17 Intriguing Mystery Books For Teens

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Let your teen put aside the smartphone and read a book. Buy them some interesting books and see how they get hooked to them. They wouldn’t bother what’s happening on the social media or complain to you about getting bored.

And if your teen is already into reading, then nurture the habit by gifting them more books. In either case, the best genre you can give them is mystery. Teens love to read about things that have a certain mystery, adventure or thrill in them. Keeping the same in mind, MomJunction has come up with some mystery book titles that your teen would love to read.

Top 17 Mystery Books For Teens

Here is our list of the most popular mystery books for teens that will surely intrigue their imaginative gamut, besides giving them a really good reading time!

1. The Naturals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes


The Naturals by Jennifer Lynn BarnesBuy-Now

Cassie, the 17-year-old protagonist of the book, is a ‘natural’. Cassie can read people’s minds – gather up the tiniest of details and recall them just like that. Years ago, Cassie’s mother was killed, but her body was never found. This haunted her throughout her childhood and into her teenage years. One day, the FBI comes knocking at her door. They recruit her, and a few other tanagers with supernatural abilities, for a confidential program that involves solving notorious cold cases.

What no one foresees is that the project is more dangerous than solving a few homicides. Nobody in the Naturals project is what they appear to be. A killer strikes the scene, and the “Naturals” need to unite their powers for survival. The rest of the book tells you if and how they do it.

What parents should know:

  • There is no strong language in the book
  • A shared kiss and easygoing flirting
  • Violence: characters are shot, stabbed or killed

2. A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro


A Study in Charlotte by Brittany CavallaroBuy-Now

Watson’s and Holmes’ descendants Jamie Watson and Charlotte Holmes strive to live up to their ancestors’ legacies. Jamie Watson, a Londoner, is sent off to a posh boarding school in Sherringford, which is home to Charlotte Holmes, the great-great-great granddaughter of Sherlock Holmes. Jamie craves excitement, action, and romance, and finds her detective abilities thrilling. Charlotte is bitter, brilliant and has a weakness for opium. A Sherringford student turns up dead after harassing Charlotte and fighting with Watson. Jamie and Charlotte are framed for murder, and as danger mounts, the two don the role of both the criminal and the sleuth. The story is how they unravel the mystery with no one to trust, but each other.

What parents should know:

  • Talks about drugs, alcohol, and gambling
  • Violence involving murder and rape
  • Some crude language used

3. We Were Liars by E. Lockhart


We Were Liars by E. LockhartBuy-Now

The Sinclair family is perceived as perfect, close-knit and beautiful. Cadence Sinclair, the protagonist, is the eldest granddaughter of the family. Every year, the Sinclairs enjoy the summers in their private island where Cadence joins her three cousins Cady, Johnny, Miren and an outsider, Gat. They call themselves the “Liars”.

The story revolves around the four characters and how they unearth the ugly secrets of the ever-immaculate Sinclair family. The family begins to break as the aunts vie for the inheritance and the Liars take the matter into their hands. An accident, a secret, lies after lies, true love and the nasty truth are all masterly combined to build the gilded facade of a family.

What parents should know:

  • Arguments, feuds, and rivalry
  • Drinking, sexual and sensual exploration shown

4. The Name of the Star: Shades of London, Book 1 by Maureen Johnson


The Name of the Star Shades of London Book 1 by Maureen JohnsonBuy-Now

Louisiana native Rory Deveaux arrives at a London boarding school to start her senior year. Unfortunately, she is greeted by a spree of horrific killings in the city. Someone is mimicking Jack the Ripper murders of 1888, and her new school falls right in the middle of it. The police have hardly any witnesses or leads. But Rory spots the man. However, she is the only one to see him, and the only one who can see him. Rory is now his next target. She is left with her unknown abilities to tap on and turn the tables.

What parents need to know:

  • This is the first book in the Shades of London series
  • Details of gory crime scenes are given
  • Language and sexual content is light
  • Alcohol abuse depicted
  • Book introduces readers to English history and life at boarding school

5. One of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus


One of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManusBuy-Now

One Monday afternoon, five students head to the detention room, while believing that they don’t deserve to be there. The fifth student, Simon, who manages a popular gossip app called ‘About That’, is found dead in the classroom and the four students are the murder suspects. And all of them have something to hide.

Besides being present at the time of Simon’s death, the four kids also have a secret that they do not want published in the app. They also know that Simon made many enemies by posting about their secrets. As the story unfolds, they unravel each other’s secrets and everyone is suspicious: whom to trust and who committed the crime?

What parents need to know:

  • Sensual exploration
  • Alcohol and drug abuse
  • Rumors, swearing and gossiping
  • Kids being secretive
  • Bullying

6. Pretty Girl 13 by Liz Coley


Pretty Girl 13 by Liz ColeyBuy-Now

Pretty Girl 13 is a psychological thriller about a girl who must piece together herself from the mystery of lost memory and time. At the age of 13, Angie leaves for a Girl Scout camping trip with her friends. She gets home, only to find that she is 16 – or so she is told by everyone. But she has no memories. What happened in these three years? Why doesn’t she remember and how did she forget? She embarks on a journey to discover her past and eventually learns a terrifying secret. Now she must decide what to do with something she knows but wishes she could forget?

