YA Mystery Novels To *Die* For


Photo by Isabelle Son

There’s nothing I like more than curling up in my beanbag chair with a good murder mystery novel. There’s something about the plot twists, suspense, and clues that always keep me glued to the genre!

Calling all true-crime fans! I was in a bit of a book slump this summer, and right when September rolled around, I decided to take some action and start reading more. I asked some people for recommendations and also read articles to help me make my decision. Then, I thought about the books that I loved as an elementary schooler: mysteries. So, I hopped onto Amazon and bought some murder mystery books to get me out of my little “break” and to see what would happen. After opening the crisp first page of “One of Us is Lying,” there was no turning back: murder mysteries are my new obsession. Just in time for Halloween, here are some of my top faves!


One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus
Rating: 4/5
Everyone has secrets. In Bayview High, there is a gossip app called “About That” that reveals the skeletons in everyone’s closet. And the thing about this app that makes it so terrifying is: it is never wrong. It is run by Simon Kelleher, who is an outcast. The novel also centers around other students, with very different identities. There’s Bronwyn, the smart one. Addy, the beauty queen. Nate, the criminal. Cooper, the all-star athlete. They all, including Simon, receive detention one day. But when the five students go into detention, only four come out alive. Simon is the one whose life is taken mysteriously after having an allergic reaction. But people are thinking that they Simon’s death wasn’t simply an accident – it was a murder. Simon had been planning on releasing some pretty juicy secrets on each of the people who were in the detention room. Had one of them killed Simon, playing it off as an accident? People are getting pretty suspicious of these 4 students, but they band together in order to discover who really killed Simon. Was it one of them? Was it someone else? What if it was really an accident? This innocent suburban town with seemingly-innocent characters has some dark secrets and sometimes the pressure is just too much.

I absolutely loved this book. There were many hours spent reading until late at night… “One of Us is Lying” had me glued from the start: there were so many plot twists and intensity that just kept me turning the pages. I had a great time creating lists of suspects and trying to figure out what happened to Simon along with the characters. The ending truly surprised me, and was something I never would have guessedI! Click on this link to the book, if you want to try reading it. I would also recommend the sequel, “One of Us is Next.”


The Guest List by Lucy Foley
Rating: 5/5

We’ve all been to weddings, right? They are full of love and joy and happiness! But during the wedding of

Jules Keegan and Will Slater, someone ends up dead. Jules has a popular online magazine, well liked and ambitious. Will is a handsome, charming, and famous TV star, a ladies’ man. Their wedding is taking place on a beautiful remote island in Ireland, and their closest family and friends are with them. It’s picturesque: designer dress, stunning cake, and a gorgeous view. But after vows are said, food and dancing has begun, they hear a scream from outside. To make matters even worse, thunder and rain is threatening to ruin the party. Everything was supposed to be perfect, but secrets and deception are revealed, and someone doesn’t leave the wedding alive. Who was killed? Who killed them? Is it Jules? Is it the plus-one, Hannah? Is it the best man, Johnno? Is it the wedding planner, Aiofe? Is it the bridesmaid, Olivia? They all have motives and, of course, secrets. But how far will they go to protect them?

This book had me stunned for days! It is uniquely formatted, with the reader not getting all the information until the very end, when everything falls into place all at once. I got to see the perspectives of each of the characters, and tiny glimpses of what happens later in the story. Then, right on the last few pages, I realized what had truly happened, which I really liked. There were little clues and background information dropped throughout the book, and right at the end, everything made perfect sense. I truly had a magnificent time reading this book, and I highly recommend this to anyone who loves suspense. This is also a book from Reese Witherspoon’s Book Club! Here is a link to the book!


The Cousins by Karen M. McManus
Rating 5/5

The Story family are envied: they’re rich, they live in a beautiful mansion and they are glamorous. But as soon as the youngest, Story, turns 18, they are mysteriously kicked out through a letter sent by their mother. More specifically, their mother’s lawyer. Their only clue to why is a single sentence: “you know what you did.” Confused, they move on with their lives. Years later, their children, cousins Aubrey, Milly, and Jonah receive a random letter from their grandmother. The letter invites them to stay in her hotel resort for the summer, as employees and to bond with her, a chance for her grandchildren to get to know her for the very first time. As neither of them nor their parents had ever heard from her before, they took this opportunity. But they find that something is off: their grandmother seemed almost surprised to see them when they arrived at the hotel. The situation leaves the cousins determined to learn the secrets of their family: why were their parents kicked out? Who really sent them the letter? Over the course of their summer, they discover family secrets so deep that they change their lives forever.

This story had me intrigued right from the beginning. I was very curious as to what really happened that got the Storys’ kicked out by their mother. There were so many surprises as the characters kept digging and digging to find out what happened. They took risks that revealed intense secrets, and I truly went on a rollercoaster reading this book. The ending was just so twisted and unpredictable! This was not a direct murder mystery, but I loved joining the characters on their journey to find out secrets instead. Here is the link to the book.


A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson
Rating: 4/5

Five years ago, pretty and popular high school senior, Andie Bell, was murdered by her boyfriend, Sal Singh, who committed suicide a few days later. Her body was never found, but people had accepted that it was Sal who murdered Andie. But Pip Fitz-Amobi doesn’t think that it was actually Sal who killed Andie. he decides to re-investigate the case as a project for her school with the help of Sal’s younger brother, Ravi, who also doesn’t think that Andie was murdered by Sal. They investigate long and hard until they find out what really happened to Andie. However, someone in their town doesn’t want Pip to find out what happened to Andie and is leaving her threatening notes and texts. Pip continues to dig to for the truth, even if it means putting her own life in danger.

This was the last book I just read, and I loved seeing Pip and Ravi discover what really happened to both Andie and Sal. Their pushing and investigating was very interesting to me and the mysterious mood of the book kept me wanting to read more! I loved experiencing the discoveries that were derived from the little clues and suspiciousness. I definitely want to read the full trilogy! Here is the link to the book, its sequel, and the finale of this trio!


Two Can Keep a Secret by Karen M. McManus
Rating: 4.5/5

Ellery and Ezra’s aunt Sarah disappeared 20 years ago. Malcolm’s brother’s girlfriend, Lacey was murdered five years ago. When Ellery and Ezra move to the town where both murders happened, they receive threatening messages coming from all different places. As a result, they, along with Malcolm, decide to dig deeper into what happened to Sarah and Lacey.

I could not put this book down! I had such a great time reading with all of the surprises and suspense, especially towards the end. New secrets were also revealed that were unrelated to the murder, which were also interesting. For those who had read A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder, these books are very similar, so if you enjoyed one, you will definitely fall in love with the other! With a pinch of romance and a handful of mean-girl secrets, this book was absolutely thrilling. Here is the link to the book!


After reading my review of these books, I hope you choose one (or all!) of them to read for yourself! Settle into your reading chairs with an herbal tea in one hand, and one of these murder mysteries in the other and rest assured you will be riding a rollercoaster full of suspense and bombshells. Once you get started, I guarantee you won’t be able to stop! Get ready to be spooked out!