Top 10 YA Mysteries on Goodreads

Posted by Cybil on April 30, 2017

Mystery & Thriller Week is sponsored by The Fact of a Body, a Goodreads Best Book of May.

If we have learned anything from investigating young adult mysteries, it's that adults can really get in the way of the real sleuths. Step aside, bumbling detectives and ignorant authority figures—the teens have got this covered.

Besides featuring a precocious lead, the most popular Young Adult mysteries on Goodreads are full of grim crimes, deranged bad guys, and a lot of issues with memory loss. Thousands of our members have added each of these books to their shelves. Will you?


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Pretty Little Liars
by Sara Shepard

Dirty little secrets and a missing person case overtake a gossip-hungry school in this suspenseful series starter that has since been adapted into a hit television show.



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We Were Liars
by E. Lockhart

Two years after a summer shrouded in secrecy, Cadence returns to her wealthy family's island retreat to untangle a mystery…and her own unreliable memories.



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I Am the Messenger
by Markus Zusak

From the author of The Book Thief, this is the story of Ed, an underage cabbie who accidentally becomes the messenger of a cryptic and anonymous entity.



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The Westing Game
by Ellen Raskin

When millionaire Samuel W. Westing dies, he leaves behind a strange, crafty game for sixteen unlikely people. The prize? Westing's entire fortune.



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The Name of the Star
by Maureen Johnson

Rory arrives at her London boarding school right before a horrific killing spree in this harrowing tale that blends mystery with paranormal fantasy.



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Vanishing Girls
by Lauren Oliver

When Dara disappears, Nick assumes she's playing around—until another girl goes missing in this gripping mystery from the author of Delirium.



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I Hunt Killers
by Barry Lyga

Most teenagers aren't allowed to join police manhunts, but most teens aren't like Jazz, the charming, observant son of the world's most infamous serial killer.



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A Study in Charlotte
by Brittany Cavallaro

Charlotte Holmes, the great-great-great-granddaughter of Sherlock, didn't just inherit the famous detective's genius; she also has his volatile temper and knack for finding trouble.



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Don't Look Back
by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Two teen girls disappear one night, and only one comes back. With no recollection of what happened, Sam fights to reclaim her memories to save the other girl's life.



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Confessions of a Murder Suspect
by James Patterson

Tandy Angel was the last person to see her parents alive. Unable to trust the police or her siblings, she conducts her own investigation to find the truth.





What's your favorite YA mystery? Share it with us in the comments. And be sure to check out more of our Mystery & Thriller Week coverage here.

Fact of the Body

Comments Showing 1-50 of 58 (58 new)


Latanya (Crafty Scribbles) What about The Amateurs?


message 2: by No, David! No! (new)

No, David! No! What about The Naturals series from Jen Barnes?


message 3: by Sam (new)


message 4: by Soumya (new)

Soumya I've only read Pretty Little Liars :( :)


message 5: by Tracey (new)

Tracey lol Either I've read them or they are on my to read list. I didn't realize how interested I was in mysteries until now.


message 6: by Emma (new)

Emma Where's Paper Towns, by John Green?


message 7: by Anissa (new)

Anissa I've only read We Were Liars but wow did I enjoy that one!


Erin *Proud Book Hoarder* Surprised there were no Nancy Drew kudos, but readers may have only voted for more modern fiction.


message 9: by Lorin (new)

Lorin Dickson Kind of sad there is no Nancy Drew on this list


message 10: by Meg (new)

Meg The Nearly Gone by Elle Cosimano duology is really great, too!


Connie (hoot reads books) What about the Every series by Ellie Marney? I'm still waiting until Tundra Books publishes the final book in North America


message 13: by Theri (new)

Theri I think readers would get a kick out of Robin Stevens Murder Most Unladylike and First Class Murder even though they are middle grade books, they are written much in the style of Agatha Christie.


message 14: by Stefanie (new)

Stefanie I thought The Perfectionists/Good Girls series by Sara Shepard was equally, if not better, than the Pretty Little Liars series that she also wrote. The Good Girls will go down as the most shocking plot twist I've ever read.


message 15: by Alexandra (new)

Alexandra David wrote: "What about The Naturals series from Jen Barnes?"

