s boyfriend confessed to the crime, so for the past three years it seemed like an open-shut case. Now Jill is a senior and is a part of the secret society from the school that hazes the freshman just like she was. Jill recalls the struggles of fitting in and going through the horrible hazing rituals that ended the night of Shaila’s death. When she recalls certain memories, things are not adding up. Is the true killer still on the loose?  

The plot of this book was frustrating in a good way and deals with a lot of issues like bullying, hazing, and other tough issues; it is uncomfortable as it should be. 

Available on Overdrive. 


One of Us is Next by Karen M. McManus 

There is a new app that has the students of Bayview High choosing between truth or dare. If they decide not to play the game, a life-ruining truth will be exposed to the entire high school. Phoebe, Mauve, and Knox are all targeted to play, but they decide to work together to find the culprit when the ‘game’ becomes deadly.   

In my last review, I presented One of is Lying, this is a companion to that book (considered a sequel). While it may be better to read it first, One of us is Next’s story is its own. This one is just as entertaining as the first. If you enjoyed reading One of is Lying, give One of is Next a chance.  

Available on Overdrive.  


Hello everyone! I’m Amy and I am a Youth Services Librarian at the Public Library of Youngstown and Mahoning County. When I’m not trying to reach my reading goal for the year, I like to talk about what I’m reading to my family, friends, and coworkers. You could say I am a little obsessed with reading Young Adult books. I enjoy most genres, but my favorites include: Westerns, Historical Fiction, Contemporary, Fantasy, and Mystery. I am always looking for the next great book that makes me connect to its characters and hits me in the feels.