You guys know how much I love YA books, and this new trend towards thrillers and mysteries has me gobbling them up as fast as I can stuff them in. I’ve read a LOT of mind-blowing YA books recently and I have to share them with you.
While these books range in genre and content (see my content advisories under the books for more info), all these books knocked my socks off.
As a fellow young adult reader, or if you’re interested in books for your teen, you’ll want to check these titles out. With one exception, these are all new releases or soon-to-be released. I’ve added a Goodreads link by each book to make it easier to add them to your shelf.
Mind-Blowing YA Books to Read This Fall
Nothing will prepare you for this book. It starts off just like most young adult novels, with a girl trying to figure herself out. But then it throws in a twist, and another one, and another, until you can’t stop reading. Before you know it, it’s 1:00 AM and you’re still flying through the pages. I completely lost track of time and only re-emerged from the story when I finished reading hours later.
Content advisory: Some language (f-bombs).
Time travel and a deal with Death to save an almost-stranger from committing suicide make this book an engrossing and emotional read. It keeps you reading, guessing, and hoping that everything will turn out okay. Not only is it a psychological thriller, but it subtly reinforces the importance of human life and the message that everyone is worth saving.
Plus, you don’t see clean YA books very often, so if you love clean teen reads, snatch this one up.
This is the last book in the Jackaby series. I am SO in love with these books. It’s so funny that I laughed out loud several times while reading. But it’s more than just a humorous tale. With oodles of paranormal creatures, an unpredictable and quirky detective, and an evil king with plans to destroy two worlds in one go, this book is the perfect ending to a fantastic series. I couldn’t imagine the story ending in a better way than it did.
Also, this whole series is clean! If you’re looking for clean YA books for your teen, make sure you check this one out.
A few times.
Really. I was not prepared for Genuine Fraud, and I doubt you will be either. There’s nothing I can say without giving away the plot other than it blew me away. After finishing it, I ran over to my friend’s house and shoved it in her hands, demanding that she read it so we can discuss it when she’s finished.
Which reminds me—if you read Genuine Fraud, shoot me an email or tag me on social media so we can fangirl together!
Content advisory: Some gruesome scenes and f-bombs.
This is a reimagining of Snow White’s evil stepmother’s story, set in a fictional East-Asian world. It was SO good! Breathtaking, really. With an anti-heroine who transforms from an innocent(ish) village girl into a violent woman playing for the throne, this will keep you glued to the page. It reminded me of Macbeth a little bit, with prophecies, magic, murder, and a manic grasp for power.
Content advisory: Some gruesome scenes that may be disturbing to younger readers. Recommended for ages 14+.
I did not expect to love this book as much as I did. At first, it felt like any other YA romance, but with a focus on basketball and f-bombs. But then the author threw a huge wrench into the story that knocked me off my feet. By that point, I’d already fallen in love with the characters, so it derailed me.
It’s told from a teenage boy’s point of view, and it explores themes of love, friendship, competition, grief, tragedy, and hope. It feels very authentic. If you liked The Fault in Our Stars by John Green, then this is a must-read.
Content advisory: Too many f-bombs to count. Proceed with caution.
This book has had a lot of hype around it, and I loved it. It was an adventure I could easily get lost in. It’s about a girl who’s caravan gets attacked on her journey to meet her betrothed. As the sole survivor of the attack, she goes under cover (dresses like a boy) and infiltrates the ranks of the notorious Black Clan, who she believes is responsible for the attack. The book has everything I love—an East-Asian fantasy world with magic, legend, brilliant minds, honor, disgrace, and warriors that can fight like nobody’s business.
I read this book in the spring, but boy, oh boy did it rock my world! I feel like it hasn’t gotten nearly as much attention as it deserves. This is one of those books that will knock your socks off and keep you gripping the pages in suspense the whole way through. It’s about a group of illegitimate royal teens who witness a crime and have to go on the run. Set in a fantasy world, it oozes magic, battles, friendship, and betrayal.
Content advisory: There’s some language, violence, and non-descriptive sex in this book.
One of Us is Lying has been well received by the YA community for a good reason. It’s a twisty mystery about five teens who are tricked into detention, but only four come out alive. This book held me captive from the first page and through every twist along the way. I suspected everyone, no one, and each person by themselves. It kept me guessing all the way through.
Content advisory: Language (f-bombs), heavy kissing, and innuendo.
This book was published in 2016, but if you haven’t read it yet, then this fall is the perfect time to catch up. It’s about a girl who wakes up in the hospital and learns that she was in a car accident in Italy. Oh, and her best friend died in the accident. Now there are police and lawyers and media crawling over her life, but she can’t remember what happened…or so she says.
I loved reading this psychological thriller. At first, I believed she was innocent, but as evidence starts piling up, I thought she was guilty as a kid caught with chocolate smeared all over their face. I wavered between guilty and innocent so many times, I’m surprised I don’t have whiplash.
Content advisory: A few f-bombs, but pretty clean otherwise.
Have you read any mind-blowing YA books lately? Tell me about them in the comments!
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