Hi everybody! Happy May!
I hope everyone is doing well. It’s been a bit of a slow reading month for me so I thought today I’d share some of my fave mystery/thriller novels that I’ve read – as well as the ones that I’m anticipating, because a lot of the new releases I’m excited for are in this genre too.
Sadie by Courtney Summers
content warningschild abuse, attempted sexual assault, rape, molestation, pedophilia, drug addiction
I know that a lot of people have already heard/read Sadie, but if you haven’t then what are you doing? Sadie is perhaps my favourite mystery novel. The book alternates between Sadie’s perspective as she tries to uncover the details behind her sister’s death and track down the killer, and the transcripts for West’s true crime podcast as he follows the case to figure out what happened to Sadie. I loved that we’re basically following two mysteries in this, both connected, and it’s also so interesting seeing the different perspectives.
I can go on about how much I loved the book, it had be enthralled the whole time. Sadie’s not your typical protagonist – she’s shy, with a bit of a stutter, and usually keeps to herself out of the way. But now, with her sister gone, she’s so determined to find her killer and it’s so easy to root for her but also want her to just turn around and be safe. With wonderful writing and a thrilling and heartbreaking narrative, it’s a novel I highly recommend.
Horrid by Katrina Leno
content warningsdepictions of pica, death of a parent, murder, home invasion, references to child abuse, self-harm mention, references to suicide
First off, let’s talk about what a beautiful cover that is! It’s the first thing that drew me to this book.
If you want a mystery novel with the classic haunted house trope, this is the book for you! The main character Jane and her mother move back into her mother’s old childhood home following the death of Jane’s dad. It deals with Jane’s grief, struggles to control her anger, and the ominous atmosphere she feels in the house. For once, it’s not one of those stories where I’m yelling at the main character to get a grip and realise that their house is haunted – Jane knows that something is wrong, and is determined to find out what is wrong.
The entire thing was intriguing and fast-paced, reading as Jane tried to settle into this ominous house with a strange history. I flew through this in one day, and I enjoyed it immensely, especially the ending !
Rules for Vanishing by Kate Alice Marshall
content warningsableism, violence, gore, death
I think I can talk for hours about how brilliant this book was – it was so smart, and with its storytelling and foreshadowing and overall atmosphere. You know those mystery novels that promise that they’ll keep you up at night? This definitely kept me awake thinking about it.
This book is made for fans of scary movies, especially any of those found-footage movies like The Blair Witch Project. It has three formats: Sara’s POV while she tries to find what happened to her sister, video transcripts during this journey, and interview transcripts after the fact. It jumps between these formats so well so that I’m never once bored.
The novel focuses on the uncovering of the disappearance of Sara’s sister, who went missing trying to uncover an urban myth about a girl named Lucy who went missing decades ago in the woods. In between chapters you also have the interview transcripts with Sara, after she’s escaped the woods, as she’s probed on what was happening. So, while Sara and her friends are trying to figure out the mystery behind the woods, we as the reader are trying to figure out what happened between the events too. You get two mysteries in one, and it really packs a punch.
I was captivated by the tale of Lucy, the woods, the disappearance of Sara’s sister. Not to mention, the inclusion of interview transcripts and video transcripts was great because it counteracted the slow suspenseful chapters by reminding you of the high stakes and the need to find out what exactly happened in those woods. It had me on my toes the entire time, and I still think about its amazing foreshadowing months after reading.
Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno Garcio
content warningsattempted sexual assault, eugenics, incest, body horror, cannibalism, references to suicide
I know this counts more as a horror/gothic novel, but it also falls under the category of thriller, in my opinion. Written by one of my favourite authors, SMG, Mexican Gothic focuses on Noemi who has gone to visit her cousin Catalina after receiving a troubling letter from her asking someone to save her.
It’s your classic horror about a supposedly haunted house and a strange sinister family, but it’s so much more than that. It’s such an immersive novel, incredibly suspenseful and well-paced, and had me dreading every page I read but also desperate to find out more. Even if you’re not a big fan/reader of the horror genre, I think the captivating writing and engrossing plot is something a lot of mystery fans will enjoy.
The Forest of Stolen Girls by June Hur
content warnings [to be updated]kidnapping, mentions of suicide, poisoning, murder, violence, death
Is it cheating to put this here when I’m not even finished with it? This is what I’m currently reading for the 2021 Asian Readathon (you can check out the prompts for this and recommendations here!) and wow am I in love with the atmosphere in this book. The writing is so immersive, and as someone who struggles keeping focused reading historical fiction I’m so intrigued to keep reading.
I adore the mystery, it’s so suspenseful and very high stakes since it’s not only Hwani’s father who has disappeared but 13 girls as well, and she is desperate to get to the bottom of it. I love seeing the sibling dynamics as well, it’s a relationship I think is underappreciated in YA.
I’m hoping the ending will give me a satisfying conclusion but seeing the writing I’m sure it will.
2021 is shaping up to be a good year for YA/NA mystery thrillers. We’re already halfway into the year and some super interesting novels have already been released (e.g She’s Too Pretty To Burn, and What Big Teeth) but here are ones that are coming out later in 2021 that I’m super excited for!
(Also, can we talk about the fact that three of them currently have the same release date? August is going to be a busy month for me I see.)
A Lesson In Vengeance by Victoria Lee – dark academia and sapphic? Count me in. It’s set in a boarding school that’s supposedly haunted, and our main character is just trying to graduate and is still mourning the death of her girlfriend. Not to mention, it has an unreliable narrator and I’m always a sucker for that trope. Release date: August 3rd 2021
How We Fall Apart by Katie Zhao – yes, another dark academia thriller I’m adding to the list. Elite prep school, murder mystery, and an anonymous tipster exposing the main characters’ secrets and trying to incriminate them? Colour me intrigued. I’m already so invested in this mystery and can’t wait to read what happens. Release date: August 3rd 2021
The Dead and the Dark by Courtney Gould – Okay so I don’t know much about this novel other than that all my friends who read the ARC (advanced reader’s copy) adored it. Not to mention, the author of Sadie loved it so I’m so sure I will too! It’s a paranormal mystery, which is not something I’ve read in a while, set in a mysterious town with a lot of secrets. Release date: August 3rd 2021
Ace of Spades by Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé – this book went immediately on my tbr when I heard about it. Pitched as “gossip girl meets get out” it’s a thrilling story that involves institutionalized racism and dark academia, and not to mention it’s queer too? Count me in. Release date: June 10th 2021
Thank you for reading! If you have any recommendations for thrillers/mysteries please let me know! If you’ve read any of the ones I’ve mentioned do tell me what you thought ❤