YA Mystery/Suspense

All covers link to the book’s Tattered Cover page.

getevenGet Even, by Gretchen McNeil
This was a great book! My only complaint was that I had no idea it was part of a duo, so I wasn’t prepared for the cliff-hanger…still, I couldn’t put this down once I’d started. I thought all four main characters were both intriguing and sympathetic, so the multi-POV was well done throughout. I especially like the growing relationship between the four…and the hints of what might come in the sequel. The next book comes out in the summer of 2015, and I can wait that long. πŸ˜€
The story (in a nutshell): Four high school girls get together to work against the bullies in their school while trying to keep their identities a secret…something which becomes very challenging when the principal starts up a group of vigilantes to out them.
Balzer & Bray, 9/14

madeforyouMade for You, by Melissa Marr
I found this very enjoyable. It’s very much like a traditional romantic suspense, and I thought the paranormal addition fit the overall pacing and tension quite well. Eva is likable and thoughtful, my favorite type of heroine. I also enjoyed Nate and the murderer’s POV (as I generally enjoy multi-POV stories). Overall, despite some mysteries left at the end (such as why Eva can’t see her mom’s death experience), this is a highly entertaining read.
The story (in a nutshell): Eva gets hit by a car, and when she wakes, she discovers that she can ‘see’ a person’s death if they touch her. Things get even trickier when the visions reveal that her ‘accident’ is tied to other murders (and attempted murder) — and Eva finds herself trying to protect the ones she loved from someone who seems determined to kill them all.
Harper Collins, 9/14

whenWhen, by Victoria Laurie
I loved this! Maddie is such a sympathetic characters, and in the best way, challenge after challenge comes her way. It’s hard to read in places (I felt so sorry for her and wished I could step into the book and hug her), but those who do champion her stand out that much more because of it. I think one of my favorite aspects was that the romance portion was kind of dwelling in the background so we got to focus on the suspense parts (while still having the possibility of romance). Overall, highly recommended!
The story (in a nutshell): Maddie can see deathdates on everyone’s forehead, but when she tries to warn a woman about her son’s upcoming death, the FBI thinks she’s involved in his murder…and the ensuing investigation turns Maddie’s already challenging life upside down even more.
Disney-Hyperion, 1/15

astrayAstray, by Amy Christine Parker
This was intense and highly satisfying. I’d say it’s a definite read for those who read the first (Gated — see below). Lyla continues to struggle here, but her growth is also apparent, and her determination not to hurt those around her is commendable. I felt like many of the characters had very realistic reactions, though some of the self-centeredness was hard to see. The kindness of other characters, however, made up for many of the less desirable types. Overall, this is highly recommended.
The story (in a nutshell): Lyla is considered a traitor by the Prophet, and he attempts to ‘lure’ her back to the fold for punishment. With all the other followers still brainwashed by the man’s teachings, Lyla feels more alone than ever…and she must find a strength she didn’t believe she had if she’s going to survive and keep him from hurting more people she loves.
Random House BFYR, 8/14

killerinstinctKiller Instinct, by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
I really enjoyed this second installment in the series (more than the first, in fact). The characters are more solid this time around, and the mystery is complex and engaging. Cassie is still a little naive, but she’s less so than before, and I like her impulsiveness and her desire to help and protect those she cares about. I also like her growing relationship with the other Naturals, each one unique. The romance is good, as well, and I enjoyed how it’s growing realistically complicated. The story: A girl is murdered, and it looks like a copy-cat of Dean’s father’s killings — but he’s still in prison (and will be for the rest of his life). The group want to protect Dean, but they also want to help solve the case so Dean can forget about his father and move on. Of course, it’s never as easy as the FBI hopes to keep them out of the limelight, and soon Dean has been called in to actually visit with his father to look for clues. Cassie agrees to help him, and they somehow gain the attention of the killer…until even the agents ‘protecting’ them are also under fire. Can Cassie do her job and still keep everyone safe, especially herself? (YA suspense, releases 11/14, publisher: Disney-Hyperion)

gaspGasp, by Lisa McMann
This was a nice conclusion to the trilogy, although I found it fairly rushed in the last half or so. Plus, because I figured out how Jules ended up with the ‘curse’ in the first book (about halfway through, even), the time spent on that speculation was a little frustrating (and made Jules look kind of ignorant). Still, it’s a satisfying rush, and I love Sawyer and Jules’ siblings (and Ben, Jules’ brother’s love interest). The story: Jules knows that since she passed the curse to Sawyer when she saved him, then he must have passed it along to one of the survivors after he saved them…but how can they find which one? Even worse, once they do find her, what if she doesn’t want to (or can’t) help? Jules, her siblings, Sawyer, and Ben team up to try and do their part to save the next victims…but what happens if the curse simply goes on? Can it be stopped? (YA paranormal suspense, released 6/14, publisher: Simon Pulse)

