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Murder mystery books have long captivated readers of all ages with their intrigue, suspense, and puzzling crimes waiting to be solved. For young adult readers, a good murder mystery offers the perfect combination of drama, excitement, and engaging characters. As young protagonists find themselves embroiled in investigations and uncovering clues, readers can live vicariously through thrilling adventures.

With so many great options to choose from, here are 10 of the most suspenseful, thought-provoking, and entertaining murder mystery books for young adults.

Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson

Truly Devious is one of the best-selling murder mystery books for young adults. In this 2018 murder mystery novel, student Stevie Bell arrives at a remote Vermont boarding school where her idol, a famous detective, once studied. But shortly after her arrival, a tragic kidnapping and murder occurred, leaving the case unsolved. As Stevie begins looking into the mystery, more present-day deaths start occurring on campus, leaving her determined to solve both the historic mystery and new crimes. With witty writing and an eccentric cast of characters, this is a fun, clever whodunit.

The Cheerleaders by Kara Thomas

A story of deception under the Friday night lights, this 2018 murder mystery book for young adults follows Monica as she returns to her hometown five years after the shocking suicide of five cheerleaders. Monica is still haunted by their deaths and decides to finally get to the bottom of the mysterious tragedy. The novel alternates between the past and present as Monica interviews classmates, uncovers dark secrets, and races to solve the crime before it’s too late.

Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie

A classic Hercule Poirot mystery from 1934, this Agatha Christie novel follows the eccentric detective as he tries to determine who murdered an American tycoon while on the Orient Express. The train has become stuck in a snowdrift, so Poirot has a limited number of suspects to interview in the claustrophobic, isolated setting. Christie leads readers through plot twists and red herrings before Poirot’s iconic dramatic revelation of the murderer’s identity.

One of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus

A 2017 release, this exciting novel is set in Bayview High School, where five students enter detention, but only four make it out alive. Told from rotating perspectives, it’s up to the four surviving students to figure out which of them is the murderer before the police accuse the wrong person. With amazing character development and clues expertly woven in, this is a can’t-miss whodunit for teen sleuths. A must-read murder mystery book for young adults.

The Christopher Killer by Alane Ferguson

Part of the Forensic Mystery series, this 2006 novel follows 17-year-old Cameryn Mahoney who uses her forensic science skills to help her coroner father. When a serial killer begins targeting their small town, Cameryn finds herself in the killer’s crosshairs as she works alongside her dad to catch the murderer. With pulse-pounding suspense and CSI-style sleuthing, this is a great choice for aspiring armchair detectives.

A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson

Released in 2019, this novel follows high school senior Pippa Fitz-Amobi, who decides to solve the five-year-old murder case of a local girl for her senior capstone project. Going against local opinion, Pippa starts to believe the convicted killer may actually be innocent and finds evidence missed by the police. The determined amateur sleuth must stay a step ahead of the killer as she gets closer to unraveling the many secrets in her small town.

And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie

Arguably, Christie’s most famous work, this 1939 novel, which stands as the top murder mystery book for young adults, follows 10 strangers lured to an island under false pretenses. They soon find themselves completely isolated and trapped as they begin getting murdered one by one per the orders of a mysterious killer. With an extremely clever plot that keeps readers guessing until the very end, this is an absolute classic in the murder mystery genre.

Sadie by Courtney Summers

A 2018 murder mystery book for young adults, Sadie follows the title character as she hits the road trying to track down her younger sister Mattie’s killer after the police fail to find justice. Alternating between Sadie’s road trip investigation and a podcast following her disappearance, this dark novel tackles themes of grief, violence against women, and the lengths one might go to find retribution. With a gut punch of an ending, this is a murder mystery that will stay with readers long after finishing.

The Naturals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

In this 2013 young adult series starter, teenager Cassie Hobbes joins an elite FBI program comprised of teens with innate crime-solving talents. But when a serial killer begins targeting one of their own, the group races to identify the murderer, targeting members of The Naturals program. With plenty of suspense, romance, and a fast-moving mystery, The Naturals is a fun and chilling thriller that deserves a spot in our list of best murder mystery books for young adults.

Witches, Bitches & Wannabe Queens by Annie Wall

In this exciting 2022 murder mystery book for young adults, the story kicks off in the bustling excitement of the Ms. Senior Springfield Pageant, but things take a dark turn when the pageant director is found dead, her head submerged in a toilet.

The detective, nearing retirement, and his partner Lily dive into the investigation, expecting a straightforward case to solve before retirement. But as they dig deeper, they uncover layers of complexity, especially with the colorful contestants competing for the title of Ms. Senior Springfield.

What initially seems like a simple puzzle quickly becomes a tangled web of secrets and deceit. Who would have thought that a group of seemingly decent women could be involved in such a sinister affair as murder?

With exciting twists, a determined protagonist, and a backdrop of competitiveness, Witches, Bitches & Wannabe Queens is a murder mystery book that will keep young adult readers rapidly turning pages to uncover the deception and find out whodunit!

Grab your copy of Witches, Bitches & Wannabe Queens today!

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