9 Young Adult Thrillers That Adults Will Love Too

If you’re a thriller reader, here are nine young adult thriller books that I’m always recommending!

I don’t read much young adult anymore, but just a couple years ago, I couldn’t get enough. While that change is a discussion for another day, today we’re talking about the YA thriller books that I still love and recommend, even for adults who don’t read YA, so here are 9 young adult thrillers that adults will love too!

a reading recommendation graphic featuring 9 young adult thrillers that adults will enjoy too with nine book covers in a 3x3 grid

9 Young Adult Thrillers that adults can also love


If you’ve been on BookTok, you’ve probably seen this one around, and for good reason! This is a three books series (which is now complete if you want to binge read them) about main character Pippa Fitz-Amobi who basically takes on a murder investigation as a school project. She intends to try to help clear the name of the boy who was accused of murdering another teen and find out who the real murderer is. The characters are great, the plot is captivating, and I love the full cast audiobook with interviews and podcast-type formatting! // Add it on Goodreads

SADIE by Courtney Hawkins

SADIE actually has some similarities to A GOOD GIRL’S GUIDE TO MURDER (or rather, the opposite since SADIE published first) in which a teen girl takes on a murder investigation due to botched effort to capture the true murderer. In this case, main character Sadie’s sister turns up dead and Sadie goes on a mission, starting from their small town and venturing outward, to find her sister’s killer. This book takes on a podcast-type format with an outside party detailing Sadie’s tasks and progress in her quest. // Add it to Goodreads


Before I picked this one up, I thought it would be a little campy, thinking of the Fear Street cheerleaders books by R.L. Stine but this was anything but! THE CHEERLEADERS takes place five years after the murder of… well, the cheerleaders. Two girls died in a car accident and then two were murdered by a local neighbor. The sister of the main character took her own life and was the last cheerleader to die, making the entire story a local legend. Monica begins to investigate after finding clues and goes on the hunt for more, trying to find out why this happened and why these girls, knowing there’s a lot more than meets the eye. // Add it on Goodreads

I’LL NEVER TELL by Abigal Haas

This book was an instant favorite of mine and I literally could not put it down. I was traveling at the time and went from plane to train to cab without ever stopping my reading progress because I was that hooked. This page-turner was originally titled DANGEROUS GIRLS and got a rename and a cover change a few years ago (because let’s be honest, the first cover did NOT do it justice) and this definitely might attract a new audience! The book is about two girls on spring break together in Aruba when one of them is brutally murdered. Inspired by the Amanda Knox and Natalee Holloway cases, this book will have you tearing through to see if main character Anna is really guilty of killing her best friend and have you wondering what really happened. // Add it on Goodreads

WITH MALICE by Eileen Cook

WITH MALICE is a similar concept to I’LL NEVER TELL, but this one takes place in Italy. Main character Jill wakes up in the hospital after a car accident to find out that she’s suspected of killing her best friend, but she doesn’t even remember being on the school trip in Italy much less any of the details of what happened. Jill is in the center of the murder investigation with evidence stacking up against her while she tries to piece together what happened and how her best friend died. // Add it on Goodreads

IN HER SKIN by Kim Savage

This was another page-turner for me that has stuck with me for years! 16-year-old Jo has been living on the streets and is a con artist. Needing a place to stay and maybe even some money, she takes on the identity of a missing girl and convinces her family that she’s their long-lost daughter. You end up feeling for Jo, who sounds like the “bad guy” of the situation and start to wonder what’s up with this family. They have another daughter who is “intoxicating and unpredictable” who drives a lot of this plot involving Jo, and well, it’s hard to say a lot without giving things away! It’s a very interesting read and such a fast one. Everyone says how they just fly through it! // Add it to Goodreads

THE DEVIL YOU KNOW by Trish Doller

THE DEVIL YOU KNOW was such a good young adult book to read as an adult because I’ve been in similar situations and it was kind of chilling to think what could happen in a good situation gone bad. Main character Cadie and her friend meet two handsome strangers at a campfire party and end up going on a road trip with them. They’re looking for adventure and maybe some romance and this is just the way to do it! As the girls get to know the guys, it seems like they’re not as trustworthy as originally thought and they may be stuck in a dangerous situation with two men who don’t have very good intentions. I really liked the suspense in this book and that it didn’t need to have a crazy twist to enjoy a good thriller. It was chilling enough to know that this could have happened to me (and I’m sure many of us) as a teenager or young adult.  // Add it to Goodreads


THIS DARKNESS MINE was kind of a weird book but man, I could not stop reading it. It’s billed as a twisty, psychological thriller and it was so interesting. When Sasha finds out she absorbed her twin in the womb, she becomes obsessed with trying to find out more about her sister that would-have-been. Then when she starts losing time and having moments she can’t remember, especially with a boy she would never have been talking to normally, she doesn’t really know what’s going on. She forms theories and let’s just say this book gets kind of wild. If you’re in the mood for something that will shake you in a big way, this might be it! // Add it on Goodreads

THIS IS OUR STORY by Ashley Elston

I’ve really enjoyed Ashley Elston’s books but this one might be my favorite. When five boys go into the woods for a hunting trip and only four come back, the question is, what happened and why? Each one is investigated and Kate, who is interning at the DA’s office, decides to dive deeper into the case. The boys all have powerful families who want the whole case to be swept under the rug but Kate knows there’s more and wants justice for the one boy who died. The more she digs, the more dangerous things become. // Add it on Goodreads

Do you have any young adult thriller recommendations, or have you read any of these? Let me know in the comments!

See these books and more on the @pagesplotsandpints Tik-Tok!

@pagesplotsandpints These are some of my favorite YA thrillers! What else would you recommend? Need more thriller recs? ➡️@pagesplotsandpints #thrillertok #thrillerbooks #youngadult #ya #yalit #thrillers #thrillerbooklover #sadie #karathomas ♬ Stranger Things – Kyle Dixon & Michael Stein

Hi, I'm Brittany!
Hi, I'm Brittany!

I'm an avid reader, candle-maker, and audiobook lover! Here you'll find book reviews, fun blog posts, and my other loves of photography & craft beer!

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