bangBang, by Lisa McMann
I really enjoyed this. As with McMann’s other books, the angst is strong, but she also does a good job of relieving the tension and giving the characters an emotional break from time to time. I definitely liked the suspense of this mystery, and I thought the ending was fascinating (plus, I’m excited that Jules’ brother will perhaps get his chance at romance next. Sawyer is wonderful, as always, and I love the different types of strength he, Jules, and her siblings all portray. Can’t wait for the next one! The story: Jules somehow passed her ‘gift’ along to Sawyer, and now he’s seeing a horrifying vision. As the details become clearer, Jules works to help Sawyer nail down where it will take place so they can perhaps prevent it. But the strain on their relationship and their families grows, and before long, Jules’ dad breaks and she has to make some decisions. Sawyer also continues to struggle with his abusive home life, and Jules longs to help him. Soon, they find themselves in the midst of the vision — which doesn’t go quite as they’d hoped — and everything comes crashing down. (YA suspense/paranormal, released 10/13, publisher: Simon Pulse)

The NaturalsThe Naturals, by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
I definitely enjoyed this! I really liked the mystery and the revelations throughout the book. There are still mysteries left at the end, and that makes me want to read the next one (I’m trusting there will be more). There’s a hint of a love triangle, which isn’t always my favorite thing (as you all know), but in this instance, the relationships are just beginning. Cassie is attracted to both Dean and Michael, but all three have baggage, and Cassie is mostly trying to figure out who she is and what that can mean in any relationship (friendship and beyond) — so it’s not so much a love triangle as an attraction triangle. I’m more okay with that, since it’s a pretty common phenomenon. This book is a bit darker than some of Barnes’ books, but Cassie remains pretty thoughtful and sweet, despite her challenging past and current life. The story: Cassie has been chosen by the FBI to be trained as a ‘natural’ profiler. With the memory of discovering her mom right after her murder, Cassie accepts and leaves her extended family (who have been caring for her since her mom’s death). Cassie meets four other ‘naturals’ at the training center, all of which have troubling pasts of their own (not that they share them with Cassie). Soon, however, Cassie learns the horrifying truth about her fellow profiler, Dean, which further complicates her confused feelings about him and their peer natural, Michael. As a current case (being worked by their teachers, not by the teens) heats up, Cassie becomes convinced that it somehow ties into her mother’s murder…and one of the people living in their house. (YA suspense/mystery, released 11/13, publisher: Miramax)

Dangerous GirlsDangerous Girls, by Abigail Haas
This was chilling and fascinating. Anna comes across as a fairly normal teen girl (read: self-centered) who only wants the usual stuff from her life — friends, family, love, etc. But when she’s accused of killing her best friend Elise on a spring break trip to Aruba, her life is turned upside down. She and her boyfriend Tate are both arrested, but Tate (who comes from a very wealthy family) is soon released. Anna finds herself not only stuck in the small Aruban jail but on trial for Elise’s murder. As the book goes along, the story is told in flashbacks which coincide with the questions the prosecution is asking Anna or other witnesses on the stand. The courtroom parts are pretty interesting, but even more interesting is the fact that the entire drama unfolds through Anna’s lens. The prosecution accuses, and Anna ‘recalls’ that scene in her life. In the end, things are revealed which I found pretty surprising (and I actually went back and dug through some of the memories to see if I could see the clues). Definitely an intriguing read. The story: Anna, her boyfriend, her best friend Elise, and a few others travel to Aruba for a week of drinking and fun. Elise is determined to pick up a local for her fun, but Anna just wants to be with Tate. However, early into their stay, Elise is found (by the others) murdered. With the body lying in their beach house, it’s quickly concluded that it was most likely an inside job — and Anna and Tate are pegged for the killers. However, Tate is released not long after this, and Anna (who lost her mother to cancer only a few months earlier) is on her own, sitting trial for murder in the first degree. (YA suspense/thriller), released 7/13, publisher: Simon Pulse)

