Take 5: Thrilling Reads for #YALit Fans
I have, once again, been on quite the YA thrillers reading binge. So today, I’m sharing my thoughts about some new and upcoming thrillers.
The Agathas by Kathleen Glasgow and Liz Lawson
Publisher’s Book Description: Last summer, Alice Ogilve’s basketball-star boyfriend Steve dumped her. Then she disappeared for five days. Where she went and what happened to her is the biggest mystery in Castle Cove, because she’s not talking. Or it was, at least. But now, another one of Steve’s girlfriends has vanished: Brooke Donovan, Alice’s ex–best friend. And it doesn’t look like Brooke will be coming back. . .
Enter Iris Adams, Alice’s tutor. Iris has her own reasons for wanting to disappear, though unlike Alice, she doesn’t have the money or the means. That could be changed by the hefty reward Brooke’s grandmother is offering to anyone who can share information about her granddaughter’s whereabouts. The police are convinced Steve is the culprit, but Alice isn’t so sure, and with Iris on her side, she just might be able to prove her theory.
In order to get the reward and prove Steve’s innocence, they need to figure out who killed Brooke Donovan. And luckily Alice has exactly what they need—the complete works of Agatha Christie. If there’s anyone that can teach the girls how to solve a mystery it’s the master herself. But the town of Castle Cove holds many secrets, and Alice and Iris have no idea how much danger they’re about to walk into.
Karen’s Thoughts: This is a fun read that gives teens a reason for doing the Scooby Doo thing: They are huge Agatha Christie fans! In fact, they have a forensics club, which is cool. Teens will really enjoy this engaging mystery where characters show growth and things make sense. This book should be a huge hit with teen readers and it comes out May 3rd, so you’ll want to order it now.
Horror Hotel by Victoria Fulton and Faith McClaren
Publisher’s Book Description: This addictive YA horror about a group of teen ghost hunters who spend the night in a haunted LA hotel is The Blair Witch Project for the TikTok generation.
When the YouTube-famous Ghost Gang—Chrissy, Chase, Emma, and Kiki—visit a haunted LA hotel notorious for tragedy to secretly film after dark, they expect it to be just like their previous paranormal huntings. Spooky enough to attract subscribers—and ultimately harmless.
But when they stumble upon something unexpected in the former room of a gruesome serial killer, they quickly realize that they’re in over their heads.
Sometimes, it’s the dead who need our help—and the living we should fear.
Karen’s Thoughts: This was such a spectacularly creepy read from page 1! Loved it. This book has: ghosts, serial killers, social media, and a budding romance. So many great ingredients to make a fantastically chilling book that will keep you turning the page. This one came out in February of this year so you can get it now. And that book covers sells the book for you.
A Night to Die for by Lisa Schroeder
The Night Of meets Carrie when a boy finds a girl’s body in the ditch on prom night…and becomes the primary suspect in her murder.
All Mario wants is one normal night before he graduates. He’s spent most of high school riding solo and gaming with his only friend, Lucas. But when his mom asks him to take Elana Dexter to the prom as a favor to her father, his mother’s boss, he figures this might be his chance to be less of a loner.
Only, the night takes a turn quickly. First, Mario gets crowned Prom King alongside the school’s it-girl, Maribelle Starr. Which is weird enough. But what’s weirder is that when they put the crown on his head, hundreds of worms slither out of it and all over Mario. Just when Mario thought the night couldn’t get any worse, he sees something on the side of the road while driving Elana home. That something is Prom Queen Maribelle Starr—murdered and left for dead.
All Mario wanted was to go to prom…but somehow, he ended up in hell.
Karen’s Thoughts: Prom and murder make for great YA lit! I honestly did not figure this one out and was kind of surprised by the who done it of it all, which is doesn’t happen often. This book will also have high teen appeal and I highly recommend it.
The Last Laugh by Mindy McGinnis
Publisher’s Book Description: In the dark and stunning sequel to The Initial Insult, award-winning author Mindy McGinnis concludes this suspenseful YA duology as long-held family secrets finally come to light . . . changing Amontillado forevermore.
Tress Montor murdered Felicity Turnado—but she might not have to live with the guilt for long. With an infected arm held together by duct tape, the panther who clawed her open on the loose, and the whole town on the hunt for the lost homecoming queen, the odds are stacked against Tress. As her mind slides deeper into delirium, Tress is haunted by the growing sound of Felicity’s heartbeat pulsing from the “best friend” charm around her fevered neck.
Ribbit Usher has been a punchline his whole life—from his nickname to his latest turn as the unwitting star of a humiliating viral video. In the past he’s willingly played the fool, but now it’s time to fulfill his destiny. That means saving the girl, so that Felicity can take her place at his side and Ribbit can exact revenge on all who have done him wrong—which includes his cousin, Tress. Ribbit is held by a pact he made with his mother long ago, a pact that must be delivered upon in four days.
With time ticking down and an enemy she considers a friend lurking in the shadows, Tress’s grip on reality is failing. Can she keep both mind and body together long enough to finally find out what happened to her parents?
Karen’s Thoughts: Mindy McGinnis is my go to when it comes to authors who write small, rural towns and teens in poverty. She is also making quite a name for herself as the revenge fantasy queen, check out Female of the Species for more great revenge fantasy reading. The Last Laugh is the second book in a duology and you do need to have read the first book, well, first. This duology is dark and twisted and glorious. Definitely recommended.
Nothing More to Tell by Karen McManus
Publisher’s Book Description: Be sure to keep your friends close . . . and your secrets closer.
Four years ago, Brynn left Saint Ambrose School following the shocking murder of her favorite teacher—a story that made headlines after the teacher’s body was found by three Saint Ambrose students in the woods behind their school. The case was never solved. Now that Brynn is moving home and starting her dream internship at a true-crime show, she’s determined to find out what really happened.
The kids who found Mr. Larkin are her way in, and her ex–best friend, Tripp Talbot, was one of them. Without his account of events, the other two kids might have gone down for Mr. Larkin’s murder. They’ve never forgotten what Tripp did for them that day. Just like he hasn’t forgotten that everything he told the police was a lie.
Digging into the past is bound to shake up the present, and as Brynn begins to investigate what happened in the woods that day, she begins to uncover secrets that might change everything—about Saint Ambrose, about Mr. Larkin, and about her ex-best friend, Tripp Talbot.
Four years ago someone got away with murder. The most terrifying part is that they never left.
Karen’s Thoughts: At this point, Karen McManus is just a solid name when it comes to writing YA mysteries and thrillers. I’ve read and enjoyed all of her books and they mostly debut on the NYT Bestseller list now. I liked this one; it’s a solid entry that touches on things like family, forgiveness, and truth. This comes out in August and it will be a solid hit.
About Karen Jensen, MLS
Karen Jensen has been a Teen Services Librarian for almost 30 years. She created TLT in 2011 and is the co-editor of The Whole Library Handbook: Teen Services with Heather Booth (ALA Editions, 2014).
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