Booklist: Teen Mystery and Horror
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A bookseller requested a list of mysteries from the teen section which advanced readers would enjoy, as well as mysteries for reluctant readers. That prompted me to create this, a booklist filled with my favorite mystery and horror novels for teens.
The Body of Evidence series by Christopher Golden and Rick Hautala - forensic mysteries that are intelligent and intriguing, with realistic characters and detailed autopsies and investigations; ten books, starting with Body Bags, all of which all of you should read right now!
- Body Bags
- Thief of Hearts
- Soul Survivor
- Meets the Eye
- Head Games
- Skin Deep
- Burning Bones
- Brain Trust
- Last Breath
- Throat Culture
Poison Ink by Christopher Golden - Five girls plan to get matching tattoos to symbolize their friendship. One girl backs out, and the others change drastically - tragically - after they get inked.
Soulless by Christopher Golden - A mass seance was supposed to allow the dead to contact their loved ones one last time. Instead, the dead become reanimated - and they are hungry, mindless, soulless. If you like movies about zombies and shows like Heroes and The X-Files, then you will love this book.
The Waking by Thomas Randall - When 16-year-old Kara and her father, a professor, move from Massachusetts to Japan, they must not only adjust to a new culture and community but also to the evils sprung from mythology and local murders.
- The Waking: Dreams of the Dead
- The Waking: Spirits of the Noh
- The Waking: A Winter of Ghosts
The Gemma Doyle trilogy aka A Great and Terrible Beauty trilogy by Libba Bray - a lovely hybrid of history, mystery, and the supernatural; absolutely gorgeous writing, witty and smart, funny and serious, making each book an intense read.
- A Great and Terrible Beauty
- Rebel Angels
- The Sweet Far Thing
The Creek by Jennifer L. Holm - please click here to read my full-length review of this excellent thriller!
Various books by Joan Lowery Nixon - some are realistic thrillers (The Kidnapping of Christina Lattimore) and some are who-done-its (The Name of the Game was Murder) while others have a supernatural touch (The Seance)
Various books by Lois Duncan - dark and twisted thrillers; Duncan, like Nixon, has written all kinds of mysteries - psychological thrillers (Daughters of Eve), murders and secrets (I Know What You Did Last Summer, which was my favorite Lois Duncan book) and supernatural stories (The Third Eye)
More authors of horror/supernatural hybrids include:
Kathryn Reiss - time travel and history; Paperquake, Dreadful Sorry, and more
Richie Tankersley Cusick - vampires, ghosts, murder; The Lifeguard, Overdue, and more
Diane Hoh - The Nightmare Hall series
Jude Watson - Premonitions series
Now a few from the teen section that are easier to take on - recommendations for reluctant readers:
Books by Caroline B. Cooney - She has many mainstream mysteries, such as Wanted and Twins, as well as a time travel series. She also wrote The Face on the Milk Carton, which can make for a different kind of mystery: it is the first of four books about a teenager who finds out her parents may not be who she thinks they are.
Early R.L. Stine novels - I'm referring to his horror novels like Blind Date, Twisted, and The Girlfriend; the Fear Street series is also great for reluctant readers, and I feel that earlier titles in the series were better than later titles.
Authors of realistic mysteries aimed towards middle school readers that combine family trauma and social commentary include:
Margaret Peterson Haddix - Escape From Memory, Turnabout, and more
Willo Davis Roberts - Hostage, Twisted Summer, The Kidnappers, and more
Sleuths and Spies
Contemporary Sci-Fi for Kids and Teens
Mind Readers and Ghostly Visitors
Fantasy Novels for Kids and Teens