gatedGated, by Amy Christine Parker
This was definitely intriguing. It captured my attention right off, and I like how Parker very quickly moves into the confrontational part of the story. I think the portrayal of folks who might follow a cult leader is pretty accurate, and I like how Lyla questions and then berates herself for questioning — that seemed realistic too. It reminded me a bit of The Chosen One (Carol Lynch-Williams), although I think this had a lighter feel to it (perhaps because she wasn’t born into the cult like the MC of the other book). The story: Lyla and her community are preparing for the end of the world. They’ve built an underground bunker, and their leader, Pioneer, has spent years helping them train. Lyla loves her life, but she doesn’t like the idea of fighting. She wonders if the people outside are simply ignorant — and when she meets the sheriff’s son, those ideas take even deeper root. Lyla can’t believe that Cody is a bad person, but when Pioneer pushes up the date of their departure (to the underground bunker), Lyla’s time runs out. During a final supply run to town, and after being ‘punished’ with her friends (for sneaking out during the night), Lyla is hit by a car and taken to the local hospital — where questions begin to open Lyla’s eyes to some of Pioneer’s manipulations. Will she have the strength to save her parents, her friends, and herself? (YA suspense, released 8/13, publisher: Random House)

dead silenceDead Silence, by Kimberly Derting
I really enjoyed this, although it took me a while to get into it. I’ve loved her previous books in this serious, so I kept at it…and around 1/4 of the way through, something clicked and I couldn’t put it down. I loved the info on Violet’s grandma in this one, and the history of not only Violet’s gift but their entire group (including Rafe). I also like the continued loyalty between Violet and Ben. I have a feeling I know what’s coming in their relationship, so I’m anticipating the next book. In some ways, this book skimmed the surface of the mystery and spent more time with Violet and how she’s handling things. That was okay with me, in all honesty. I still enjoyed it. πŸ™‚ The story: Violet is having a tough time dealing with her echo, even though she knows she didn’t have any choice if she wanted to escape her kidnapper. Still, it’s challenging, and everyone is worried about her. At the same time, she is drawn to a new death — or deaths, as she discovers. An entire family is murdered in their home, one of which doesn’t have an echo somehow — but the oldest daughter is missing. Violet and her team begin working on the mystery, even as she struggles to share her feelings with Ben and to keep her friends from knowing what’s going on…made more difficult when Rafe shows up at Violet’s school as a new student — and when it appears that one of Violet’s classmates is involved in the family murder. (YA paranormal suspense, released 4/13, publisher: Harper Collins)

spirit and dustSpirit and Dust, by Rosemary Clement-Moore
I really enjoyed this, and I’m hoping there will be more about this unusual family. Daisy is a hoot, and I enjoyed her spunky personality throughout. The romance was sweet and complicated, and the whole premise was right up my alley (FBI with paranormal abilities). Also, this has a slight Amelia Peabody feel to it, as well, and that simply enhanced what was an already enjoyable, suspenseful, and complicated mystery. All in all, a very fun and smart read — it would be wonderful to have a book per cousin, perhaps (especially with little updates about what’s happening to the others we’ve already met, right?). Plus, I’d enjoy simply another book with Daisy at the forefront. The story: Daisy can see and communicate with dead people (well, the echoes of their souls left behind). Because of her talent, the FBI often calls her in to help with cases with little evidence or few leads — so Daisy’s not surprised when she’s called to investigate a missing coed…but when she’s kidnapped herself by the coed’s family, the case quickly becomes much more complicated and terrifying as the girl’s dad (a mob boss) threatens the lives of Daisy’s own family if she doesn’t find his daughter alive. Throw in some strange Egyptian artifact (which has some kind of power over death), a sexy ‘bodyguard’ for the family, and even some magic, and Daisy has to overcome a lot more than she’s used to. Can she pull it off without endangering the entire spirit world? (YA paranormal suspense, released 5/13, publisher: Delacorte BFYR)

crashCrash, by Lisa McMann
Yay, my first five-star read (and it’s March, ack)! I’m definitely a fan of McMann’s books (I’ve loved all but one), so when I heard she had a new one coming out, I put myself on the list. It came in this weekend, I picked it up yesterday afternoon, started reading around 6:30, and finished by 8:30. I couldn’t put it down, and that’s always so much fun. πŸ™‚ I liked how the suspense and pressure built, how Jules’ desperation heightened, how she fought it and then accepted it. There’s a nice underlying mystery (how did Jules end up having visions all of a sudden?) too (which I’m pretty sure I know part of — there are hints, and with the huge clue at the end, I’m thinking this is a nice set up…though I’m curious to see how it plays out in the next book). I think my favorite part is how Jules tells Sawyer, even though she knows he won’t believe her — even though she suspects it will only make things so much worse for her. I also like the ‘real-life’ drama going on in the background. Jules is dealing with a lot of crap with her dad too. The story: Jules has a normal life — well, except for the visions. She sees the same scene playing out over and over — on billboards, on the TV, on her computer; and even worse, there are dead bodies at the end. She fears she’s losing her mind (even scarier when she takes into account her family history of mental problems). But then, when the visions begin taking over, Jules decides to fight back. Maybe she can do something about this — and her determination increases when she sees that one of the dead bodies belongs to Sawyer, the boy she’s loved for years (unrequited). Even though Sawyer is her family’s enemy (their families both own Italian restaurants), Jules decides she must tell him, warn him…but when she does, things seem to get even worse. The visions intensify, Sawyer’s family has a fit, Jules’ dad is furious, and Sawyer looks like he’s pitying Jules…and Jules has to find the solution on her own — but at what cost? (YA thriller, released 1/13, publisher: Simon Pulse)

