The best thrillers are made to be sucked down in a night, no matter their page count. I love an engrossing fantasy epic, a heart-tugging contemporary, a literary YA built of diamond-cut sentences made to be absorbed in small doses. But a really good thriller is impossible to resist, the kind that’ll keep you up all night, make you miss your stop and cancel your plans, and is doomed to end up covered in spaghetti sauce and bathwater by the time you start loaning it around to 50 friends, because you couldn’t stop reading long enough to manage the less crucial (eating, showering) aspects of life. Here are 10 such books we have our sights on in the first half of 2017. Clear your calendar and step away from the Netflix queue: you’ll want to read these in one sitting.
See all 2017 previews here.
City of Saints and Thieves, by Natalie C. Anderson (January 24)
Tina, a Congolese refugee living in Kenya, was 12 when her mother was murdered while working as a maid for a wealthy family. At 16, Tina has spent the past four years on the streets, plotting revenge against her mother’s employer and former lover, whom she’s sure was also her murderer. As part of the Goondas gang, Tina has the backing she needs to bring rich Mr. Greyhill down—but after reconnecting with his son, her childhood friend, during a failed break-in, what she thinks she knows falls apart. With the help of Tina’s tech genius pal Boyboy, the two race toward the truth, which may be darker and more complicated than Tina’s thirst for vengeance allowed.
Allegedly, by Tiffany D. Jackson (January 24)
When Mary was 9 years old, she was thrown into “baby jail” for a hideous, headline-making crime: the savage killing of the infant in her and her mother’s care. Now Mary is 16 and living in a group home, taking it day by day and trying to stay away from the raw memories of what she’s alleged to have done. But when she becomes pregnant, everything changes. Suddenly she has someone else to worry about, and the terror of having her baby taken away drives her to do something she never dared do: fight back against her mother’s claims that it was Mary who killed baby Alyssa all those years ago. What unfolds from there is a savage tale of vengeance and absolution, that keeps spinning the twists till the final page.
To Catch a Killer, by Sheryl Scarborough (February 7)
Erin’s life is shadowed by an event she doesn’t even remember: her mother’s murder, when Erin was a toddler, in a sensational unsolved crime. Fourteen years later, Erin finds herself at the center of another homicide, when she’s the first to find the slain body of her biology teacher. As a fledgling forensic scientist, Erin was working with Miss P. toward the goal of solving her mother’s cold case—and now she’s sure the teacher paid for their prying with her life. With the evidence mounting against her and her life thrown into increasing danger, she must dig deep to discover the killer before he or she gets to her first.
Beautiful Broken Girls, by Kim Savage (February 21)
In her sophomore novel, following 2016’s After the Woods, Savage explores the lead-up to a pair of sisters’ double suicide, which is far more complicated than it initially appears. Ben is one of the left behind: he loved younger sister Mira, and now she’s speaking to him through a string of notes whose hidden locations each correspond to a place where Ben touched her, from her palm to her heart. But the tale revealed by the notes has more to do with her sister, Francesca, than with Mira, revealing a dark history beyond Ben’s comprehension.
A Psalm for Lost Girls, by Katie Bayerl (March 14)
Callie’s sister, Tess, was taken away from her in life, by people who wanted to believe she could perform miracles. Now, after Tess’s death from an undiagnosed heart condition, they still want to take her and make her into something she’s not: because Tess could hear a cryptic voice, which helped her warn people away from impending disasters, the church is considering canonizing her. Before she died, a neighbor girl went missing, and the voices that spoke to Tess weren’t enough to get her back. Afterward, the girl escaped her captor and was found, alive, at one of Tess’s makeshift shrines. With the help of Tess’s secret boyfriend, Callie fights to debunk this last miracle and force the world to remember her sister not as a saint but as the human she was. Instead the two find themselves tangled in a mystery with unexpectedly deep roots—as well as in a forbidden attraction.
The Hidden Memory of Objects, by Danielle Mages Amato (March 21)
Contemporary books with a speculative element are my jam, so I knew I’d love this book, about a girl affected by the trauma of her brother’s sudden death in a wholly unexpected way: she discovers she has the ability to read memories attached to objects that were meaningful to him, from a coat button to a mysterious box found hidden among his possessions, engraved with the likeness of Abraham Lincoln. Through these objects Megan gets to know a different Tyler from the one she thought she knew—one with an angry streak and a passion for justice, and one who had heroin in his system when he died. With the help of a classmate unafraid of crazy theories and a boy whose full connection to her brother’s life remains tantalizingly unclear, Megan navigates a world of dark memories, uncovering secrets that extend back decades and putting herself at risk of getting sucked under by her increasingly powerful psychic gift.
Overturned, by Lamar Giles (March 28)
With her home life irrevocably messed up by her father’s murder conviction, which landed him on death row, Nikki looks eagerly toward the future: an escape from her hometown of Las Vegas, by way of the cash she wins playing cards. But all her best-laid plans are swept away when her father’s conviction is overturned. He reenters her life a changed man, bent on uncovering the secrets behind why he was framed for murder. Soon Nikki is caught in an increasingly dangerous web alongside her father, and risking everything to discover who landed him behind bars.
One of Us Is Lying, by Karen McManus (May 30)
When Simon, the widely feared and detested creator of a savage gossip app, dies while serving detention, the police quickly classify it a homicide…and the four teens who served detention alongside him are all suspects. Each had a reason to fear Simon, as each had a starring role in the app update he was planning to run the day after he died. Each survivor takes turns narrating in a twisty, breakneck ride toward determining whether it was all a big setup—or whether one of them is a killler.
The Possible, by Tara Altebrando (June 6)
Kaylee Novell lives a happy, normal life—playing softball, crushing on another girl’s boyfriend, hanging out with her best friends. Except she used to have a far more complicated identity, as Kaylee Bryar, and her past life has just come calling. When Kaylee was four, her mother, Crystal, an alleged telekinetic whose abilities had been debunked, went to prison for life for the murder of Kaylee’s brother. But she has always maintained her innocence, and now a podcast producer has set her sights on telling her story. In deciding whether to help the producer, Kaylee must also decide whether to invite her mother and her dark legacy back into her life—and to accept the possibility that she, too, might have impossible powers.
Want, by Cindy Pon (June 13)
In a dystopian future Taipei divided between those who can afford the suits that protect them from a fatally harsh environment and those who can’t, Zhou is mourning the loss of his mother to a preventable death, and ready to fight back against his corrupt world order. He insinuates himself into the upper crust and learns the horrible truth: the company that makes the protective suits may also be the primary cause of the poisonous air their product guards against. But when Zhou starts getting too close to the CEO’s daughter, he has to choose between his mission and his heart.