Do you love all the spookiness of October? So do we! To celebrate our six month anniversary of blogging, we compiled a list of young adult thrillers and mysteries to satisfy your book needs for the entire month. Leave a comment if you’ve read any of these and tell us your favorites. Happy Halloween!
1. The Secret Circle series by L.J Smith
You can’t have Halloween without witches. The witches from the Secret Circle series live in the eerie town of New Salem, Massachusetts. Cassie Blake moves to own and suddenly she’s thrown into a world of magic and danger. She always believed she was a normal teenager, until she meets the circle, a group of 11 other witches who need Cassie to complete their group.
Follow Cassie as she discovers the dangerous secrets of her past and tries to stop a killer from destroying the town. These books have everything from magic to mystery to romance.
2. Vampire Academy
Vampire Academy is a cult YA series about Rose Hathaway, a teen with human and vampire blood– a dhampir. Rose attends St. Vladimir’s Academy, a school for vampire royalty and their guardians-in-training. After two years on the run protecting her best friend, Lissa– a mortal Moroi vampire princess with the rare gift for harnessing earth magic–, the duo returns to St. Vladimir’s after coming under attack by Strigoi, immortal (read: evil) vampires. Along the way, Rose falls for her hunky instructor, Dimitri, and finds herself in constant danger when the Strigoi begin targeting Moroi and dhampir.
This book has it all– vampires, romance, and action! The characters are extremely well developed and memorable, and the series is so popular it got a spin-off called the Bloodlines series. The plot is also exceptionally written, and the world building sucks you in!
3. The Dead List by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Small town murder mysteries are also a must. The Dead List tells the story of Ella, an average American teen trying to finish her senior year of high school in one piece…quite literally. There is a killer on the loose, and he is after Ella. This YA horror novel can best be described as IT meets Criminal Minds, and we could not be more about it.
4. Season of the Witch (The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina #1) by Sarah Rees Brennan
If you love the hit Netflix show, read the book that acts as a prequel. Brennan tells Sabrina Spellman’s story as she prepares for her 16th birthday and signing her name away in the book of the beast. She tries her best to balance being a teenager with her friends and a dark witch with her family. Since part 3 won’t be back in time for Halloween, get your CAOS fix from this book.
5. The Raven Boys series by Maggie Stiefvater
The Raven Boys is another cult classic YA series…and for good reason! Blue Sargent is clairvoyant. One evening when she goes with her mother to watch the soon-to-be-dead walk into the afterlife, a boy named Gansey speaks directly to her. Gansey, along with his friends from Aglionby Academy (called the Raven boys for their school’s crest), Adam, Ronan, and Noah, are on a quest to find the grave of The Raven King. Against her better judgement, Blue helps the boys on their journey, growing closer to Gansey despite the prophecy that she has had since birth: she will cause her true love to die.
This series is full of magic and ghosts. The plot is one of the best developed in the game, and the characters are iconic. Definitely check out The Raven Boys tumblr tag, because it is fabulous!
6. The Beautiful Creatures series by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
In Beautiful Creatures, Ethan Wate wants nothing more than to leave his boring town. Then, a new girl named Lena Duchanes shows up in the small town and everything turns to chaos. Ethan can’t help but get pulled into Lena’s world. She’s a caster and he’s mortal. When the two of them come together to discover the secrets of their families, nothing in this Gothic Southern town will ever be the same.
7. The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodki
The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer is a cult classic among YA readers— and for good reason! Mara Dyer wakes up in the hospital with no recollection of how she got there. As it turns out, Mara was involved in a horrible accident involving the collapse of an abandoned asylum, which left all of her friends dead. But somehow, Mara survived. She soon discovers that she has the ability to kill people with her mind. Mara meets the dashing (and total swoon worthy bad boy) Noah, and the two attempt to uncover the secrets behind Mara’s accident.
Wow, this book is a giant, mind-boggling mess….but in the best possible way. The ending revealed a major plot twist and left us wanting more. If possible, the other books in the series are even better than the first. If fact, the series had such a cult following, Hodkin started a companion series told in Noah’s POV. Definitely do not pass on this series!
8. The Cheerleaders by Kara Thomas
There are no more cheerleaders left in Sunnybrook, New York. Five years ago, five cheerleaders died within a few weeks of each other. Now, one of the cheerleader’s younger sisters, Monica, believes she doesn’t know everything about their deaths and is determined to find out what really happened. But, that would also mean a killer has been out there for years. Follow this dark and twisted path with Monica as she can finally comes to terms with the tragic events that haunt her childhood.