don't turn aroundDon’t Turn Around, by Michelle Gagnon
I really enjoyed this, and the only reason it’s not a solid five stars is because I almost put it down a few times near the beginning. But once I got into it, and definitely by the final third of the book, I couldn’t put it down! Once Gagnon got going, the pacing was strong; and from the very beginning, the story intrigued me. I liked the world-building, and I liked Noa’s skills. I’m not as fond of Peter — his characterization isn’t quite as developed — but by the end, he’d grown on me. I’m definitely curious to see what the next book holds! The story: Noa finds herself in an abandoned warehouse, and once she escapes, she discovers she’s been cut open and sewn back up — not a pleasant discovery! Add to that, she is still homeless and now has to wonder who’s after her and if they can trace her steps. She uses her computer skills to contact a group who has advocated for those in need before, and through that, she agrees to help Peter. But Peter’s problems seem so minor compared to hers…still, once she takes his money, she feels obligated to help — and to her shock, she discovers they’re struggles are related (though what a rich boy like Peter and a homeless girl like her could have in common…). The mystery deepens when both teens are targeted, along with anyone who appears to help them — can Noa get herself out of this new mess? And will Peter be able to help her? (YA suspense, released 8/12, publisher: Harper Collins)

tenTen, by Gretchen McNeil
I really enjoyed this. I couldn’t put it down, and even when I had to take breaks, I still finished it in one day. I think it’s loosely based on Agatha Christie’s Ten Little Indians, though I don’t recall enjoying that one as much as this one. My only minor complaint involved all the characters — there were simply too many (and others kept being brought up) to keep track of. Of course, they were all needed by the end, and everything came together and was nicely explained (my favorite kind of mystery). I also didn’t guess the killer (I made a guess, but I was wrong), and since that rarely happens, I liked it. πŸ™‚ I did think T.J. was awfully forgiving, and the ending seemed a tad rushed — still, it was a fun and fast read, and I enjoyed it! The story: Meg agrees to go with Minnie to the party of the year out on an island. Minnie gave up her popularity for Meg, after all, so Meg still feels like she owes her. When they arrive to only eight others, however, Meg starts to wonder if she was foolish to agree — especially since her parents think she’s safe on the mainland. Things get worse when a storm takes out their electricity — and when one of the girls kills herself during the night. But that’s only the beginning, and soon the remaining teens are wondering who will die next — and who’s doing the killing. (YA suspense, released 9/12, publisher: Balzer & Bray)

ghost flowerGhost Flower, by Michele Jaffe
I definitely enjoyed this, and I must say (for all you romantic suspense lovers out there), that it was a lovely homage to Mary Stewart. πŸ™‚ In fact, I guessed the majority of the mystery elements within the first fifteen pages, because I knew it was just like one of Stewart’s books! I liked how she used some of the same elements (the Old Man like the ivy tree, secret relationships, one person playing the part of someone else, horses, etc). What was interesting to me was how much more complex Jaffe made this mystery — in places, almost too complicated, imo. Still, I definitely enjoyed it, and I liked that there were both gay and straight relationships — and I especially liked that the MC found the person she really wanted. It was a good mystery, and for those who love Mary Stewart, I bet you’ll enjoy the comparisons and differences as much as I did (Jaffe manages to trick us using those differences). The story: Aurora disappeared three years ago after her best friend committed suicide (by jumping off the side of a cliff). Now, Aurora’s cousins want Eve to pretend to be Aurora, since she looks uncannily similar — for a portion of Aurora’s inheritance. Eve, who’s spent too long on the street, needs the money and decides it can’t be that big of a deal…right? Soon, however, she’s being haunted by the dead best friend and finding that being Aurora is both harder and easier than it should have been — and too many people aren’t happy to see Aurora return. (YA suspense, GLBT themes, released 4/12, publisher: Razorbill)

