There are a ton of fantastic middle grade and YA thrillers and mystery books out there, perfect for kids and teenagers who enjoy suspense. This list is just a small sampling of what’s out there, but it’s illustrative of the many kinds of suspense books available for younger readers, from the very serious to the somewhat silly. Whether you’re looking for a creepy thriller or a magical mystery, these books will keep you turning pages, no matter how old you are.
Good Girl Bad Blood is Holly Jackson's follow-up to the bestselling A Good Girl's Guide To Murder. In this sequel, Pip has declared that she's no longer investigating anything—never mind that the murder case she solved during her senior year of high school rocked the foundations of her small town. She's launched a popular true crime podcast with her friend Ravi about the murder, but that's as close to being a detective as she's willing to get. That is, until her friend Jamie Reynolds disappears. The police won't do anything about it, so finding him is up to Pip. But this time, the whole town is watching her every move.
Ikenga, set in contemporary Nigeria, is a mystery starring a twelve-year-old boy determined to avenge his father. Nnamdi's father is the chief of police, and Nnamdi knows he's good at his job, determined to rid their town of criminals. But then his father is murdered, and Nnamdi desperately wants to bring his killer to justice. But what can a twelve-year-old do? The answer comes one night when a mysterious entity gives Nnamdi a magical object that grants him extraordinary powers. Now Nnamdi knows he can do something about his father's death, but he has to learn to control his powers first. This exciting, fast-paced mystery about making hard choices and finding your voice is sure to please kids and adults alike.
The Project is a twisty crime novel about sisterhood, cults, and starting over. Lo Denham is a young woman who is used to taking care of herself. Her parents died when she was a teenager, and soon after, her sister Bea joined The Unity Project, a mysterious organization involved in charity work that Lo is sure is creepier than it looks. She's been trying to prove there's something wrong with The Unity Project for years, so when a man shows up at the magazine she writes for and claims they killed his son, Lo jumps at the chance to pursue the story. But as she learns more about The Project, and the lives of its members, she becomes less sure—of them, of herself, of her sister, and of the truth.
Tiffany D. Jackson
In Monday's Not Coming, a teenage girl searches for her best friend, desperate to find her even though no one else seems to notice she's gone. When Monday doesn't show up on the first day of school, Claudia knows something is wrong. Her worry turns to panic as the days go by and Monday still doesn't appear. Claudia and Monday are as close as sisters, and Claudia knows that Monday wouldn't just abandon her. But when she starts asking questions, no one seems to want to help her, not even Monday's family. She soon realizes that if she wants to see her friend again, she's going to have to figure out what happened herself.
Following her father’s death, Jane North-Robinson and her mom move from sunny California to the dreary, dilapidated old house in Maine where her mother grew up. All they want is a fresh start, but behind North Manor’s doors lurks a history that leaves them feeling more alone . . . and more tormented.
As the cold New England autumn arrives, and Jane settles into her new home, she finds solace in old books and memories of her dad. She steadily begins making new friends, but also faces bullying from the resident “bad seed,” struggling to tamp down her own worst nature in response. Jane’s mom also seems to be spiraling with the return of her childhood home, but she won’t reveal why. Then Jane discovers that the “storage room” her mom has kept locked isn’t for storage at all — it’s a little girl’s bedroom, left untouched for years and not quite as empty of inhabitants as it appears . . .
What to Read Next