9. Wilder Girls by Rory Power
The Raxter School for Girls has been under quarantine for eighteen months after the Tox began killing teachers and students. The students of Raxter are cut off from the world and must protect themselves from the deadly Tox. The girls are instructed not to go into the woods outside of the school’s fence until a cure arrives from the outside world. When Hetty’s best friend Byatt goes missing, Hetty goes on a quest to find her, breaking the quarantine and risking the lives of her classmates. What she finds outside of Raxter may be darker than she ever imagined.
This book has taken the YA mystery/dystopia scene by storm and is critically acclaimed. Definitely check this out if mysterious diseases interest you!
10. Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson
Resident true crime expert, Stevie Bell, attends the Ellingham Academy— site of the infamous Ellingham kidnappings of the early 1930’s. The case’s only real clue was a mocking riddle signed by ‘Truly Devious.’ Flash forward to modern time, and no one has solved the case— that is, until Stevie Bell makes the decision to attend the Academy with the sole purpose of busting it wide open. Stevie’s plan is complicated when a new murder occurs on campus. Will Stevie solve the mystery of Truly Devious and the latest Ellingham murder before its too late?
This book literally had us on the edge of our seats wanting more. The second book, The Vanishing Stair, is even better than Truly Devious and we gobbled this story up. Do yourself a favor and read this ASAP!
11. All Hallow’s Eve by Vivian Vande Velde
Who can resist a few terrifying stories in October? This book has 13 short stories to scare the pants off you this month. Think cemeteries, woods and psychics. All 13 of these tales take place on Halloween night. If you prefer horror instead of mystery, this book is for you!
12. Stalking Jack the Ripper series by Kerri Maniscalco
You’ve all heard the stories of Jack the Ripper. But what you don’t know is that the case was solved by Audrey Rose Wadsworth and her hot crime-solving romantic interest, Thomas Cresswell.
This murder mystery will keep you on the edge of your seat until Audrey ultimately discovers the culprit. Maniscalco did a great job with the ending, which felt resolved and still left the reader wanting more. She hid little clues about the murderer throughout the novel while still leaving an air of mystery. As a reader, we could tell that Maniscalco did her research into the Jack the Ripper story— all the details were woven together very nicely and felt realistic.
13. One of Us is Lying by Karen McManus
Basically, the breakfast club with murder. Five students go into detention and only four come out alive. Simon, creator of the school’s gossip App, doesn’t make it out of that classroom alive. Now, four very different classmates must work together to solve the mystery unless they want to take the blame for it.
Read this book in 2019 because its companion, One of Us is Next, is set to release in January 2020.
14. Little Monsters by Kara Thomas
There is something spooky about the small town of Broken Falls, Wisconsin. Kacey moves to town with her dad and step mother and almost immediately, two girls named Bailey and Jade invite Kacey to be a part of their clique. One night Bailey goes missing and never returns. It’s up to Kacey to find out what really happened and learn that these so-called friends might have been hiding some dark secrets this entire time.
15. The Amateurs by Sara Shepard
Amateur detective Seneca Fraizer spends most of her free time on Case not Closed, a website for unsolved crimes. One day Aerin Kelly posts on the site about her sister who disappeared five years ago, Helena. Seneca, along with her online friends from the website meet up to help Aerin get closure. Throughout the three-book series, this group discovers a much more threatening serial killer than they ever imagined. As it turns out: the group has been connected by one person.
16. Unwind series by Neal Shusterman
What is Halloween without dystopian fiction? The second U.S. Civil War is fought over reproductive rights. The solution: life is inviolable until the age of 13. Once a child turns 13, parents can have their child unwound. Three different teenagers, Connor, Risa and Lev, come together to stay safe. The chilling four books in the series imagines a horrifying dystopian scenario. These three teenagers try to change the world as they know it, not only to save themselves, but to make sure no child has to experience what they have.
17. Hemlock by Kathleen Peacock
Mac’s best friend Amy was brutally murdered by a werewolf. With the killer on the loose and anti-werewolf rhetoric at an all-time high, an extremist group called the Trackers arrives in Hemlock to find Amy’s killer. Lupine syndrome has left many in Hemlock infected, forcing them to hide their symptoms. Plagued by nightmares of Amy’s death, Mac sets out to find Amy’s killer before the wolf strikes again. Along the way, she discovers hidden secrets about Hemlock and its inhabitants…secrets that could change her life forever.
