13 Chilling YA Books Like 'Riverdale' To Read In Between Watching New Episodes
Before the Riverdale TV show premiered on The CW back in Jan. 2017, I assumed that the show would be an updated take on the wholesome, classic, earnest Archie comics series that began in 1939. Let's just say: I was very, very wrong about that. See, while the show takes its character names and locations from the old-school comics, the similarities pretty much end there. If you're a fan of Riverdale, you'll know that the show opens with a mystery: The recent tragic death of Jason Blossom, the twin brother of beautiful and popular troublemaker, Cheryl.
So while we still get that classic love triangle between Archie, Betty and Veronica, Jughead's quirky personality, and visits to Pop's diner for burgers and milkshakes, we also get some seriously eerie cinematography, complicated friendships, deadly secrets, and tons of mysterious goings-on. If you just can't get enough of Riverdale, I've got some other chilling YA stories to tide you over between episodes. If spooky small towns, high school murder mysteries, revenge plots, supernaturally handsome guys and kickass girls — oh, and some supremely steamy romances thrown in here and there, of course — these are the books you'll want to pick up between your many marathon watches.
'One Of Us Is Lying' by Karen McManus
This ensemble mystery opens with five high school students — Bronwyn, Addy, Nate, Cooper, and Simon — in afternoon detention. But Simon never makes it out. The other four become the main suspects in his murder, but did one of them do it? Or is the real killer still on the loose?
'A Study in Charlotte' by Brittany Cavallero
In this classic school-set mystery, which takes inspiration from Sherlock Holmes, follows Jamie Watson and Charlotte Holmes who are accused of murder when one of their fellow students turns up dead. They band together to clear their names but as danger mounts they realize nowhere is safe — and the only people they can trust are each other.
'The Raven Boys' by Maggie Stiefvater
Atmospheric small town, supernaturally handsome boys, consuming romance, mysterious spookiness — The Raven Boys has got it all. When Blue meets Gansey, a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school, she soon becomes drawn into his strange and sinister world. She'd always vowed to stay away from Aglionby boys, known as Raven Boys, but now she's not so sure.
'Tiny Pretty Things' by Sona Charaipotra & Dhonielle Clayton
Tiny Pretty Things will give you the same feels of complicated high school relationships as Riverdale — love triangles, outsiders, and backstabbing, both figurative and literal — but this one is set in a ballet school where students Gigi, Bette and June are all vying for the top spot.
'Bone Gap' by Laura Ruby
Bone Gap is basically the YA queen of creepy small towns. When Roza went missing, the people of Bone Gap weren’t surprised. After all, it wasn’t the first time that someone had slipped away. But Finn knows she was kidnapped, ripped from the cornfields by a man whose face he cannot remember. But when the searches turn up nothing, no one believes him.
'A Good Idea' by Cristina Moracho
A Good Idea is a scary, super gritty take on the teen murder mystery. It follows Fin, the year after his best friend Betty has disappeared. He vows to find out what really happened to her, but his coastal Maine town is full of secrets, and Fin's not the only one with an agenda.
'Sawkill Girls' by Claire LeGrand
A spooky small town, badass teens, and one super creepy mystery make up Claire Legrand's Sawkill Girls. On the beautiful island of Sawkill Rock, girls have been disappearing for decades, stolen away by a ravenous evil no one has dared to fight… until now.
'Burn for Burn' by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian
If you want some campy backstabbing, steamy romance, and decidedly creepy goings-on, Burn for Burn is set on postcard-perfect Jar Island, where three girls — Kat, Lillia, and Mary — have banded together to act out their darkest revenge fantasies on everyone who has wronged them.
'The Female of the Species' by Mindy McGinnis
If you want gut-churning mystery and small-town atmosphere, you've got it with The Female of the Species. This one follows Alex, who took revenge after her sister's murderer walked free. Now a senior in high school, her dark nature breaks out, setting her and two other classmates on a collision course that will change their lives forever.
'The Perfectionists' by Sara Shepard
The comparisons between Pretty Little Liars and Riverdale are plentiful, so it only makes sense that you'd want to pick up another of book by PLL author Sarah Shepard. This one follows four girls who come up with a plan to murder a classmate that has wronged them. They never intend to go through with it, but when he turns up dead in the exact way they imagined, they vow to find the real killer.
'Trouble Is A Friend Of Mine' by Stephanie Tromly
If more classic who-dun-its are what you're after, you'll love Trouble is a Friend of Mine. It follows Zoe Webster, who is dragged into enemy Philip Digby's many hilarious and dangerous schemes, all related to the kidnapping of a local teenage girl and possibly connected to the disappearance of his little sister.
'We Were Liars' by E. Lockhart
We Were Liars has the same eerie atmosphere and large ensemble cast as Riverdale, with an extra mind-bending twist. It follows a distinguished family who live on a beautiful private island, and the dark secrets that threaten to turn their world upside down.
'Allegedly' by Tiffany D. Jackson
If you're looking for the same dark mystery vibes of Riverdale but with a more diverse cast of characters, Allegedly follows Mary, who was accused of murdering a baby when she was nine-years-old. Now a teen with her own baby on the way, Mary must find the voice to fight her past.