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For as long as there have been YA novels, there have been YA mysteries. With themes of intrigue, labyrinthine crimes, revenge, and bloody redemption, the array of young adult mystery books out there is bountiful and even overwhelming. From the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew novels to Sara Shepard’s “Pretty Little Liars” series, mystery books for teens never seem to go out of style.
It’s hard to compete with classic page-turners like these, but in recent years, there has been a definite uptick in the quality of young adult mystery books and thrillers.
With the genre booming, now is the perfect time to look back on 30 of the best YA mysteries ever. It’s difficult to narrow such an iconic genre to 30 of its most salient, stand-out novels, but here are our top picks when it comes to mystery books for teens. We’ve included classics like “Pretty Little Liars” of course (with a villain as iconic as A, how could we not?), but also other suspenseful reads like the 2020 twisted thriller “The Inheritance Games.”
From the ever-shifting stories that left us guessing until the final page to the ones that unforgivingly shattered our hearts, the teen mystery books on this list are all unforgettable reads for you or someone you know to enjoy.
— Additional reporting by Melissa Santoyo