If you love a good werewolf story then this series is for you! The romance was absolutely swoonworthy and the plot development was terrific. We definitely recommend this series!
18. The Beautiful by Renee Ahdieh
Set in 1872, New Orleans, Louisiana is controlled by the dead. Celine Rousseau moves to the city from Paris, France, where she learns of the world of La Cour De Lions, an underworld organization. When bodies start showing up, Celine grows suspicious of the organization’s leader, Sebastian. Dark secrets are revealed and Celine must put herself in danger to figure out the unsolved murders.
This book is set to release on October 8, 2019. We haven’t read it yet, but it is our book club pick for October!
19. Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins
The Hex Hall series centers around a teenage witch named Sophie Mercer. After Sophie almost reveals her powers at prom, her estranged dad– a warlock– and her mom– a human– send her to Hex Hall, a reform school for witches, faeries, and shapeshifters. Once at Hex Hall, Sophie befriends a band of characters and finds herself crushing on a swoon-worthy warlock. After students are attacked by a mysterious predator, her roommate– a vampire– becomes the prime suspect. Sophie ventures on a journey with her friends to find the killer…and maybe fall in love along the way!
This series is great, and the romance between Sophie and her love interest (who we will not reveal due to spoilers) definitely makes this book worth reading. Sophie is a witty character and her chemistry with the other characters is excellent. If you love witches, faeries, and vampires, then this story is for you!
20. All Eyes on Us by Kit Frick
Two very different girls receive threatening text messages. Their connection, they are both dating the same guy. Amanda stays with Carter because her parents guilt her into it out of their selfish desire for social climbing. Rosalie uses Carter to hide from her fundamentalist parents that she’s a lesbian.
The mysterious text messager gives them tasks, to publicly humiliate Carter before his birthday or things will get violent. Tons of twists and turns make this story unforgettable.
21. Into the Crooked Place by Alexandra Christo
This book will be released on October 8, so definitely check it out!
Into the Crooked Place is the first book in a two-book YA fantasy series. It takes place in Creije, and follows Tavua, a busker, Wesley, a gangster, Karam, a warrior, and Saxony, a resistance fighter. After Tavia delivers a vial of dark magic to the wrong person, a great conflict breaks out, and these four characters with magical powers must band together to save Creije.
22. Trouble is a Friend of Mine series by Stephanie Tromly
One day Digby shows up on Zoe Webster’s doorstep, asking her for help in solving the mystery of his little sister’s disappearance. At first, Zoe is dumbfounded by Digby’s arrogance, dry sense of humor, and overall reckless behavior. Before long, Zoe finds herself sucked into Digby’s scheme to uncover the details behind his sister’s kidnapping.
The story gave us major Sherlock Holmes vibes, and you won’t want to miss the banter between Digby and Zoe, not to mention the super engaging mystery! You’ll be on the edge of your seat as you piece together the details along with our favorite detective duo.
23. Crossing the Line (The Raven Files series) by Meghan Rogers
The tag line for this book reads: “if Jason Bourne were a teenaged girl…” and holy guacamole— there is no more accurate tag line in the history of YA books. The novel tells the story of Jocelyn Steely, who was kidnapped as a child and raised in North Korea as a spy. Her parents were former American spies, but disappeared when Jocelyn was young. Her North Korean handler sends her to the United States with the intent of making Jocelyn a double agent. Her mission is to infiltrate the U.S. intelligence agency— the same agency her parents used to work for. The only problem: Jocelyn’s allegiance to North Korea isn’t as strong as her handlers believe. Will Jocelyn defect to America and solve the mystery of her parents’ disappearance?
At the outset, this book does not appear like your standard thriller. But trust us, this is a very thrilling novel, and it left us on the edge of our seats as we continued to uncover the secrets of Jocelyn’s past. The plot was also super fast paced, and there were lots of “oh shit” moments!
24. Out of Control by Sarah Alderson
Liva witnesses a brutal murder and is taken into police custody for her own safety. While relaying her statement, the police station comes under fire by unknown assassins. During the chaos, Liva is saved by a car thief named Jay, who was being held for booking at the cubicle next to her’s. Liva soon realizes that these attacks are not a coincidence, and that someone may be trying to kill her. Jay and Liva go on the run through New York City, trying to uncover who is out to get her.