I agree.


message 16: by bb (last edited May 03, 2017 04:06PM) (new)

bb I really enjoyed Running Girl by Simon Mason. The mystery itself is interesting, although not revolutionary by any means, but what really drew me in was Mason's gift when it came to character design, so I highly recommend it~


Jeann (Happy Indulgence) The best YA thriller is Dangerous Girls. You won't be disappointed!


message 18: by mwana (new)

mwana I came. I saw. I left.


message 19: by Anne-Marie (new)

Anne-Marie What about Flavia de Luce??


message 20: by Courts (new)

Courts Skip We Were Liars and replace it with Prep School Confidential.


message 21: by Andrew (last edited May 04, 2017 11:36AM) (new)

Andrew The correct answer is The Mystery of the Stuttering Parrot by Robert Arthur - part of the legendary The Three Investigators series


message 22: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth You missed The London Eye Mystery by Siobhan Dowd.


message 24: by Lanie (new)

Lanie I loved "confessions of a murder suspect!" :) & I really want to read "I hunt killers."


message 25: by Teresa (new)

Teresa Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas REAd this!!!!! I want to talk about it
The Naturals (The Naturals, #1) by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Only the Good Spy Young (Gallagher Girls, #4) by Ally Carter
The Body Finder (The Body Finder, #1) by Kimberly Derting
Heist Society (Heist Society, #1) by Ally Carter


message 26: by Katja (new)

Katja Sam wrote: "Lemony Snicket's All The Wrong Questions series is my pick for YA sleuthing."

Oh my gosh me too!!!


message 27: by Safa (new)

Safa Khan I've read too many YA mysteries to name all the ones I became in love with, but two books I definitely recommend would be "The Third Twin" and "Vanishing Girls."


message 28: by Amy (new)

Amy Safa wrote: "I've read too many YA mysteries to name all the ones I became in love with, but two books I definitely recommend would be "The Third Twin" and "Vanishing Girls.""

I really enjoyed The Third Twin. It wasn't what I was expecting at all. And I've read Vanishing Girls a bunch :)


message 29: by Mayra (new)

Mayra Connie (hoot reads books) wrote: "What about the Every series by Ellie Marney? I'm still waiting until Tundra Books publishes the final book in North America"

I was looking for a new series and I just loved your suggestion (i can't put the book down) ,so thank you very much! ;)


message 30: by Amanda (new)

Amanda The description for We Were Liars calls the main character "Candace". Her name is Cadence. Just FYI for whoever monitors this post.


message 31: by Ivonne (new)

Ivonne Rovira Theri wrote: "I think readers would get a kick out of Robin Stevens Murder Most Unladylike and First Class Murder even though they are middle grade books, they are written much in the style of Agatha Christie."

Thanks for the recommendation. I've added Murder Most Unladylike.


message 32: by Caroline (new)

Caroline Andrew wrote: "The correct answer is The Mystery of the Stuttering Parrot by Robert Arthur - part of the legendary The Three Investigators series"

YES!!!


message 33: by lucky little cat (last edited May 05, 2017 10:38PM) (new)

lucky little cat Trouble is a Friend of Mine (Trouble, #1) by Stephanie Tromly
Trouble is a Friend of Mine
The Rook (The Checquy Files, #1) by Daniel O'Malley The Rook
When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead When You Reach Me

And technically not YA, but certainly YA in spirit, the fabulous Rivers of London series, beginning with
Rivers of London (Peter Grant, #1) by Ben Aaronovitch Rivers of London


message 34: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer S. Alderson The Westing Game is still one of my all-time favorite mysteries!


message 35: by Juliet (new)

Juliet Smith The Westing Game is good. There's also Blackthorn Winter and its sequel Murder at Heatherstone Hall, both of which do an excellent job of depicting life in England and British vocabulary. In fact, reading Blackthorn Winter is what made me decide I really wanted to go to England.


message 36: by Mrslabraden (new)

Mrslabraden David wrote: "What about The Naturals series from Jen Barnes?"

The Naturals series is the best!


message 37: by Mrslabraden (new)

Mrslabraden Alexandra wrote: "David wrote: "What about The Naturals series from Jen Barnes?"

I agree."


Me too.


message 39: by Mrslabraden (last edited May 06, 2017 07:09PM) (new)

Mrslabraden Some others that are good:
Olivia Twisted (Olivia Twisted, #1) by Vivi Barnes is a modern day take on Oliver Twist with a female protagonist - two book series.

Loot (Loot #1) by Jude Watson is about a boy who comes from a family of thieves and takes up the family business until his father is killed in the middle of a robbery, and he must find who betrayed him. Two book series


message 40: by Mrslabraden (new)

Mrslabraden The Fixer (The Fixer, #1) by Jennifer Lynn Barnes is sort of a teenage version of the television series, Scandal. - Two book series.

All Fall Down (Embassy Row, #1) by Ally Carter Protagonist must figure out if her mother was killed or if the people around her who thinks she is crazy are right. - Three book series


message 41: by Mrslabraden (last edited May 06, 2017 07:15PM) (new)

Mrslabraden The list goes on:
Need by Joelle Charbonneau about a high school social website that anonymously offers whatever you want for free, but nothing is ever really free.

Shelter (Mickey Bolitar, #1) by Harlan Coben by Harlan Coben linked to his Myron Bolitar series - Mickey is his nephew.

Buzz Kill by Beth Fantaskey tells the story of what happens when a reporter for a high school newspaper finds the football coach dead in a storage room and her father becomes the lead suspect.

