It’s summer time, which means it’s time to enjoy all of your favorite things! If you’re like us, then sitting on the beach, totally engrossed in an intense and twisty thriller is at the top of your to-do list. After all, why try to beat the heat when you can embrace it? Kick back on your towel, crack open a cold drink, and settle in for a wild ride with one (or all) of these sizzling thrillers!
20 Sizzling YA Thrillers for Scorching Hot Summer Days
1. Very Bad People by Kit Frick
In this dark academia young adult thriller for fans of The Female of the Species and People Like Us, a teen girl’s search for answers about her mother’s mysterious death leads to a powerful secret society at her new boarding school—and a dangerous game of revenge that will leave her forever changed.
2. Bad Things Happen Here by Rebecca Barrow
I Killed Zoe Spanos meets The Cheerleaders in this haunting mystery about an island town with a history of unsolved deaths—and a girl desperate to uncover the mystery behind it all.
3. Summer’s Edge by Dana Mele
I Know What You Did Last Summer meets The Haunting of Hill House in this atmospheric, eerie teen thriller following an estranged group of friends being haunted by their friend who died last summer.
4. Gone Dark by Amanda Panitch
Dry meets Hatchet in this thrilling tale of survival following a teen girl who must lead her friends across the country to the safety of her estranged father’s survivalist compound after a mass power failure leaves the country in chaos.
5. Trigger by N. Griffin
The Queen’s Gambit meets The Hunger Games in this “brisk and brutal…harrowing and intriguing” (Kirkus Reviews) novel about a teen girl whose abusive father teaches her the finer points of chess and hunting, all for his own sinister ends…drawn from the author’s own experiences.
6. Where Secrets Lie by Eva V. Gibson
Perfect for fans of Courtney Summers, this seductive and intense thriller unfolds in interwoven timelines of two summers as three friends are torn apart by buried secrets and star-crossed attraction…then pulled back together by tragedy.
7. Fear Street: Runaway by R.L. Stine
Shadyside. It sounded like such a nice town, the perfect place for a runaway like Felicia. Nobody here would know about her dark powers. Nobody would know what she’s done. For once, she could be a normal girl. She could be safe. But someone in Shadyside has discovered Felicia’s secret. She doesn’t want to keep running, but if she stays people might start dying.
8. I Killed Zoe Spanos by Kit Frick
Anna Cicconi is looking for a fresh start with her summer job as a nanny in the Hamptons. What she finds instead is a community on edge after the disappearance of Zoe Spanos, a local girl who has been missing since New Year’s Eve and to whom Anna bares an eerie resemblance. So when Zoe’s body is found and Anna is charged with manslaughter, something doesn’t entirely add up and Martina Green, teen host of the Missing Zoe podcast, is determined to find out the truth.
9. Girl Unframed by Deb Caletti
Sydney isn’t entirely excited to spend the summer with her film-star mother, who prizes her beauty and male attention above all else. Sydney’s fears rise when she discovers her mother’s involvement with Jake, a dangerous art dealer with shady connections. To make matters worse, Jake’s eyes seem to follow Sydney everywhere and behaviors that once seemed like misunderstandings begin to feel like threats as the summer grows longer and hotter.
10. All Eyes on Us by Kit Frick
Pretty Little Liars meets People Like Us in this taut, tense thriller about two teens who find their lives intertwined when an anonymous texter threatens to spill their secret. Amanda Kelly is the daughter of small town social climbers, dating real estate heir Carter Shaw. Rosalie Bell is fighting to remain true to herself and her girlfriend against her Christian fundamentalist parents by carrying on a fake relationship with Carter on the side. Now, Amanda and Rosalie are roped into a bid to take Carter down and unmask their stalker, known as Private, before Private uproots their lives.
11. The Best Lies by Sarah Lyu
Remy was happy once. She had her boyfriend Jack and her best friend Elise who understood her better than anyone else in the world. But now that happiness is gone. Jack is dead, shot through the chest, and it was Elise who pulled the trigger. As the police investigate, Remy does the same, sifting through her own memories, looking for a scrap of truth that could save the friendship that means everything to her. Told in alternating timelines, this twisted psychologically thriller explores the dark side of obsessive friendship.
12. Lies Like Poison by Chelsea Pitcher
Riverdale meets Karen M. McManus’s Two Can Keep a Secret in this “twisty, sumptuous dark fairy tale of a mystery” (Kara Thomas, author of The Cheerleaders) about estranged friends who reunite when someone commits the murder they’d planned—but didn’t go through with—and leaves one of their own to take the fall.
13. The Perfect Candidate by Peter Stone
When recent high school graduate Cameron Carter lands an internship with Congressman Billy Beck in Washington, DC, he thinks it is his ticket out of small town captivity. He soon finds a friend and mentor in fellow staffer Ariel Lancaster, until she winds up dead…
As rumors and accusations about her death fly around Capitol Hill, Cameron’s low profile makes him the perfect candidate for an FBI investigation that he wants no part of. Before he knows it—and with his family’s future at stake—he discovers DC’s darkest secrets as he races to expose a deadly conspiracy.
If it doesn’t get him killed first.
14. This Lie Will Kill You by Chelsea Pitcher
One year ago, there was a party. At the party, someone died. Five teens each played a part and up until now, no one has told the truth. Tonight, the five survivors arrive at an isolated mansion in the hills expecting to compete for a cash prize, but they soon discover they were lured there by a person bent on revenge. Five arrived, but not all can leave. Will the truth set them free or will their lies destroy them all?
15. Dangerous Lies by Becca Fitzpatrick
A teen is forced to make a fresh start after witnessing a violent crime—but love and danger find her anyway in this novel from Becca Fitzpatrick, the New York Times bestselling author of the Hush, Hush saga.
16. Bad Girls with Perfect Faces by Lynn Weingarten
Sasha does something to protect her best friend, however, what she does may haunt her for the rest of her life. Her best friend, Xavier, wants to help her but doesn’t know what he’s getting himself into. Then there’s, Ivy, just as twisted as vines spiraling on a house. All three of their stories come together and start something that will change everything, even to the point where no one knows what is made up or true.
17. Here Lies Daniel Tate by Cristin Terrill
It seems too good to be true when Daniel Tate, missing since he was abducted from one of California’s most elite private enclaves at the age of ten, turns up on a snowy street in Vancouver six years later. It’s perfect. A miracle. Except for one thing.
18. Three Truths and a Lie by Brent Hartinger
A weekend retreat in the woods and an innocent game of three truths and a lie go horribly wrong in this high-octane psychological thriller filled with romantic suspense by a Lambda Award–winning author.
19. The Sisterhood A.J. Grainger
Seventeen-year-old Lil’s heart was broken when her sister Mella disappeared. There’s been no trace or sighting of her since she vanished, so when Lil sees a girl lying in the road near her house she thinks for a heart-stopping moment that it’s Mella.
20. How to Disappear by Ann Redisch Stampler
This electric cross-country thriller follows the game of cat and mouse between a girl on the run from a murder she witnessed—or committed?—and the boy who’s sent to kill her.
Looking for some more beachy vibes? Check out these books that you should pack in your beach bag this summer!