Library Blog

YA Book Reviews From Amy

teens holding books
Spread the love

Want to delve into some dark, creepy, and heart-pounding books in the comfort in your own home? Well look no further, this week I have compiled a list of 8 YA mysteries; each one is available through our collection with the OverDrive or Libby App.  Check it out or place a hold!

Every book on this list I have personally read and enjoyed. Some are contemporary mysteries that are told through a slew of different means: telephone transcripts, maps, ransom notes, podcasts, emails, and more. I have also listed some historical fiction and even fantasy books with a mystery at the heart of it.  So put on your sleuthing hat and help solve these deadly mysteries along with our main characters!

A Good Girls Guide to Murder – Holly Jackson

Pippa is working on her capstone project; while she could have picked any topic in the world, she decided to stick close to home with the disappearance and murder of local teen, Andie Bell, and the wreck that was left behind. The case has been closed for five years, but Pippa doesn’t believe that Andie’s boyfriend, Sal, was capable of committing the crime even though he admitted it before his own untimely death.

Pippa begins working with Ravi the brother of the accused murderer, investigating deep into Andie’s less than perfect past. Can she prove that Sal did not commit the crime? And if she does, does this mean a murderer is still on the loose?

A fantastic YA mystery! Check at the end of April for its sequel: Good Girl, Bad Blood.

Be aware that this story does contain some trigger warnings. Please look further into this book before reading if you have any concerns.

In the Hall with the Knife – Diana Peterfreund

When a group of teens are trapped on campus due to horrific weather, it is a chance for each one of their life-altering secrets to be found out by someone. Could a secret be the motive for murder? When the body of the headmaster is found in the conservatory, it is obvious that his death was not an accident. Could Beth “Peacock” Picaah, tennis star, that will let nothing stand in her way to keep her from winning? Orchid McKee? She is hiding from not only her past, but from someone deadly. Vaughn Green – a charity student with the skills? Sam “Mustard” Maestor – the new kid with a violent past? Finn Plum or Scarlet Mistry best friends with a vendetta against the headmaster?

Sound familiar? Based on the popular board game, CLUE, readers must look at every character as a suspect.  All had the means and motive to murder Headmaster Body. Who was in the hall with the knife?

The Cheerleaders – Kara Thomas

The town of Sunnybrook is haunted by the tragic deaths of five cheerleaders within a short amount of time.  Two girls die in a car accident, two were murdered seemingly by the next door neighbor, and the last one died by her own hand.

Monica is haunted by the death of her sister.  Five years have passed and she is doing things just to feel something – anything.  Near the anniversary of these tragedies, Monica finds a letter that says “connect the dots.”  But the accidents and murders are unconnected, right?  Monica is sent looking into the murders of her sister’s friends and wonders if the police were wrong.  Is the murderer still out there?

A mystery that made me reread parts even after I had finished it.  Smartly written!

Be aware that this story does contain some trigger warnings.  Please look further into this book before reading if you have any concerns.

One of us is Lying – Karen M. McManus

Five teens walk into detention, only four walk out alive.

Browyn is known as the brain, Addy is the beauty, Nate has a criminal past, Cooper is an athlete, and Simon is an outcast.  Simon has created an infamous gossip app that blackmails each of  his classmates. When Simon dies in the middle of detention under mysterious circumstances, everyone is a suspect. To save their names and reputations, Browyn, Addy, Nate, and Cooper must work together fo find the truth. But can they trust each other when one of them might be the murderer?
A quick read that you won’t want to put down, it is described as The Breakfast Club meets Pretty Little Liars.

Truly, Devious – Maureen Johnson

A mystery that has plagued Ellingham Academy since the 1930’s is getting looked at through a fresh set of eyes of new student, Stevie Bell. Albert Ellingham’s wife and daughter were kidnapped; one of the only pieces of evidence was a ransom note left a week earlier. The dark and twisted note created by letters from newspapers was left by Truly, Devious.

While Stevie searches for clues in present day, things surrounding her are starting to become deadly. Someone is trying to stop her from finding the truth.

This is an absolutely creepy and goose bump inducing tale that is part historical fiction and part contemporary. Be sure to check out the rest of the trilogy.

Spectacle – Jodi Lynn Zdrok

The year is 1887 in Paris France. Nathalie Baudin writes for the daily newspaper; the specialized column she writes about is the new arrivals at the morgue. One day Nathalie accidently touches the pane of glass dividing her from the body on display. All of a sudden, Nathalie’s mind is transported to the scene of the crime where she witnesses the cruel murder of the young girl that was on the morgue’s table only moments before. Played backwards and silently, Nathalie only has a little to go on with a costly consequence.

Historical fiction mixed with some supernatural elements, this novel will make you suspect everyone Nathalie knows. Be sure to check out the Spectacle’s sequel, Sensational, in this duology.

Sadie – Courtney Summers

Told through two stories: West McCray, a true crime podcast host, is reporting the story about Sadie a missing teen and her younger sister Mattie who was found murdered. Sadie is looking for vengeance; she knows who killed her sister even though she doesn’t have any physical evidence that the police will consider. Sadie goes on a solo quest looking for revenge, changing people’s lives in the process.

Is Sadie right about who murdered her sister? Will she find justice for Mattie, or is there something more sinister going on? Why can’t anyone find Sadie? Can West give Sadie a voice?

Definitely check out the audiobook version of this book to listen to the cast of readers that make the podcast element come to life.

Be aware that this story does contain some trigger warnings. Please look further into this book before reading if you have any concerns.

Four Dead Queens – Astrid Scholte

This is a Young Adult fantasy that has dystopian and mystery elements.  Our main characters, Keralie and Varin find themselves in the middle of a conspiracy that can potentially leave all four of the Quadara’s queens dead.

Keralie receives deadly visions of the separate deaths of all four queens; the only problem is that she sees the deaths through the eyes of the murderer. Each death is as gruesome as the next. Can Keralie and Varin find the reasons behind these deadly attacks and who is committing these crimes? With many twists and turns, you are left wondering who, what, when, where and why?

A truly original tale that will leave you breathless. Check out this standalone.



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.