What parents need to know:

  • Topics such as abduction and physical abuse are described

7. I Am princess X by Cherie Priest

I Am princess X by Cherie Priest

Fifth graders May and Libby are best friends and are obsessed with writing and illustrating the story of a princess they create – Princess X. Libby sketches the pictures while May writes the tales. But Libby and her mother die in a car accident, and all the work done on princess X is thrown out by Libby’s father.

Years later, May is 16 and walks down the streets of Seattle, when she suddenly sees a poster slapped in a window. She looks around and sees them everywhere- Princess X is now a web comic at amPrincessX.com. As May explores the web comic, she discovers unbelievable similarities between Libby’s story and hers. Who could have started it other than Libby? Is she alive?

What parents need to know:

  • This has comic book illustrations
  • Mild fantasy violence
  • No strong language

8. Pretty Little Liars by Kate Pavao


Pretty Little Liars by Kate PavaoBuy-Now

The book revolves around former friends, each dealing with their own set of issues. What they share now is a mystery from their past, one that brought them closer. Three years ago, Alison disappeared after a slumber party, never to return. Her friends at Pennsylvania school mourned her, but at the same time, some breathed sighs of relief in secret. Panic sets in when each of them receive anonymous texts and emails from someone named “A”, who knows all their secrets. Who is blackmailing them? Is Alison back as ‘A’?

What parents need to know:

  • Contains controversial teen behavior
  • Alcohol and drug abuse
  • Harsh language
  • Violence and consumerism

9. The Raven Boys, Book 1 by Maggie Stiefvater


The Raven Boys Book 1 by Maggie StiefvaterBuy-Now

Maggie Stiefvater’s The Raven Boys follows the life of 16-year-old Blue Sargeant, who’s the daughter and niece of clairvoyants. She is not clairvoyant herself, but helps develop the powers of those around her. All her life, Blue has been told that her kiss will cause her true love to die. As the ghosts of the soon-to-be-dead walk past her mother, she sees one, the ghost of Gansey, for the first time. A non-seer can only see a ghost if she’s his true love, or if she has killed him.

Gansey is a rich guy with devoted friends and studies in the Aglionby Academy. Boys from this school are called the Raven Boys and usually mean only trouble. Blue is attracted to him in a way she cannot deny. Having stayed away from boys always, she gets drawn into his mysterious life even more. Gansey has three best friends: Noah, Ronan and Adam. Blue and the Raven Boys help Gansey with his obsession of finding the final resting place of a medieval Welsh King, and their quest leads the five of them to make life-changing discoveries about the world of the paranormal.

What parents need to know:

  • There is fair amount of violence and harsh language
  • Paranormal elements form the story’s myth explained at length

10. The Diviners, Book 1 by Libba Bray


The Diviners Book 1 by Libba BrayBuy-Now

The year is 1926. Evie O’Neill has been exiled from her hometown and sent to New York, as “punishment” for making trouble back home. She is now living with her uncle Will and his unhealthy obsession with the occult. Evie has a supernatural power that she does not want Will to know of. She is a diviner, one who has supernatural powers and practices divination.

A girl is mysteriously murdered and branded with a cryptic symbol, and Will is called to the scene of crime. Now, Evie realizes that her gift can help catch a killer. However, she’s not the only young diviner in the City. Will all the diviners come together to combat evil forces? Well, you’ll know when you read the book.

What parents need to know:

  • Description of the ritualistic killings can be disturbing
  • Occasional use of strong language
  • Portrayal of Prohibition era in New York City – racism, anti-immigrant, speakeasies
  • Book is packed with historical references to literature, entertainment, politics and the Roaring Twenties.

11. Jackaby by William Ritter


Jackaby by William RitterBuy-Now

Abigail Rook sails to New England in search of new adventure in 1892. With no luck finding a job, she responds to an ad for an investigative assistant, where she meets Mr. Jackaby, a private investigator with a keen eye for the extraordinary and supernatural. Abigail is adept in noticing ordinary but important details, a skill that gets her the job of Jackaby’s assistant.

On her first day she finds herself in the midst of a murder scene. A serial killer is on the loose and the police believe it to be an ordinary villain, whereas Jackaby is certain that it’s a nonhuman creature. The only thing certain is that there are powerful, vicious creatures at work and Jackaby and Abigail have to stop them.

What parents need to know:

  • Light horror
  • A little bit of violence with gunshots, blows and blood

12. Turtles All The Way Down by John Green


Turtles All The Way Down by John GreenBuy-Now

In this book, John Green tells the story of a 16-year-old girl called Aza Holmes living in Indianapolis. Aza is battling with obsessive compulsive disorder, intrusive and disturbing thoughts and acute anxiety. Her alarming thoughts make her feel disconnected from herself and the present. Amidst all this, a local billionaire from Indianapolis goes missing and the police offer a reward of $100,000 for any information on his whereabouts.

