Crime-solving kids have been a major part of every thriller junkies past for quite some time. From the Fear Street books to Nancy Drew and even Pretty Little Liars, we have been gobbling up YA books about YA sleuths for decades of thrilling nostalgia. If you’re looking for some popular books about YA protagonists who are fearless and part of the investigation themselves, here are some of our recommendations.
The Mary Shelley Club by Goldy Moldavsky
Rachel is a high school student who uses her love of horror movies as her only form of escapism. As the new kid at school, she is quickly recruited into the Mary Shelley Club, a secret club that watches scary movies and pulls pranks called Fear Tests. Things quickly escalate as the pranks become more elaborate and more terrifying, and lives are quickly in danger.
The Cheerleaders by Kara Thomas
Being a cheerleader in Sunnybrook is dangerous. Two cheerleaders died in a car accident, only to have two others murdered by a neighbor and finally, a tragic suicide. Five years later, the town wants to remember those cheerleaders they have lost, but Monica just wants to leave the past where it belongs; it was her sister was the one who committed suicide. Now, things are starting to unravel and the past is about to come back to haunt Monica.
The Firekeeper’s Daughter by Angeline Boulley
Daunis Fontaine has been looking forward to a fresh start in college being how she’s never felt like she fit in in her hometown or the Ojibwe reservation. Daunis watches her dreams disipate when a family tragedy puts her college plans on hold and she has to take care of her mother. But things start to look up when she meets the handsome Jamie, a new player on her brother’s lacrosse team—but something tells Daunis he is hiding something. After witnessing a murder, Daunis reluctantly goes undercover for the FBI and uses her knowledge of traditional Ojibwe medicine to help investigate a deadly new drug.
Two Can Keep a Secret by Karen McManus
Ellery is moving to small-town Echo Ridge to live with her grandmother, and although she’s never been there before, the idea is unsettling. Ellery’s aunt had gone missing in Echo Ridge when she was a teenager and five years ago, the homecoming queen was brutally murdered. Shortly after Ellery’s arrival, a local teenager goes missing and someone is promising to reign terror on homecoming this year. As Ellery wonders if the murders and disappearances are connected, she learns that the entire town is full of secrets—especially the members of her family.
Sadie by Courtney Summers
West McCray, a popular radio personality, just received a call from a stranger asking him to help find a nineteen-year-old runaway named Sadie. After it’s revealed that Sadie ran away after the murder of her young sister, West travels to Colorado to investigate. On her own journey—with only determination and a switchblade—Sadie searches for the man who murdered her younger sister, Mattie, as West begins a podcast. Will West find Sadie before it’s too late?
There’s Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins
Makani is still trying to adjust to living in rural Nebraska after moving in with her grandmother a year ago. As if that isn’t difficult enough, students at her high school are being brutally murdered one by one. Makani must survive the killer’s plan and not be the next to die . . . as if high school wasn’t hard enough.
Swipe Right for Murder by Derek Milman
Seventeen-year-old Aidan is alone in a ritzy New York City hotel room for the night and would love some company. After finding someone on a hook-up app, Aidan finds himself in a room with a dead guy and a flash drive that someone would kill to get their hands on. Soon, Aidan is on the run from the cops, his family and friends, and the person who is willing to kill him for the flash drive as he fights for his life.