YA Friday: Twisted Thrillers

Person standing in front of headlights with a crowbar.

Do you like dark, suspenseful, pulse-pounding books that raise your hair and set your nerves on edge? What would we do without a good YA thriller? Well, we'd probably spend less time sleeping with the lights on, but we digress. If you are looking for an intense and twisty thriller, then this list is for you!

 

Hollow Fires, book cover

Hollow Fires Samira Ahmed

Safiya Mirza dreams of becoming a journalist. And one thing she’s learned as editor of her school newspaper is that a journalist’s job is to find the facts and not let personal biases affect the story. But all that changes the day she finds the body of a murdered boy.

Jawad Ali was fourteen years old when he built a cosplay jetpack that a teacher mistook for a bomb. A jetpack that got him arrested, labeled a terrorist—and eventually killed. But he’s more than a dead body, and more than “Bomb Boy.” He was a person with a life worth remembering.

Driven by Jawad’s haunting voice guiding her throughout her investigation, Safiya seeks to tell the whole truth about the murdered boy and those who killed him because of their hate-based beliefs.

 

Girl, Unframed, book cover

Girl, Unframed Deb Caletti

Sydney Reilly has a bad feeling about going home to San Francisco before she even gets on the plane. How could she not? Her mother is Lila Shore—the Lila Shore—a film star who prizes her beauty and male attention above all else…certainly above her daughter.

But Sydney’s worries multiply when she discovers that Lila is involved with the dangerous Jake, an art dealer with shady connections. Jake loves all beautiful objects, and Syndey can feel his eyes on her whenever he’s around. And he’s not the only one. Sydney is starting to attract attention—good and bad—wherever she goes: from sweet, handsome Nicco Ricci, from the unsettling construction worker next door, and even from Lila. Behaviors that once seemed like misunderstandings begin to feel like threats as the summer grows longer and hotter.

It’s unnerving, how beauty is complicated, and objects have histories, and you can be looked at without ever being seen. But real danger, crimes of passion, the kind of stuff where someone gets killed—it only mostly happens in the movies, Sydney is sure. Until the night something life-changing happens on the stairs that lead to the beach. A thrilling night that goes suddenly very wrong. When loyalties are called into question. And when Sydney learns a terrible truth: beautiful objects can break.

 

Bent Heavens, book cover

Bent Heavens Daniel Kraus

Liv Fleming's father went missing more than two years ago, not long after he claimed to have been abducted by aliens. Liv has long accepted that he's dead, though that doesn't mean she has given up their traditions. Every Sunday, she and her lifelong friend Doug Monk trudge through the woods to check the traps Lee left behind, traps he set to catch the aliens he so desperately believed were after him.

But Liv is done with childhood fantasies. Done pretending she believes her father's absurd theories. Done going through the motions for Doug's sake. However, on the very day she chooses to destroy the traps, she discovers in one of them a creature so inhuman it can only be one thing. In that moment, she's faced with a painful realization: her dad was telling the truth. And no one believed him.

Now, she and Doug have a choice to make. They can turn the alien over to the authorities...or they can take matters into their own hands.

 

This Story Is A Lie, book cover

This Story Is A Lie Tom Pollock

Seventeen-year-old Peter Blankman is a math genius who suffers from an extreme anxiety disorder, one that subjects him to intense panic attacks. He only manages to get through his daily life with the constant help of his scientist mom and his beloved twin sister, Bel. But when their mother is nearly assassinated in front of their eyes--during a major awards ceremony in her honor--Pete finds himself separated from Bel, alone, and on the run.

Dragged into a strange world where state and family secrets intertwine, Pete has to use his extraordinary analytical skills to find his missing sister, uncover the mystery of his mother's life's work, and track down the people who attacked her--all the while fighting to keep a grip on the fear response that threatens to overwhelm him.

 

That Weekend, book cover

That Weekend Kara Thomas

Three best friends, a lake house, a secret trip - what could go wrong?

It was supposed to be the perfect prom weekend getaway. But it's clear something terrible happened when Claire wakes up alone and bloodied on a hiking trail with no memory of the past forty-eight hours.

Three went up the mountain, but only one came back.

Now everyone wants answers - most of all, Claire. She remembers Friday night, but after that... nothing. And now Kat and Jesse - her best friends - are missing.

That weekend changes everything.

What happened on the mountain? And where are Kat and Jesse? Claire knows the answers are buried somewhere in her memory, but as she's learning, everyone has secrets - even her best friends. And she's pretty sure she's not going to like what she remembers.

 

The Perfect Place to Die, book cover

The Perfect Place to Die Bryce Moore

Zuretta never thought she’d encounter a monster—one of the world’s most notorious serial killers. She had resigned herself to a quiet life in Utah. But when her younger sister, Ruby, travels to Chicago during the World’s Fair, and disappears, Zuretta leaves home to find her.

But 1890s Chicago is more dangerous and chaotic than she imagined. She doesn’t know where to start until she learns of her sister’s last place of employment…a mysterious hotel known as The Castle.

Zuretta takes a job there hoping to learn more. And before long she realizes the hotel isn’t what it seems. Women disappear at an alarming rate, she hears crying from the walls, and terrifying whispers follow her at night. In the end, she finds herself up against one of the most infamous mass murderers in American history—and his custom-built death trap.

 

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Teens

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