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A Host of New YA Mysteries, Thrillers, and Horror Fiction

A Host of New YA Mysteries, Thrillers, and Horror Fiction

One of the most creative avenues for genre exploration today is found in young adult fiction. The following new and upcoming releases are distinguished by nimble use of tropes, deep love of references, intricate plotting, and a passion for justice. They are also, and I cannot emphasize this enough, incredibly entertaining. God speed, ye readers.

Tyffany Neuhauser, Not Dead Enough
(Viking, January 23)

This novel uses the undead as a perfect metaphor for PTSD—the main character is literally haunted by her abusive ex-boyfriend, a duplicitous soul whose harmful ways were invisible to all other observers, and a brutal confrontation with this zombified incarnation of trauma is necessitated in order to move on.

Sami Ellis, Dead Girls Walking
(Amulet Books, March 26)

Sapphic romance and serial killers at summer camp! Sami Ellis seems to have included every trope I have on my checklist, and they all work together seamlessly for an irrepressibly entertaining horror experience.

Ream Shukairy, Six Truths and a Lie
(Little Brown, March 12)

Shukairy’s haunting noir of justice delayed and denied is an essential read for our times. Six Muslim teenagers are targeted by police after a Muslim student gathering on a beach is interrupted by mysterious explosions. Shukairy divides the narrative between these disparate narrators, with slow reveals leading to maximum emotional impact. The novel’s scenes of protest are especially evocative given recent events in which student voices have been violently repressed.

Freddie Kölsch, Now, Conjurers
(Union Square, June 4)

New voice Freddie Kolsch has written a queer horror novel for the ages, in which a charismatic quarterback’s failed quest for absolution is the catalyst for an epic confrontation between his coven and his killer. Not to be a pest, but you must read this book. No excuses. Now you must be wondering, why does every sentence in this blurb begin with an “n”? No cheating—you’ll have to pick up the book to find out yourself.

Tess Sharpe, The Girl in Question
(Little Brown, May 14)

In this intricately plotted nesting doll of a thriller, the sequel to her novel The Girls I’ve Been, a camping trip meant for solace instead goes horribly awry. Nora, Sharpe’s “girl in question,” was raised by a con artist mother and broke free from her family only through turning snitch against her violent stepdad. Now, he’s out of jail, she’s in the wilderness with her closest friends, and someone’s on their trail. Sharpe has been a personal favorite for some time, and this latest novel should continue her journey into becoming a household name.


Joelle Wellington, The Blonde Dies First
(S&S, July 30)

I loved Joelle Wellington’s debut thriller with its epic party gone terribly wrong, and she continues to wreak gleeful havoc with traditional tropes in her new thriller. This one features an epic summer party interrupted by a demon hell-bent on picking off guests.

Gigi Griffis, We Are the Beasts
(Delacorte, December 10)

Gigi Griffis breathes new life and intrigue into the historical tale of the Beast of Gévaudan, the mythical monster blamed for a rural murder spree in Ancien Regime France, as two teen girls take advantage of the chaos to fake the deaths of their nearest and dearest and thus save them from more human terrors. Griffis has an eye for historical detail and a deft hand when it comes to plotting.