Book List

5 Books Where the Love Interest Might Be Guilty

July 10, 2017
Casey Nugent
Riveted Editorial Board

In Rachele Alpine’s A Void the Size of the World, protagonist Rhylee has several problems. The first is that her sister, Abby, has disappeared. The second is that Abby disappeared because she caught Rhylee kissing Tommy — who’s Abby’s boyfriend. The third is that Rhylee likes Tommy, but the police strongly suspect that he might have had something to do with Abby’s disappearance. What’s a girl to do when her love interest might be the person who hurt her sister?

Rhylee isn’t the first protagonist to deal with the age-old question — what if the person I like is guilty of something horrible? It’s a particularly common question in mysteries, where anything is possible and anyone could be lying. It’s also fascinating because, as pretty much everyone learns at some point, you can’t just turn your feelings off, even if you wish you could. After I finished A Void the Size of the World, I started thinking about other stories that have love interests who might not be as innocent as they seem. Here are some of my favorite books that keep you guessing until the very end.

I tried not to blow any big twist endings, but this post does have minor plot spoilers for all of the mentioned books. You have been warned!

Dangerous Girlsby Abigail Haas

TATE After her best friend Elyse is murdered in Aruba while on spring break, both Anna, the narrator of the story, and her boyfriend, Tate, are accused of the crime. Anna is originally convinced that Tate is innocent — despite the fact that he left her for a period of time and returned to the house, which he begs Anna to lie to the police about. Things become more complicated when it’s revealed that Tate had more motive than Anna originally thought — and when Tate turns on her and admits to lying. Anna starts to wonder if Tate is setting her up to take the fall for something he did. But is Tate guilty? Or is someone else to blame for Elyse’s death?

Liarby Justine Larbalestier

MICAH Micah is the protagonist and narrator of Liar. She's also a pathological liar who admits so upfront. So when her boyfriend dies brutally, suspicion naturally falls to Micah. Micah says she didn’t do it, but can anyone trust a serial liar? Can the reader?

Three Truths and a Lieby Brent Hartinger

LIAM Rob’s excited for his trip to woods with his boyfriend, Liam, Liam’s best friend, Mia, and her boyfriend, Galen. It’s a perfect break from the real world...until someone starts stalking them in the forest. Liam’s convinced Galen’s up to no good, and playing a nasty prank. But when someone gets hurt, Rob starts to doubt who he can and can’t trust. Everyone seems to have a motive to hurt each other — even Liam, whom Rob loves. Who’s telling the truth?

This is Our Storyby Ashley Elston

SHEP Five boys go hunting in the forest — four come back. They say it was an accident, but no one’s entirely sure. Kate, who’s assisting at the DA’s office her senior year of high school, wants to get to the bottom of this mystery, but her draw to Shep, one of the boys involved, complicates everything.

Before I Go to Sleepby S.J. Watson

BEN Okay, this one’s not YA, but it’s so, so creepy and mysterious that it has to be on this list. Christine Lucas wakes up in an unfamiliar house with a man she does not know. The man tells her he’s her husband, Ben, and that a car accident ten years earlier has left her with amnesia and brain damage. As the day goes on, Christine starts to remember bits and pieces of her life — and not everything Ben has told her is adding up. This is a deeply haunting and disturbing thriller that was also made into a movie starring Nicole Kidman and Colin Firth as Christine and Ben.

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