Book List

20 YA Thrillers You Won’t Be Able to Put Down

January 18, 2023
The Riveted Team
Believe In Your Shelf

Do you like dark, suspenseful, pulse-pounding books that make your hair raise and set your nerves on edge? Have you binged Stranger Things, Black Mirror, and You, and are left craving more? Well, my friends, do we have a list for you! The minds of Riveted Lit have brainstormed and we’ve rounded up some of our most thrilling YA books that you’ll want to devour in one sitting.

20 YA Thrillers You Won’t Be Able to Put Down

1. Retro by Sofía Lapuente and Jarrod Shusterman

What starts off as a lighthearted competition to live without modern technology for a year turns into a fight for survival in this unputdownable young adult thriller by New York Times bestselling author Jarrod Shusterman and debut author Sofía Lapuente.


2. Black Ice by Becca Fitzpatrick

Danger is hard to resist in this sexy young adult thriller following a teen girl caught between all-too-human perils and the brutal natural elements in the mountains—from Becca Fitzpatrick, the New York Times bestselling author of the Hush, Hush saga.


3. 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.


4. Trigger by N. Griffin

The Queen’s Gambit meets The Hunger Games in this 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.


5. 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.


6. Lies Like Poison by Chelsea Pitcher

Riverdale meets Kara Thomas’s The Cheerleaders in this electrifying, twisted thriller 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.


7. 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.


8. 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.


9. I Killed Zoe Spanos by Kit Frick

Nothing says summer quite like a murder mystery thriller set in the Hamptons. Anna Cicconi is starting a summer job in the Hamptons as a nanny in the hopes of getting a fresh start. But Anna bears the eerie resemblance to Zoe Spanos, a local girl that went missing over New Years. When Zoe’s body is found in a nearby lake, and Anna is charged with manslaughter. But something doesn’t quite add up and Martina Green, teen host of the Missing Zoe podcast, is determined to find out the truth.


10. Perfect Liars by Amanda K. Morgan

What’s better than one thriller? That’s right, TWO! This bind-up includes two amazing thrillers that are sure to have your heart racing. Will these teens come out on top, or will their tangled webs of deception and intrigue pull them under?


11. Broken Lands by Jonathan Maberry

Did someone say the zombie apocalypse? Gabriella “Gutsy” Gomez has spent her days flying under the radar ever since her mother died. But when her mom returns to her doorstep as a zombie she realizes that life finds you no matter how hard you try to hide from it. After you finish this thrilling, zombie-filled book, be sure to pick up the sequel, Lost Roads.


12. The Truth App by Jack Heath

Ever wondered what would happen if you became famous over night? Well that’s exactly what happens to Jarli when he creates a lie-detecting app that goes viral. Now someone is trying to kill him and he is on the run. This fast-paced thriller will have you on your toes the whole way through and you won’t be able to put it down until you’ve finished it. Don’t miss Jarli’s next adventure in the sequel, Missing Passenger!


13. When We Were Magic  by Sarah Gailey

This book starts off right away with an accidental murder and then it’s off to the races! With the addition of a little bit of magic, this is not your typical thriller but I guarantee you won’t be able to put it down until you’ve finished it.


14. This Lie Will Kill You by Chelsea Pitcher

Tell the truth. Or face the consequences. One year ago, there was a party. At the party, someone died. And now all five survivors have been lured together by a person bent on revenge, a person who will stop at nothing to uncover what actually happened. Will the truth set them free? Or will their lies destroy them all?


15. Dangerous Lies by Becca Fitzpatrick

Stella Gordon’s life is a lie. She does not belong in Thunder Basin, Nebraska. As the star witness in a murder trial against a drug dealer, Stella is now in the Witness Protection Program. Despite how hard Stella tries to stay under the radar, danger is fast approaching. Criminals have a way of getting rid of witnesses, and Stella may have made the one mistake that could lead the cold-blooded men hunting for her right to her doorstep.


16. Bad Girls With Perfect Faces by Lynn Weingarten

When Sasha’s best friend Xavier gets back together with his cheating ex, Ivy, Sasha knows she needs to protect him. So she poses as a guy online to lure Ivy away. But Sasha’s plan goes sickeningly wrong. And she soon learns to be careful of who you pretend to be because you might be surprised by who you become…


17. The Perfect Candidate by Peter Stone

When Cameron Carter lands an internship with Congressman Billy Beck in Washington, DC, he thinks it is his ticket out of small town captivity. What he lacks in connections he makes up in smarts, and he soon finds a friend and mentor in fellow staffer Ariel Lancaster. That is, until she winds up dead. As rumors and accusations about her death fly around Capitol Hill, Cameron Carter’s low profile makes him the perfect candidate for an FBI investigation that he wants no part of—and it just might get him killed.


18. Four-Letter Word by Christa Desir

Chloe Sanders is ready for change. So ready, in fact, that when new girl, Chloe Donnelly, moves to town and convinces her group of friends to play a dangerous game, she jumps onboard. It’s a girls vs. guys challenge that only has one rule—obtain information by any means necessary. Sounds exhilarating, right? But Chloe Donnelly has power over everyone…she knows secrets she shouldn’t, secrets she’s willing to exploit. At any cost.


19. The Sisterhood by A. J. Grainger

Sixteen-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. The girl is injured and disorientated and claims she’s from a peaceful community called The Sisterhood of the Light…but why does she have strange marks down her arms, and what—or who—is she running from?


20. I’ll Never Tell by Abigail Haas

Spring break. Aruba. Swimming, sunshine, and golden beaches. It was supposed to be the best time of Anna’s life. Paradise. But then the unthinkable happens. Anna’s best friend is found brutally murdered. And when the local police begin to investigate the gruesome crime, suspicion falls on one person—Anna.

Looking to start a new genre? Check out these must-read YA fantasies!

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