the last echoThe Last Echo, by Kimberly Derting
Oh, I so enjoyed this. The suspenseful feel is strong throughout (and reminds me of good adult writers, like Linda Howard or Kay Hooper), and the complex relationships continue to deepen. I love how Violet is fighting to remain loyal to Jay (who clearly loves her) — how she doesn’t even want to consider Rafe…but as we learn more about Rafe and his past, he becomes more and more of a sympathetic character, and I’ve got to admit that part of me is hoping that Violet will find a way to care for him too. And that’s what I enjoy about this series — Derting takes what I love and expands it to change my hopes for the characters. The story: Violet has started working with Sara’s special task force, which includes other teens with unusual gifts. Violet struggles to handle her gift, as she feels helpless to do anything to prevent the heinous crimes. Still, she feels she has to try and bring the murderers to justice — but an unusual case has put her in one particular murderer’s path, and soon Violet will be doing more than trying to match imprints — she has to try and avoid becoming an imprint herself. (YA suspense, released 4/12, publisher: Harper Collins)

Rosebush, by Michele Jaffe
I definitely enjoyed this mystery, and for once, I didn’t guess the would-be killer before the reveal (well, not too much before the reveal, that is). Of course, practically every person in the story was a little bit insane (and some more than a little), so there were plenty of suspects πŸ˜‰ I liked the tension and the way the story was structured, and I liked the intriguing look into the MC’s character (and her relationships). The only quibble I had, really, was that all the guys mentioned in the story seemed to have a thing for her — and that always strikes me as so completely unrealistic that it bugs me. Even though we learn that many of them have ulterior motives, it still seemed a bit much…and there’s no doubt that she was truly a terrible judge of character! Still, an enjoyable read! The story: Jane wakes up in the hospital to find herself paralyzed. At first, she has no memory of what happened to her, but as time moves on, she begins to remember bits and pieces and soon realizes that someone — someone she knows well — tried to kill her. Soon she’s examining her friends and their relationships with her in a completely different light, even as they visit her, and wondering which of them hated her enough to do this. (YA suspense, released 12/10, publisher: Razorbill)

Desires of the Dead, by Kimberly Derting
I definitely enjoyed this. The tension between Violet and Jay is still there, along with the lovely chemistry. I liked how Violet’s ‘gift’ is progressing. I think the main reason I didn’t love it as much as the first is that this feels a bit like a transition book. Yes, there are things going on and a mystery to solve, but by the end, I really wanted to read more about what had been set up throughout the rest of the book (I’m guessing this is what book three will touch on). And I’m very excited about the next book now! The story: Violet continues to struggle with being able to sense those (animal or person) who have met with a violent death, and when she feels an echo at a shipyard and anonymously calls it in, it draws attention she never expected (and isn’t sure how to handle). At the same time, one of her best friends has a crush on a new boy at school, and Violet is torn between her duties as friend, her growing passion for Jay, and the tugs of echoes of the dead. (YA paranormal mystery, releasing 3/11, publisher: Harper Collins)

The Bodyfinder, by Kimberly Derting
Why did I love this? It’s one of the few (that I’ve discovered, anyway) romantic suspense books for teens. I liked the mystery (even though I had my suspicions); I loved the romance; I liked the paranormal aspects. I can’t wait for the next one (see above).
The story: Violet can sense death, and when she finds the body of a girl from her town, soon everyone is worried about the murderer on the loose. Violet realizes she might be able to sense the killer, as well, but her parents and her best friend (Jay, whom Violet is slowly realizing she has more than friendly feelings toward) are worried about her safety. Indeed, they should be, as the killer soon discovers she’s a threat. (YA paranormal mystery, released 3/10, publisher: Harper Collins)

Cryer’s Cross, by Lisa McMann
I really liked this! The only reason I didn’t love it was because of the creepy factor (which will definitely appeal to many), and the overall mystery was a little vaguer than I appreciate. But still, a really great read. So what did I love about it? First, I think McMann does a great job with romantic tension and attraction. The second Jacian appears, I felt the tug between him and Kendall. Second, I like the overall mood of her books — they’re all appropriately creepy and mysterious, and I feel the pending something. The story: Last spring, one of Kendall’s classmates disappeared; this fall, Kendall’s best friend (and sort-of boyfriend) goes missing, as well. In a small town like theirs, each loss is felt by everyone, and Kendall is determined to figure out what’s happened to Nico, even as she struggles with her torn feelings regarding the new kid, Jacian. (YA paranormal/horror mystery, released 2/11, publisher: Simon Pulse)


About Robin

I'm a reader, a writer, a mom, a writing coach...and someone who loves the outdoors.
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