I am a huge fan of all types of mystery books. I grew up reading Nancy Drew, and these days I love reading books by James Patterson and Lee Child. However, I find that it is sometimes a bit hard to find this type of mystery in YA books. I've compiled a list of what I think are some of the best YA mystery or suspense books out there.
All of the descriptions are from Goodreads.
The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein by Kiersten White
Elizabeth Lavenza hasn't had a proper meal in weeks. Her thin arms are covered with bruises from her "caregiver," and she is on the verge of being thrown into the streets . . . until she is brought to the home of Victor Frankenstein, an unsmiling, solitary boy who has everything--except a friend.
Victor is her escape from misery. Elizabeth does everything she can to make herself indispensable--and it works. She is taken in by the Frankenstein family and rewarded with a warm bed, delicious food, and dresses of the finest silk. Soon she and Victor are inseparable.
But her new life comes at a price. As the years pass, Elizabeth's survival depends on managing Victor's dangerous temper and entertaining his every whim, no matter how depraved. Behind her blue eyes and sweet smile lies the calculating heart of a girl determined to stay alive no matter the cost . . . as the world she knows is consumed by darkness.
The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein is a light suspense story. It only gets suspenseful at the end of the story as everything begins to reveal itself. The beginning of the story talks about Elizabeth and Victor's childhood and Elizabeth's hunt to find Victor. I loved reading the flashbacks and watching Elizabeth and Victor grow up together.
#MurderTrending by Gretchen McNeil
Welcome to the near future, where good and honest 8/18 citizens can enjoy watching the executions of society’s most infamous convicted felons, streaming live on The Postman app from the suburbanized prison island Alcatraz 2.0.
When eighteen-year-old Dee Guerrera wakes up in a haze, lying on the ground of a dimly lit warehouse, she realizes she’s about to be the next victim of the app. Knowing hardened criminals are getting a taste of their own medicine in this place is one thing, but Dee refuses to roll over and die for a heinous crime she didn’t commit. Can Dee and her newly formed posse, the Death Row Breakfast Club, prove she’s innocent before she ends up wrongfully murdered for the world to see? Or will The Postman’s cast of executioners kill them off one by one?
This book was so much fun! I loved the concept of a television show of convicted felons trying to survive on this island until one by one they are executed. The executors each have their own style and trademark killing style, including the Gucci Hangman who hangs his victims in a designer noose designed to match their completion and the hottest trends on the runways. It was exciting to see the live feed chats going on during the show, and I enjoyed watching the group of felons try to survive and prove that Dee was framed.
The Opposite of Here by Tera Altebrando
Natalie's parents are taking her and her three best friends on a cruise for her seventeenth birthday. A sail-a-bration, they call it. But it's only been a few short months since Natalie's boyfriend died in a tragic accident, and she wants to be anywhere but here.
Then she meets a guy on the first night and sparks fly. After a moonlit conversation on a secluded deck of the ship, Natalie pops down to her cabin to get her swimsuit so they can go for a dip. But when she returns, he's gone. Something he said makes her think he might have . . . jumped? No, he couldn't have.
But why do her friends think she's crazy for wanting to make sure he's okay? Also, why do they seem to be hiding something from her? And how can she find him when she doesn't even know his name? Most importantly, why is the captain on the intercom announcing the urgent need for a headcount?
This was an amusing quick suspense read, with Hitchcock-inspired elements. I love the concept of the book, and I think that it was done well. An entertaining aspect of this book is that parts of it are written in a movie script like style. The mystery was a bit predictable, but it didn't stop me from enjoying the book. I think that the best part was the ending, as in the last two pages. There was such a surprising twist, and I finished the book in shock!
Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco
Seventeen-year-old Audrey Rose Wadsworth was born a lord's daughter, with a life of wealth and privilege stretched out before her. But between the social teas and silk dress fittings, she leads a forbidden secret life.
Against her stern father's wishes and society's expectations, Audrey often slips away to her uncle's laboratory to study the gruesome practice of forensic medicine. When her work on a string of savagely killed corpses drags Audrey into the investigation of a serial murderer, her search for answers brings her close to her own sheltered world.
The story's shocking twists and turns, augmented with real, sinister period photos, will make this dazzling, #1 New York Times bestselling debut from author Kerri Maniscalco impossible to forget.
This book was amazing! One of my favorite parts about it are the real photos that are incorporated into the book. This made the book feel much more real to me. The surprise at the end was a bit predictable, but I loved how Maniscalco got to that part. This book is gory at parts so I wouldn't recommend reading it if you aren't a fan of gore.
A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro
The last thing Jamie Watson wants is a rugby scholarship to Sherringford, a Connecticut prep school just an hour away from his estranged father. But that’s not the only complication: Sherringford is also home to Charlotte Holmes, the famous detective’s great-great-great-granddaughter, who has inherited not only Sherlock’s genius but also his volatile temperament. From everything Jamie has heard about Charlotte, it seems safer to admire her from afar.
From the moment they meet, there’s a tense energy between them, and they seem more destined to be rivals than anything else. But when a Sherringford student dies under suspicious circumstances, ripped straight from the most terrifying of the Sherlock Holmes stories, Jamie can no longer afford to keep his distance. Jamie and Charlotte are being framed for murder, and only Charlotte can clear their names. But danger is mounting and nowhere is safe—and the only people they can trust are each other.
I loved this book! Watching the dynamic between Holmes and Watson grow throughout the story was so much fun. I enjoyed how I kept on guessing who the murderer was. I will say that I got it right, but they did it for reasons I was nowhere close to. The only part about this story that I didn't enjoy as much is that I was often kept in the dark. There would be moments where Holmes would predict what would happen or organize a secret plan and only after it played out, flawlessly I might add, she would be all like, "yep, that was my plan." I understand that this secrecy is part of Holmes character, but I grew tired of it at the end.
The Truth and Lies of Ella Black by Emily Barr
Ella Black has always had dark inclinations. She's successfully hidden her evil alter ego from her family and friends, but Bella is always there, ready to take control and force Ella to do bad things. When Ella's parents drag her out of school one afternoon and fly across the globe to Rio de Janeiro with no believable explanation, Bella longs to break free--and so does Ella. Because for all that her parents claim to be doing what's best for her, Ella knows there is something going on that they're not divulging, and she is determined to find out what.
Once in Rio, Ella learns a shocking truth about her family that gives way to a mission through the streets and beaches of Brazil in search of her authentic self. But the truth has many layers, and as Ella uncovers more and more about her own history, she struggles to come to terms with just where it is that she came from.
The Truth and Lies of Ella Black is a great read, with a bit of suspense. The beginning is the most suspenseful part, but I still enjoyed the rest of the story. I loved reading about Ella's travels through Rio de Janeiro and her growth throughout the book.