There is something intriguing about a good mystery. True crime podcasts scratch the itch of real world mysteries but YA murder mystery books do a great job of mixing mystery, mild grit and sometime a little fantasy. Here are a few I recommend.
One of Us Is Lying by Karen McManus
Imagine this: five students walk into detention and only four make it out alive. Simon, an outcast and creator of Bayview High’s gossip app, is dead by the end of detention. Police are saying it was murder. Further sleuthing finds that Simon was going to post some juicy secrets that involved all four of the other students in detention. Now they are all suspects.
This begins the search for the killer among our four suspects. Bronwyn is a Yale-bound brainiac who never breaks a rule. Addy’s the picture perfect homecoming princess. Nate has a criminal history that includes dealing. Cooper is the all-star baseball pitcher. Or is the murderer someone else who’s using these four students as scapegoats?
This book is so good and readable. McManus does an excellent job of creating interest in each character’s individual secret while also keeping us focused in the overall mystery. It’s really shocking this is the author’s first novel considering how well it is written.
Broken Things by Lauren Oliver
Five years ago, Summer Marks was brutally murdered in the woods. Everyone thinks her best friends Mia and Brynn did it. On the anniversary of her death a seemingly insignificant discovery brings Mia and Brynn back together and leads them to search for Summer’s murderer.
The girls must confront what actually happened five years ago. They sift through the past and present, and fiction and reality as the lines of the truth blur. Were Mia and Brynn driven to murder by their obsession with a novel? Did they confuse their world with a twisted magical fantasy world? Or is there a more monstrous truth?
Broken Things is an engaging read that wasn’t too predictable. The multiple perspectives help create a more complete picture of what happened. This is a clever and emotional story.
The Cheerleaders by Kara Thomas
The Cheerleaders is a mystery based off real-life events that took place in Dryden, New York, 30 years ago. In the story, several members of the Sunnybrook High cheer leading squad died under tragic circumstances. A psychopath murdered two cheerleaders. Two were killed in a car accident. One cheerleader took her own life after being wracked by survivor’s guilt. The school permanently disbanded the squad.
Five years later, the school is organizing a memorial event in their honor. They ask one of the cheerleader’s sister, Monica, to participate. Since Monica doesn’t believe her sister took her own life, this is the last thing she wants to do. Instead Monica begins to look for answers.
First Monica comes across Jenn’s old cell phone in a place it shouldn’t be. Then she gets a friend from her dance team to help her connect the dots about the five deaths, which may not have been coincidental. Are the deaths connected? If so, who would want to kill five cheerleaders?
This book is a good audiobook to listen to, as well as a good book to read. It satisfies that amateur sleuth trope perfectly. The author did a great job of planting twists throughout the book.