YA Thrillers to Give You Chills
I may be a mood reader, but do you know what I am always in the mood for? A good thriller. The kind that has my heart skipping a beat and goose bumps creeping up my arms. The type where you hold your breath flipping the page and stay up to find out what happens because you just can’t look away. Whether you also appreciate all things thriller, are interested in jumping into the genre for the first time, or just need a book guaranteed to jolt you out of a reading slump—you’ve come to the right place. Take it from me, your friendly neighborhood thriller enthusiast, you do not want to miss these chilling reads.
In one week, Maude will be dead. At least, that’s what she wants everyone to think. After years of research, Maude has decided to fake her own death. She’s figured out the how, the when, the where, and who will help her unsuspectingly. The why is complex: revenge, partly. Her terrible parents deserve this. But there’s also l’appel du vide, the call of the void, that beckons her toward a new life where she will be tied to no one, free and adrift. Then Frankie, a step-cousin she barely knows, figures out what she’s plotting, and the plan seems like it’s ruined. Except Frankie doesn’t want to rat her out. Frankie wants in.
The girls vault into the unknown, risking everything for a new and limitless life. But there are some things you can never run away from. What if the poison is not in the soil, but in the roots?
Safiya Mirza dreams of becoming a journalist. And one thing she’s learned as editor of her school newspaper is that a journalist’s job is to find the facts and not let personal biases affect the story. But all that changes the day she finds the body of a murdered boy.
Jawad Ali was fourteen years old when he built a cosplay jetpack that a teacher mistook for a bomb. A jetpack that got him arrested, labeled a terrorist—and eventually killed. But he’s more than a dead body, and more than “Bomb Boy.” He was a person with a life worth remembering.
Driven by Jawad’s haunting voice guiding her throughout her investigation, Safiya seeks to tell the whole truth about the murdered boy and those who killed him because of their hate-based beliefs.
Nell has always wanted to be an actor, but doubts her ability. As a member of her school’s theater program, she prefers working backstage. On the way to a contest, an unexpected blizzard strands her acting troupe in a creepy motel. Soon they meet a group of strangers from another high school—including the mysterious and handsome Knox, who insists they play the game Two Truths and a Lie. When it’s Nell’s turn, she draws a slip of paper inked in unfamiliar handwriting:
I like to watch people die.
I’ve lost count of how many people I’ve killed.
Suddenly a night of harmless fun turns into a matter of life and death. As guests go missing, it becomes clear that a murderer is hiding in their midst ready to strike again. In a room full of liars and performers, the truth is never quite what it seems. Nell is going to have to act like her life depends on it—because it does.
Celeste is the talk of the town when she moves to Montana from Montreal, but the only friend she makes is Vivvy, the heir to the town’s founder and a social pariah. Inspired by a passion-fueled school incident, they begin writing a love-story fanfic between the popular guy and the school stoner, one that gradually reveals Celeste’s past. While her bond with Vivvy makes Celeste feel safe and alive again, Vivvy keeps prodding Celeste to turn fantasy into reality. When they finally try, one drunken night on a dark mountainside, Celeste is the one who ends up kissing golden boy Joss. And Joss ends up dead.
Celeste doesn’t remember the end of that night and can’t be sure she didn’t deliver the killing blow. Could she still be that scared of getting close to a boy? Secrets are hard to keep in a small town, and even Vivvy seems to suspect her. Exploring the winding passages of the cave where Joss died, Celeste learns he had his own dark secrets, as does Vivvy. The town isn’t as innocent as it appears.
Virginia, 1943: World War II is raging in Europe and on the Pacific front when Kit Sutherland is recruited to help the war effort as a codebreaker at Arlington Hall, a former girls’ college now serving as the site of a secret US Signal Intelligence facility. But Kit is soon involved in another kind of fight: government girls are being brutally murdered in Washington DC, and when Kit stumbles onto a bloody homicide scene, she is drawn into the hunt for the killer.
To find the man responsible for the gruesome murders and bring him to justice, Kit joins forces with other female codebreakers at Arlington Hall—gossip queen Dottie Crockford, sharp-tongued intelligence maven Moya Kershaw, and cleverly resourceful Violet DuLac from the segregated codebreaking unit. But as the girls begin to work together and develop friendships—and romance—that they never expected, two things begin to come clear: the murderer they’re hunting is closing in on them…and Kit is hiding a dangerous secret.
"I'm not saying this is Sawyer's fault," the prim and proper one said delicately. "But."
Eighteen-year-old auto mechanic Sawyer Taft did not expect her estranged grandmother to show up at her apartment door and offer her a six-figure contract to participate in debutante season. And she definitely never imagined she would accept. But when she realizes that immersing herself in her grandmother's "society" might mean discovering the answer to the biggest mystery of her life-her father's identity-she signs on the dotted line and braces herself for a year of makeovers, big dresses, bigger egos, and a whole lot of bless your heart. The one thing she doesn't expect to find is friendship, but as she's drawn into a group of debutantes with scandalous, dangerous secrets of their own, Sawyer quickly discovers that her family isn't the only mainstay of high society with skeletons in their closet. There are people in her grandmother's glittering world who are not what they appear, and no one wants Sawyer poking her nose into the past. As she navigates the twisted relationships between her new friends and their powerful parents, Sawyer's search for the truth about her own origins is just the beginning.
April Corrigan’s life is turned upside-down when she when she learns that her father has been working secretly undercover for the FBI. When his testimony convicts a notorious drug dealer, the whole family must relocate and enter the Federal Witness Security Program. April’s entire way of life changes–not just her name. And when she attempts to communicate with her boyfriend, an agent is killed. With thrills, chills, and a high-speed cross-country chase, master suspense writer Lois Duncan will leave readers breathless!
After ten years of living on an isolated, tech-free ranch with her mother, sixteen-year-old Hedda is going back to the world of the Glare — her word for cell phones, computers, and tablets. Hedda was taught to be afraid of technology, afraid that it would get inside her mind and hurt her. But now she’s going to stay with her dad in California, where she was born, and she’s finally ready to be normal. She’s not going to go “off-kilter,” like her mom says she did when she was just a little kid.
Once she arrives, Hedda finally feels like she’s in control. She reunites with old friends and connects with her stepmom and half-brother. Never mind the terrifying nightmares and visions that start trickling back — they’re not real.
Then Hedda rediscovers the Glare: the real Glare, a first-person shooter game from the dark web that scared her when she was younger. They say if you die thirteen times on level thirteen, you die in real life. But as Hedda starts playing the so-called “death game” — and the game begins spreading among her friends — she realizes the truth behind her nightmares is even more twisted than she could have imagined. And in order to stop the Glare, she’ll have to first confront the darkness within herself.
Kate Marino's senior year internship at the District Attorney's Office isn't exactly glamorous–more like an excuse to leave school early that looks good on college applications. Then the DA hands her boss, Mr. Stone, the biggest case her small town of Belle Terre has ever seen. The River Point Boys are all anyone can talk about. Despite their damning toxicology reports the morning of the accident, the DA wants the boys' case swept under the rug. He owes his political office to their powerful families.
Kate won't let that happen. Digging up secrets without revealing her own is a dangerous line to walk; Kate has personal reasons for seeking justice. As she gets dangerously close to the truth, it becomes clear that the early morning accident might not have been an accident at all-and if she doesn't uncover the true killer, more than one life could be on the line including her own.