10 2016 YA Thrillers That Will Chill You

by Caitlin White

If you prefer to get your goosebumps from thriller YA books than a romance, 2016 is a great year for you as a reader. Young adult authors, it seems, have decided on a mission to take you on a roller-coaster ride of mysteries, chills, and thrills through so many great books that have already been released or are coming this year. (Prepare your calendar for many circled dates, ahead.)

Whether they include hints of the supernatural and the paranormal or are bone-chilling stories set in today's real world, these 2016 YA thrillers will do the trick if you're looking for a book that you start and barely look up as you frantically flip pages until the finish. There are secrets, crimes, eerie settings, and unreliable narrators galore, perfect for getting lost in the pages. Whether their thrills lean toward mystery, action, or horror, just ensure you have the lights turned on before you crack the cover and delve into these books.

If you pack these 10 YA thriller books in your suitcase for your vacation plans this year, just get ready that you're going to wish your plane ride was just a little bit longer, so you can finish the next chapter. And maybe don't start them right before bed, unless you plan to show up to class or work bleary eyed and sleepless from staying up all night reading.

1. The Darkest Corners by Kara Thomas

BFFs Tessa and Callie were having a sleepover when their babysitter, Callie's cousin Lori, was murdered, and as kids they were the star witnesses that locked up Wyatt Stokes for the crime. But years later, Tessa returns to her hometown, here Callie never left, and they start to question their memories of that fateful night — did they really see what they said they did? The Darkest Corners takes so many twists you'll be flipping the pages at record speed to keep up as the tension builds in a slow boil.

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2. The May Queen Murders by Sarah Jude

Coming May 3 (appropriately) The May Queen Murders transports readers to Rowan’s Glen, a remote farming community in the Missouri Ozarks, that hides more secrets than its residents even know. Sure, the townspeople know the rules — stay on the roads, don’t enter the woods, and never go out at night — but do they know of the monsters that hide in the shadows? Ivy loves Rowan's Glen and her best friend, her cousin Heather. But when Heather goes missing post-May Queen celebration, the suspense kicks up and you'll be enthralled into the town's mysteries just as Ivy is.

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3. A Darkly Beating Heart by Lindsay Smith

OK I'm sorry for introducing this one to you and then saying it's not coming until October 25, but this unique thriller is one to wait for. Mixing a time-travel story with a psychological suspense story, Lindsay Smith's A Darkly Beating Heart centers on the troubled Reiko who feels a darkness inside her. But things only get wilder when her parents sends her to Japan stay with her family there and to learn to control her emotions. It's there that Reiko starts to slip in time, seeing herself in the body and mind of a woman named Miyuin 19th century Japan, realizing that Miyuin may have more darkness than even herself.

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4. The Leaving by Tara Altebrando

Six children disappeared on their way to kindergarten, and eleven years later, five of them come back, remembering nothing of the past 11 years. As a town welcomes them home, they also have questions: Where is Max? Where is the sixth child? Meanwhile, the kids themselves, now teenagers struggle to adjust to their eerily familiar surroundings with no memory of where they have been or what they were doing. As the town and the children start to uncover hidden memories and secrets, so do the readers, and you won't be able to stop turning the pages. You'll have to wait until June, so try to contain yourself.

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5. Shallow Graves by Kali Wallace

Murder, paranormal, ghouls, and cults — Shallow Graves has it all and more. Breezy was murdered when she was 17, but she wakes up a year later in a shallow grave with special powers. She can sense who is a killer, and she can touch them and kill them in a way that looks like a natural death. When she does, she inherits their memories of murder. A mysterious cult leader seems to know Breezy's secret, and meanwhile, Breezy flashes back to before her murder to discover how and why she was killed.

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6. How to Disappear by Ann Redisch Stampler

When "good girl" Nicolette Holland goes on the run, is it because she witnessed a murder or because she committed it? The Manx family, whose patriarch was a notorious hitman, is pretty sure she committed it. Now straight-laced Jack Manx has been pulled into the family business and sent to hunt her down. The result is a thrilling cat-and-mouse game, where we readers aren't quite sure who to trust.

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7. The Creeper Man by Dawn Kurtagich

When Silla and her little sister, Nori, escape their abusive father and move into their Aunt Cath's country house, they think they can finally find some peace. But this is just the start of Dawn Kurtagich's psychological thriller that will make you read with every house light on. The forest around Cath's house seems to inch closer to them every day, and Nori claims that she knows a man with no eyes is watching over them from the trees. I'm getting too scared even typing this, so I can't even wait until July, when it hits shelves.

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8. Never Missing, Never Found by Amanda Panitch

Scarlett was kidnapped when she was a young girl, forced to work as a maid in a brothel with another girl named Pixie. She but she managed to escape, but Pixie was left behind. Now, as a teenager, she is trying to live an average life, working a summer job at an amusement park. When another girl in town goes missing, and she encounters a coworker that oddly reminds her of Pixie, Scarlett's memories start to flash back and she starts to wonder if her escape put an entire series of events in motion.

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9. Girl Last Seen by Heather Anastasiu and Anne Greenwood Brown

Girl Last Seen is an eerie tale of a dark friendships that twists all over the place and keeps readers guessing. Kady and Lauren are BFF, and together they show off their singing talents in YouTube videos watched by a legion of fans. When Lauren is struck by a throat infection, Kady performs solo at a coffee shop. That night, Kady goes missing. It's revealed that the two girls had a falling out over a boy, and Lauren becomes suspect No. 1 in her disappearance. But so much more comes to light as the authors weave Kady and Lauren's POV, along with the perspectives of various secondary characters, through the story.

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10. With Malice by Eileen Cook

On a class trip to Italy, a fatal car accident takes Simone McIvory's life. Her best friend Jill Charon wakes up in a hospital bed with no memory of the accident, of even traveling to Italy, but she has been charged with murder for being behind the wheel. In a story that blurs memory with reality, perception with truth, readers hear stories of the accident via police transcripts, social media posts, and episodes of a Dateline-like crime show. All the while, we follow Jill as she tries to recover her memories so she, and we as readers, can learn what truly happened the night of the accident. This one will hit shelves June 7, and it will for sure be a go-to read for your summer vacations.

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Image: Nicole Mason/Unsplash