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  • Writer's pictureMarina Rose

Recommended Reading: YA Mystery

Mystery fiction is a wide-ranging and beloved genre of novels that has been used since the early 19th-century. In general, books in the mystery genre involve a death or serious crime with no clear resolution. YA mystery takes this elements and uses teens and young adults (age 13-23) to develop stories that appeal to a wide audience. Check out this librarian-curated list of must-read young adult mystery novels.

A girl stands in the middle of a road facing a foggy forest.

Sadie has been raising her younger sister, Mattie, and trying to provide a normal life for them in a small, isolated town. So when Mattie is found dead, Sadie's entire world is flipped upside down. The local police department botches their investigation, and Sadie can't rest until she brings the killer to justice - she has a good idea who the murderer is and what her next steps are. When a local radio personality hears about Sadie's story, he creates a Serial-like podcast tracking Sadie's journey and trying to find her before it's too late.

cover photo of Monday's Not Coming by Tiffany Jackson

Claudia and Monday are inseparable best friends getting ready to begin their 8th grade year. Claudia shows up to the first day of class, but Monday isn't there - which isn't like her. Monday doesn't show up the next day, or the next. After a couple of weeks go by, Claudia tries to find out what happened to her best friend. No one will give her a straight answer - not Monday's mom or Monday's sister. No one seems to remember the last time they saw Monday. It's as though she vanished without a trace. Claudia doesn't buy that, and she's determined to find out what happened.

Time bomb follows six very different teens - a Congressman's daughter, a star quarterback, a clarinet player, an orphaned rebel, a religious boy, and an "invisible" kid - during a lockdown at their school. Early in the morning, during a regular school day, the teens find themselves closed in their school building with an timed bomb - and the unidentified bomber. Is the bomber one of them, or someone else? Time is ticking, and they need to find the killer before it's too late.

cover photo of One of Us is Lying by Karen McManus

Breakfast Club meets Clue in this teen murder mystery. One Monday afternoon, five students are sent to detention - Bronwyn - a model student well on her way to Yale, Addy - the popular girl destined to be homecoming queen, Nate - the bad boy drug dealer, Cooper - the school's shining baseball all-star, and Simon. Simon's an outcast, and he created a gossip app for his school - revealing juicy secrets about his fellow classmates. All seems well until detention ends and only four students walk out alive - Simon is dead, a day before he planned to reveal very deep secrets about the other four students in detention. Bronwyn, Addy, Nate, and Cooper are all suspects for the murder - but was it really one of them, or is the killer still on the loose?

Arthur Louis Palmer III may be on the verge of a nervous breakdown. He's sent away to live with his aunt and uncle after losing his college scholarship. While at his aunt and uncle's house, Arthur discovers a journal of his paternal grandfather, Arthur Louis Palmer I. Arthur I went missing during the last week of his life and was found dead hundreds of miles from home. Years later there are still a lot of unknowns about his disappearance. But with the discovery of his journal, Arthur III sets out to unravel the mystery of his grandfather's disappearance and subsequent death. He traces the steps his grandfather took during his last week of life in order to uncover the truth.

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