The Christopher Killer (Forensic Mysteries, #1) by Alane Ferguson is about a girl interested in forensic science that begins going with her coroner father on some of his cases. Four book series.

Overturned by Lamar Giles tells the story of a girl who must find out why her professional gambler father was accused of murder and then released from prison only to be killed a few days later.

Dead Girls Don't Write Letters by Gail Giles a family is torn apart when one of the daughters is killed in an apartment fire until her younger sister receives a letter from the dead daughter announcing that she is coming for a visit.

Moving Target (Moving Target, #1) by Christina Diaz Gonzalez - Da Vinci Code style story with a female protagonist written for young people.

Something Rotten (Horatio Wilkes Mysteries, #1) by Alan Gratz a series of books featuring Horatio Wilkes. This first book tells the story of Horatio's investigation into the death of his best friend's father.

Holding Court by K.C. Held When the protagonist who suffers from "Psychic Tourette's Syndrome" stumbles upon a dead body on her first day playing the Maid of Kent while on her summer job at the castle turned tourist destination called Tutor Times, she decides to investigate.

I don't know how any list of really good young adult mysteries could ever stop at 10.


message 42: by Isabella (new)

Isabella I didn't read read most of this list (though many are on my "to read" list) but I did We Were Liars and that book SSSUUUUUCCCKKKKEEEEEEDDDDDDD. I wouldn't recommend it to my worst enemy!

I hope the other books in this list aren't as bad as that one.


Bhavik (Semi Hiatus) What about Nancy Drew or Hardy Boys or Famous Five or Secret Seven or Detective Conan?


message 44: by BookishDubai (new)

BookishDubai I Am the Messenger was really good!


message 45: by De (new)

De Erin ☕ *Proud Book Hoarder* wrote: "Surprised there were no Nancy Drew kudos, but readers may have only voted for more modern fiction."

Original Nancy Drew are considered juvenile. Ages 9-12; Grades 4-6


message 46: by De (new)

De Lorin wrote: "Kind of sad there is no Nancy Drew on this list"

Original Nancy Drew are considered juvenile. Ages 9-12; Grades 4-6


message 47: by Christine (new)

Christine Erin ☕ *Proud Book Hoarder* wrote: "Surprised there were no Nancy Drew kudos, but readers may have only voted for more modern fiction."

I run a Little Free Library and I literally cannot give Nancy Drew away. She seems to have lost her appeal.


message 48: by Mrslabraden (new)

Mrslabraden Christine wrote: "Erin ☕ *Proud Book Hoarder* wrote: "Surprised there were no Nancy Drew kudos, but readers may have only voted for more modern fiction."

I run a Little Free Library and I literally cannot give Nanc..."


I teach middle grade students and know that they seem to consider Nancy Drew and The Hardy Boys to be old stories for their grandparents, and they can't relate to them. If the same stories were rereleased changing the characters' names with redesigned covers, they would probably be hits all over again.


message 49: by Mrslabraden (new)

Mrslabraden Mwanamali wrote: "I came. I saw. I left."

Too bad, since many of these posts contain the names of some very good young adult mysteries.


message 50: by Holly (last edited May 07, 2017 12:54AM) (new)

Holly Letson Surprised that there's no Nancy Drew on the list.
The Secret of the Old Clock (Nancy Drew Mystery Stories, #1) by Carolyn Keene Secrets Can Kill (Nancy Drew Files, #1) by Carolyn Keene New Lives, New Loves (Nancy Drew On Campus, #1) by Carolyn Keene Nancy Drew Diaries #1 by Stefan Petrucha The Slumber Party Secret (Nancy Drew Notebooks, #1) by Carolyn Keene
Without a Trace (Nancy Drew Girl Detective, #1) by Carolyn Keene
Sleepover Sleuths (Nancy Drew and the Clue Crew, #1) by Carolyn Keene
The Demon of River Heights (Nancy Drew Girl Detective graphic novels #1) by Stefan Petrucha
Nancy Drew The New Case Files #1 Nancy Drew Vampire Slayer (Nancy Drew New Case Files) by Stefan Petrucha
Small Volcanoes (Nancy Drew and the Clue Crew Graphic Novels #1) by Sarah Kinney
Terror on Tour (A Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys Super Mystery II, #1) by Carolyn Keene
Double Crossing (A Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys Super Mystery #1) by Carolyn Keene

My favorite teen detective books as a child were the Trixie Belden series. But, those don't seem popular nowadays.
The Secret of the Mansion (Trixie Belden, #1) by Julie Campbell The Red Trailer Mystery (Trixie Belden, #2) by Julie Campbell The Gatehouse Mystery (Trixie Belden, #3) by Julie Campbell The Mysterious Visitor (Trixie Beldon #4) by Julie Campbell The Mystery Off Glen Road (Trixie Belden, #5) by Julie Campbell The Mystery in Arizona (Trixie Belden, #6) by Julie Campbell


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