Have you recovered from the Big Little Lies series finale yet? After seven intense and increasingly twisty-turny episodes we found out exactly who died and who did it and how and why and now we just need more! With no sign of a season 2 on the horizon (yet—both Reese Witherspoon and Big Little Lies author Liane Moriarty have said they have ideas!), here are six YA thrillers full of secrets, murders, lies, twists, turns, and seemingly perfect lives headed for disaster. So let the waves crash on the shore, put your headphones in, crank up your immaculately curated playlist, and start reading…
With Malice, by Eileen Cook
Lies and deception abound in this tale of a senior class trip to Italy gone horribly wrong. Jill and Simone are best friends. They’ve known each other since fourth grade. They’re inseparable. The trip to Montepulciano was supposed to broaden their horizons, give Jill a little life experience before she heads to Yale in the fall. Instead, Jill wakes up from a coma six weeks later. Her best friend is dead, Jill can’t remember anything, and no one knows what happened. As her memories return in tantalizing fragments, she’s bombarded with questions from professionals, from her family, and from the fascinated public: Was it an accident that killed Simone? Or anything but? And the big kahuna: Is Jill a murderer? Told through a combination of Jill’s narration, transcripts, Facebook statuses, emails, and more, this is a tense psychological thriller.
The Girl I Used to Be, by April Henry
Murder mystery? Check. Police procedural? Check. Edge-of-your-seat thriller? Triple check. This is Olivia’s story. When she was three, her mom was murdered, and Olivia was adopted. The official story was that her father murdered her mom, and then ran away. But when the cops knock at her door 14 years later, they have a different story: Her father was murdered the same day as her mother. He wasn’t the killer—which means the killer is still out there. Olivia returns to her hometown to uncover the truth, in a book that kicks off with Olivia on the run from the killer, before diving into the flashbacks that led her to that point. Page-turning quality: maximum.
Ten, by Gretchen McNeil
Besties Meg and Minnie can’t wait for the weekend, when they’ll be joining eight of their friends at an exclusive house party on secluded Henry Island. Two days of drinking, boys, and general party awesomeness: what’s not to like?! Sure, things get a *little* weird when they get there and find a mysterious DVD has been left for them, containing a recorded message: Vengeance is mine. Not the ideal party starter, but they’ll deal. Until people start getting killed, that is. The tension climbs as the killer continues to strike, in a modern riff on Agatha Christie’s famous “locked room” mystery And Then There Were None. Who’s doing the killing? What do they want? Secrets are revealed as the body count increases. With a storm howling outside and the deaths getting increasingly gorier, the Scream-like stage is set for an intense and suspenseful showdown.
No One Else Can Have You, by Kathleen Hale
Thus far, we’ve been looking at some pretty super intense murder mysteries. But one of the great things about Big Little Lies was how funny it was. So here’s a murder-thriller that will definitely make you laugh (in a good way!). When local Wisconsin teen Ruth is found murdered, her best friend Kippy has to find out the truth behind the crime. The local cops aren’t moving fast enough for her, so she starts taking investigative tips from her idol, Diane Sawyer. The plot is intricately woven, there’s a brilliantly quirky supporting cast, and the whole thing is shot through with some Fargo-style off-kilter humor.
Rosebush, by Michele Jaffe
It was supposed to be an awesome Memorial Day weekend down the shore. But for Jane, it’s not so much awesome as haunting. She’s lying in a hospital bed, wondering how she went from a party to a hit and run accident to being here, surrounded by sympathy teddy bears. People keep telling her the crash was an accident. But Jane has been receiving phone threats, and despite what everyone else thinks, she believes they’re real. As more of her friends and family come to visit, memories begin to rise up, going all the way back to when Jane’s friend Bonnie was killed. Everyone becomes a suspect as Jane desperately tries to uncover the truth, before the killer comes back for her.
One of Us is Lying, by Karen McManus
This forthcoming thriller, due out May 30, is like The Breakfast Club plus murder. Five teens walk into detention at their surburban San Diego high school. Only four make it out alive. The victim, Simon, creator of the school’s bloodthirsty gossip app, had planned to reveal some crazy secrets about each of the other four the next day. This makes everyone a suspect, but nobody’s talking. The chapters are narrated in turn by each of the four suspects—the “brain,” the “criminal,” the “jock,” and the “princess”—giving us great insights into their psyches and struggles. McManus’s debut is propulsively twisty with teen movie smarts.