This story was incredibly thrilling, and we would definitely recommend it to those of our readers looking for a romantic mystery. The book is definitely on the lighter side, and you will likely gobble it up in one sitting!
25. The Lady Rogue by Jenn Bennett
Welcome to Eastern Europe in 1937, where Theodora Fox must solve a dark mystery around Vlad the Impaler. She quickly learns that last summer, her father was a hired by a Hungarian man to track down the ring of Vlad the Impaler. Her father believed that three rings were made, one real and two fake, and that one might hold supernatural powers.
Enjoy this fast paced historical mystery perfect for this time of year. The side characters include a witch, occultists, and creepy twins who run a traveling antiquities store.
26. Prep School Confidential series by Kara Taylor
Prep School Confidential is comparable to Truly Devious in that both plot lines involve a murder at a private school. The comparisons stop there, though— we promise! The book’s synopsis labels the story as a cross between Gossip Girl and Twin Peaks, and we have to say this description is spot on.
After burning down part of her exclusive prep academy on the Upper East Side, queen bee Anne Dowling is sent to a prestigious boarding school on the outskirts of Boston. Anne is less than enthused to be attending the Wheatley School and plans to book a ticket back to NYC at the first chance she gets. Too bad her roommate, Isabella, is found murdered in the woods behind their school shortly after Anne arrives. Together with Isabella’s broody twin brother, Anthony and class hottie, Brent, Anne tries to uncover the mystery behind Isabella’s death.
27. The Necromancer’s Prison by Alec Whitesell and Craig Bonacorsi
This YA supernatural thriller is perfect for October. Emily Murphy thought the worst thing that would happen to her that day was being late to her college entrance exam. She never expected the exam to get interrupted by a kidnapping of her classmate and the killing of her teacher by mysterious cloaked people. Emily runs toward the danger, determined to save her classmate, Quinn.
This book was full of surprises. The ending caught us entirely off guard. We don’t want to spoil it, but trust us, it is hard to predict Emily’s journey. Be careful who you trust!
28. The Naturals series by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
The Naturals tells the story of gifted seventeen-year-old profiler, Cassie, who is recruited with other teens for the FBI’s newest project, the Naturals program. The Naturals program recruits only the best and brightest teens. Their task? Unlocking infamous cold cases using their special talents. Among the cast of characters is sarcastic Michael, who can read emotions, and broody Dean, who is also a gifted profiler. When a killer strikes, Cassie is sucked into a dangerous case that closely resembles that of her own mother’s murder a decade earlier.
This story was very well written! The author is a psychiatrist, so Barnes infuses the story with insights into profiling. We love a good murder mystery, and this book did not disappoint! The love triangle, unlike most in YA novels, was tolerable and we found ourselves liking both of Cassie’s prospective men.
29. Two Can Keep A Secret by Karen M. McManus
There’s something spooky about Autumn in New England, especially in the small town of Echo Ridge, Vermont. Ellery and Ezra are shipped off to live with their grandmother in this small town when their mother is sent to rehab. More than 20 years ago, their mom’s sister disappeared. Five years ago, another girl was found murdered. Soon after Ellery and Ezra arrive, another girl goes missing.
As a true crime fanatic, Ellery, along with new friends, is determined to find out who is tormenting the town and to see if this person is connected with the past crimes. But, Ellery puts herself into a lot of danger and realizes her past might be more connected to the killer than she ever thought possible.
30. The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau
Pass the tests and you’re the creme de la creme of society. Fail the tests and you’re never heard from again. Cia Vale always wanted to participate in the testing. But once it begins, Cia realizes that shes not only fighting for a spot at the university, she’s fighting for her life. The people who run the test don’t want their secrets learned and they will do anything to keep members of society subservient.
31. Don’t Look Back by Jennifer L. Aremntrout
Samantha wakes up from a horrible accident with amnesia. She has no idea how she came to be involved in the horrible accident that led to the death of her best friend, Cassie. Before the accident, Samantha had the perfect life: the hottest boyfriend, endless wealth, and a posse of friends. After she wakes up, Cassie tries to reinvent herself, and grows closer to Carson, Samantha’s brother’s best friend, while the two try to piece together the night of Cassie’s death.
This book had a very shocking ending, and, like The Dead List, was superbly written. The mystery was engaging and left you dying (pun intended) to piece together the night of Cassie’s death. Definitely snag this one if you are looking for an excellent thriller with an equally stellar romance!