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Teen

The Game Is Afoot:
13 Masterful Teen Mysteries

by Devon A. Corneal

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A well-written mystery is a thing of beauty, filled with intriguing characters, impenetrable puzzles, secrets, lies, red herrings, confusion, misdirection, cliffhangers, clever detectives, wily villains, and shocking surprise endings. Younger readers have long had the Encyclopedia Brown, Nancy Drew, and Hardy Boys series. Adults have escaped with Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot stories, Sherlock Holmes, and anything by James Patterson. But teens? We did a little digging and found some fantastic mysteries, both old and new, written specifically for teens that fill the whodunit gap for young adult readers in unexpected and novel ways.

  • We Were Liars

    by E. Lockhart

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    We Were Liars is 240 pages of unanswered questions and suspense. Summer friendships forged on a private island erode when secrets fill the days of a group of young, beautiful, and prominent teenagers. Unraveling the mystery of their shared history will keep readers engaged until the very last page.

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  • The Silver Blonde

    by Elizabeth Ross

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    Fans of historical fiction won’t want to miss this gorgeous period drama that readers are gushing over. Set in 1946 Hollywood, this story is about a young German refugee working in the film industry. When she discovers the body of a murdered starlet, her entire world gets turned upside down.

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  • As Red As Blood

    by Salla Simukka

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    This book, with its drug lords and stolen money and bloody handprints, is the opposite of hygge, the coziness craze of 2017. Readers won’t be able to put this book down until they discover if Lumikki Andersson survives the brutal Finnish winter and the deception that surrounds her.

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  • A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder

    by Holly Jackson

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    Find out why everyone obsesses over this New York Times bestselling YA mystery series. High school senior Pip tackles cold cases, digs up small-town dirt, solves mysteries, and catches killers — all while growing her viral true-crime podcast. The best part? The series is complete, so you can binge-read all three books at once!

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  • They’ll Never Catch Us

    by Jessica Goodman

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    Sisterhood, high-pressure competition, and a missing girl — this young adult mystery has everything to keep you glued to the page. Sisters Stella and Ellie excel at cross-country running, and when an enigmatic new girl named Mila shows up, both sisters get pulled into her orbit. At least, until Mila disappears without a trace.

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  • One of Us Is Lying

    by Karen M. McManus

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    If you remember Claire and Bender and their famous Saturday detention, you’re in for a treat with One of Us Is Lying. The jock, the beauty, the criminal, the nerd, and the freak are back, but this time one of them doesn’t make it out of detention alive. This is “The Breakfast Club” with a murderous twist.

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  • Killing November

    by Adriana Mather

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    Get ready for a fast-paced mystery novel set at a secluded private school for assassins and spies. When a classmate gets murdered, all fingers point to the new girl, November. Even though she got a late start with her education in espionage, she must rely on her wits, courage, and a few friends to hunt down the killer and clear her name. But in a school filled with trained assassins, it won’t be easy.

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  • The Ivies

    by Alexa Donne

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    Getting into the college of your dreams is a killer — literally. Receiving an acceptance letter to an Ivy League university is worth any cost to Olivia and her prestigious prep school friends. They sabotage, disrupt, and stomp on anyone they see as competition until one girl ends up dead. This expertly plotted murder mystery will have you flying through the pages to find out whodunit.

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  • The Girls Are Never Gone

    by Sarah Glenn Marsh

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    If you love spooky ghost stories, add this atmospheric mystery novel to your “to-read” stack. Paranormal podcaster Dare Chase digs into the secrets and scandal of an ancient estate and the nearby lake that claimed a girl’s life. As she investigates the house’s history, Dare and her friends receive threatening messages and feel someone watching them. Soon, the girls realize they’re in over their heads, and they aren’t sure they’ll survive the summer.

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  • The Corpse Queen

    by Heather M. Herrman

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    Read this creepy historical mystery with the lights on! Recently orphaned, Molly goes to live with her estranged Aunt Ava and discovers a lucrative underground world filled with corpses, serial killers, and mesmerizing doctors. As Molly gets pulled deeper into the business of grave-robbing, she finds herself at the mercy of a murderer’s whims.

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  • Dark and Shallow Lies

    by Ginny Myers Sain

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    Head to the deep south where snakes and psychics abound, girls go missing, and secrets stay hidden. As she looks into her best friend’s disappearance, Grey digs up more questions than answers about her small town. Local folklore, a murky bayou, and mysterious strangers combine into an unforgettable novel that will keep you reading well past your bedtime.

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  • Echo After Echo

    by A.R. Capetta

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    Theater lovers, this YA murder mystery is for you, especially if you’re in the mood for something on the lighter side. Even though bodies pile up at the Aurelia Theater, Zara can’t help but fall in love with her new role and the cute stage assistant. This novel explores what happens when your wildest dreams come true alongside your worst nightmare.

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  • The Lake

    by Natasha Preston

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    Natasha Preston consistently delivers addictive teen thrillers like The Twin and The Lost, and The Lake does not disappoint. Loyal fans and new readers alike will shiver in delight as they devour this mystery novel about two girls with a sinister secret returning to their childhood summer camp. Be sure to check out Natasha’s newest book, The Fear, coming out in March 2022.

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Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in 2017 and updated in 2021.