This man is the father of Davis, her elementary school friend. Aza’s father and Davis’ mother die when they were little, and they bond over the shared grief of losing a parent. Daisy, Aza’s best friend comes from a low income family and she cajoles her to play the detective, find the billionaire and get back in touch with Davis. When she meets Davis again, they revive a bond that thrills and terrifies Aza and she’s constantly torn between her perspective and others’.

What parents need to know:

  • Addresses the issue of teen cancer and mental illness
  • There is strong language
  • The sexual content is brief but strong

13. Virals, Book 1 by Kathy Reichs

a href=”https://www.momjunction.com/articles/best-toys-for-five-six-seven-year-old-girls_00390042/”>
Virals Book 1 by Kathy ReichsBuy-Now

Tony Brennan is a teenager who moves to Morris Island, a secluded island off the coast of South Carolina. She has three best friends who are as nerdy as her and together, they call themselves “sci-phies”. The four teens bond over their mutual interest in science and the woods. One day, the group discovers the skeleton of a girl who went missing in 1969.

They then rescue a dog caged for medical testing at the Loggerhead Island Research Institute and gets exposed to an experimental strain of canine parvovirus. It alters their DNA and makes them hypersensitive and gives them superhuman power. To solve the mystery and save their own lives, the teens will have to figure out how to use their powers, or lose everything.

What parents need to know:

  • Realistic description and forensic terminology
  • Light violence and consumerism
  • Scenes of bullying

14. Shelter by Harlan Coben


Shelter by Harlan CobenBuy-Now

Mickey Bolitar witnesses a car crash that kills his father and puts his mother in rehab. He’s forced to live with his uncle Myron and go to a new high school. The school gives Mickey a great new girlfriend, Ashley. For a while, it seems his life is finally changing for the better, until Ashley vanishes without any trace.

Mickey vows to unveil the truth and in his quest he witnesses a seedy world where truth seems to be far from what he knows; where Ashley isn’t who she claimed to be and neither was his father. He learns about a conspiracy that leaves him questioning everything about the life he thought he knew.

What parents need to know:

  • Violence
  • Solution to the central puzzle involves Holocaust and human trafficking

15. The Clockwork Scarab, Book 1 by Colleen Gleason


The Clockwork Scarab Book 1 by Colleen GleasonBuy-Now

The story is set in a steampunk 1880s London where Alvermina Holmes, Sherlock’s niece and Evaline Stoker, sister of Bram, receive a summons. The belles of London society are getting killed at an alarming rate and the Crown Princess wants these two girls to investigate. They are left with just one clue: a clockwork scarab found near the dead bodies. The stakes are high. If Mina and Evaline cannot unravel the mystery behind the deaths, they’ll become the next target.

What parents need to know:

  • It is a vampire fiction
  • Includes recurring scenes of a vampire attacking his prey
  • Many girls of the society meet a violent end
  • A scene of opium party

16. Paper Towns by John Green


Paper Towns by John GreenBuy-Now

Quentin Jacobsen lives next door to Margo- who’s amazing, adventurous, an enigma and the teen goddess of the town. Jacobsen has been in love with her since elementary school. And in high school, she mostly ignores him. A few weeks before graduation, she enters his life through his window and leads him to an all-nighter playing pranks. The next day he’s back to school only to find that Margo is missing. But there are clues meant for him, which he pursues to find her.

What parents need to know:

  • Teen language and sexual references
  • The main characters sneak out at night to play pranks, including vandalism without any repercussions

17. The Edge of Nowhere, Book 1 by Elizabeth George

The Edge of Nowhere Book 1 by Elizabeth GeorgeBuy-Now

Becca can hear “whispers”- thoughts of other people. She eventually discovers the crimes committed by her stepfather and is now on the run. Her mother sends her off on a boat to Whidbey Island in Seattle, to find a better home. She’s cut off from her mother and all support, and ends up alone and stranded. Soon she’s befriended by a Ugandan named Derric and Seth, a kind-hearted musician.

But because of her abilities, she soon discovers herself snared in a mystery that is straining and constricting her new friendships and puts her in danger.

What parents need to know:

  • No violence
  • Becca’s mother pesters her about her weight – importance given to weight watching
  • By the end of the book, she has a beautiful figure due to regular bike rides and circumstances where getting food is difficult. This may not be a nice message for teens concerned with body image.

Mystery makes the mind work and that fosters imagination and creative thinking. And it is a genre that can get anyone hooked to reading. But mystery books are not always about police officers or detectives solving crimes. The books we talk about here feature teen sleuths and spies, which make them all the more appealing to your kids, and even you. So go and get them!

What is your teen’s favorite mystery book? What was your favorite mystery book as a teen? Let us know in the comments section below.

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