Every summer an honors English class at one of our high schools has to read a novel of psychological suspense by an American author. Every fall, seventh graders have to choose a mystery for outside reading. It took me long enough, but I finally managed to compile a list of mysteries in our YA collection that helps the kids and my fellow librarians. It’s not a complete list, but it’s a good start.
Bullet Point by Peter Abrahams
The only thing Wyatt knew about his biological father was that he was serving a life sentence, but circumstances and a new girlfriend bring them together and soon Wyatt is working to prove his father’s innocence.
Reality Check by Peter Abrahams
A knee injury destroyed Cody’s college hopes, so he dropped out and got a job in his tiny Montana town, but when his ex-girlfriend disappears from her Vermont school, he travels cross-country to join the search.
Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
Hannah committed suicide, and there are 13 reasons why. Clay Jensen can’t believe he’s one of them, but he’ll find out by listening to the tapes she left behind.
Split by Swati Avasthi
Thrown out by his abusive father, Jace travels from Chicago to Albuquerque to live with his older brother, who ran away from home five years ago to escape the abuse – and left Jace behind.
What I Saw and How I Lied by Judy Blundell
A sophisticated thriller set just after World War II. Fifteen-year-old Evie grows up quickly when she realizes her beloved parents are not all they seem to be.
Bitter End by Jennifer Brown
When 17-year-old Alex starts dating Cole, a new boy at her school, her two best friends become increasingly suspicious of him as their relationship gets serious.
Hate List by Jennifer Brown
Valerie must come to terms with the fact that her boyfriend Nick went to school and killed seven people before killing himself. Shades of Columbine.
The Splendor Falls by Rosemary Clement-Moore
Dark secrets linking two Alabama families and their Welsh ancestors slowly come to light when 17-year-old Sylvie spends a month with a cousin she barely knows in her father’s ancestral home.
Shelter by Harlan Coben
Mickey Bolitar witnessed his father’s death and had to send his mom to rehab. Starting over with his uncle seems okay – until his new girlfriend disappears.
Unraveling Isobel by Eileen Cook
Isobel’s life is falling apart fast. Either she’s losing her mind, just like her artist father did before her, or else she’s seeing ghosts.
Dreamland by Sarah Dessen
After her older sister runs away, 16-year-old Caitlin decides to make a major change in her own life and begins dating a boy who is brilliant, mysterious, and dangerous.
Little Brother by Cory Doctorow
After a major terrorist attack in San Francisco, Marcus is rounded up without cause and interrogated for days. Released into what is now a police state, he decides to use his expertise in computer hacking to set things right.
I Know What You Did Last Summer by Lois Duncan
After high school graduation, four teens are involved in a hit-and-run accident – and then they cover up their crime. But someone knows what really happened that night….
The Christopher Killer by Alane Ferguson
Cameryn works as an assistant to her coroner father. When her friend is killed, she’s able to use her knowledge of forensics to search for the killer – but that puts her in danger. The series continues with The Angel of Death and The Circle of Blood.
The Girl in the Park by Mariah Fredericks
When a teenaged girl with a bad reputation is murdered in New York’s Central Park after a party, her childhood friend is determined to solve the mystery of who killed her.
The Unquiet by Jeannine Garsee
Sixteen-year-old Rinn is confronted with surreal events that force her to fear that her past mental illness is resurfacing.
Dead Girls Don’t Write Letters by Gail Giles
Sunny is stunned when a total stranger shows up at her house posing as her older sister Jazz, whio supposedly died in a fire out of town months earlier.
What Happened to Cass McBride? by Gail Giles
What happened? Well, she’s been buried alive by Kyle Kirby, who holds her responsible for his brother’s suicide. Extremely intense!
Paper Towns by John Green
Quentin has been secretly in love with his popular, unstable neighbor for most of his life. When she disappears (again), he’s determined to figure out where she went and why.
Amandine by Adele Griffin
A powerful novel about a magnetic, mentally unstable freshman and her hold over the new girl in town.
Tighter by Adele Griffin
This update of Henry James’s classic The Turn of the Screw retains the chills and horror of the original while adding new psychological dimensions.
The Girl Is Murder by Kathryn Haines
It’s 1942 in New York City, and Iris is grieving her mother’s recent death while secretly helping her dad with his detective business – help he needs after losing a leg at Pearl Harbor.
Girl, Stolen by April Henry
Cheyenne is sick and sleeping in the back of her mom’s car when it is stolen. Theft turns into kidnapping, and Cheyenne has to escape before the crime turns into murder.
The Night She Disappeared by April Henry
Gabie was supposed to do the pizza delivery, but Kayla went instead. Now Kayla is gone, and someone may still be after Gabie.
Shock Point by April Henry
Before Cassie can expose her stepfather’s dangerous drug experiments on his teen patients, he sends her to a brutal boot camp for troubled teens.
Dark Angel by David Klass
When his older brother is released from prison after six years because of a technicality, Jeff’s family secret is revealed, causing upheaval in his home, school, and love life.
Want to Go Private? by Sarah Darer Littman
High school is rough, so Abby withdraws from friends and family, spending all her time online with her new Internet friend, Luke, who is not who he pretends to be.
I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga
What if the world’s worst serial killer was your dad? He’s in prison, but bodies are piling up again. In an effort to clear his own name from the copycat crimes, Jazz joins the hunt for a new serial killer.
Blood Wounds by Susan Beth Pfeffer
Willa seems to have the perfect life until the father she barely remembers murders his new wife and children, then heads toward Willa and her mother.
The Body of Christopher Creed by Carol Plum-Ucci
High school junior Torey Adams struggles with doubts and questions surrounding the mysterious disappearance of the class outcast.
Following Christopher Creed by Carol Plum-Ucci
Legally blind college reporter Mike Mavic hopes to get a story about a body believed to be that of long-missing Christopher Creed, but finds something odd about the town, including Justin Creed’s obsessive drive to learn what really happened to his older brother.
Tokyo Heist by Diana Renn
Sixteen-year-old Violet is spending the summer in Japan while her artist father works on a big commission. When his clients are the victims of a theft, Violet is determined to track down the missing artwork.
Amelia Anne Is Dead and Gone by Kat Rosenfield
Becca has big plans for the future, but the discovery of a dead girl sends her whole town into a tailspin. Soon, Becca finds herself unable to move forward for the first time in her life.
Bruiser by Neal Shusterman
Strange things start to happen when 16-year-old twins Tennyson and Bronte befriend a troubled and misunderstood outcast nicknamed Bruiser.
Blood on My Hands by Todd Strasser
When Callie discovers her friend’s dead body, she becomes suspect number one. Who killed Katherine, and why did they blame it on Callie?
Kill You Last by Todd Strasser
Girls start to go missing, and the only thing they have in common is having professional photographs taken by Shelby’s father. Can she help clear his name? Is he really innocent?
Black Mirror by Nancy Werlin
Frances is sure her brother’s death was murder, not suicide, so she begins her own investigation into the suspicious activities at their elite boarding school.
The Killer’s Cousin by Nancy Werlin
Acquitted of murder, 17-year-old David moves in with relatives to escape the media glare and soon realizes that something is very wrong with Cousin Lily.
The Rules of Survival by Nancy Werlin
A dark but hopeful tale about trying to survive and escape an abusive mother, as narrated by 17-year-old Matt.
So Yesterday by Scott Westerfeld
An entertaining thriller about the hunt for a missing person that also takes a thought-provoking look at consumer culture.
The Space Between Trees by Katie Williams
When the body of a classmate is discovered in the woods, Evie’s lies wind up involving her with the girl’s best friend, trying to track down the killer.