Books For Every Wannabe Sleuth

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Top Ten Tuesday, as  always, is hosted at my other blog — The Broke & the Bookish

This week’s topic: Top Ten Books For Every X — I’m choosing for every wannabe sleuth!

I loooove a good mystery because I love being a very active reader. I’m constantly guessing at whodunit and why and changing my mind. I’m always writing down my theories throughout the course of the books and looking for every hidden meaning or significant thing. ERBODY IS A SUSPECT.

I was always pretty sure with all the Nancy Drew books I read as a kid that I was bound to live a life of a great sleuth but alas….not where my adulthood led me. So I love to get my sleuth on when it comes to books.

Here’s my top ten (mostly) YA books for wannabe sleuths (aka mysteries that kept me guessing and feeling like the wannabe sleuth that I am)


the fixer Jennifer Lynn Barnes

1. The Fixer by Jennifer Lynn Barnes: The pitch for this book was Scandal meets Veronica Mars and I think fans of both will be pretty pleased with that!

Also Known As
2. Also Known As by Robin Benway: A fun teen spy book that brings some good mystery elements! It’s funny and has a cute romance, too!

these shallow graves cover
3. These Shallow Graves by Jennifer Donnelly: If you like historical mysteries, this one is sure to fit the bill in which the main character is trying to uncover the true cause of her father’s death which was ruled an accident but she soon finds out was actually a murder.


The Walls Around Us book cover
4. The Walls Around Us by Nova Ren Suma: If you like your mystery with a side of WTF…get on this one.


Liars, Inc. by Paula stokes
5. Liars Inc by Paula Stokes: Getting pegged as the killer for your best friend’s murder? If that sounds like fun to you, pick up this fast-paced thriller of a mystery.


Far From You Tess Sharpe
6. Far From You by Tess Sharpe: If you aren’t so much into genre mystery but wouldn’t mind a contemporary YA about a girl who is the only person that doesn’t think her best friend’s murder was random then I think this one is a good one. There’s great characterization and I loved how the two best friends relationship is unraveled through the “past” narrative.


Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas
7. Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas: OMG if you like messed up twisty mystery/thrillers a la Gone Girl — this needs to be in your hands!! The sleuth in me was going nuts with this one.


Pretty Girl-13 by Liz Coley
8. Pretty Girl-13 by Liz Coley: If you like a good psychological mystery/thriller in which you are right along side the main character, who can’t remember the circumstances of her kidnapping or where she was for the past 3 years, trying to figure out what happened then you may like this one! Your brain feels like it might explode trying to figure it out!


The Body Finder series
9. The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting: If you like some supernatural goodness with your mystery, this series was super fun following along with a teen who can hear the echoes of the dead and tries to solve their murders.


Blackberry Winter
10. Blackberry Winter by Sarah Jio: My sole adult recommendation on the list but I had to because I don’t feel like I talk about this one enough! A newspaper reporter, in present day, learns about an unsolved mystery from the 1930’s related to an event she’s supposed to cover and she sets out to solve it.



So tell me…what books do you think every wannabe sleuth should read for a good armchair mystery to solve?? I’m always looking for mystery recs!

mystery books for teens10 books for mystery lovers
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About Jamie

Jamie is a 32 year old married lady (with a new baby!!) who is in denial that she's actually that old to be a married lady and a mom. When she's not reading you can find her doing Pilates followed by eating ice cream, belting out Hamilton (loud and offkey) and having adventures with her husband, daughter and rescue dog.


  1. I haven’t really heard of any of these before, but I am rather fond of mysteries. I might have to add some to my summer TBR list!

  2. Fantastic list Jamie. I absolutely adored Dangerous Girls. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed it. I really need to read Liars Inc! Thanks for the reminder!

  3. Great picks! All of these are on my tbr! 🙂

  4. The Body Finder just gives me shivers to think about, it is so tense and terrifying.

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  5. I have a few of these on my TBR pile waiting to be picked up and this makes me want to dive in sooner rather than later. After just watching some Elementary I have the urge for a good mystery/sleuth tale. My Top Ten

    • Ooh I need to watch Elementary. I’ve been LOVING Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries which has made me crave some mysteries to read!

  6. I wanted to read Liars Inc., nice to be reminded of it. And Dangerous girls sounds good, I like a good twisty mystery. 🙂

  7. The cover for ‘These Shallow Graves’ is soooo pretty.

  8. Not read any of these — I’ve never been a massive mystery fan so it takes a bit to get me to pick one up. BUT I love (A LOT) JK Rowling’s Cormoran Strike books — I’ve read the first two and can’t wait to read the third! I also love the Leo Demidov trilogy by Tom Rob Smith (again I’ve read the first two, anyone would think I had a series-finishing problem, pfft, no I don’t). They are mysteries set in Russia under Stalin in the 50s. Leo is a KGB officer disillusioned (in secret, of course) with the Communist government. I’m really interested in Russian history and the murder mysteries are A*.

  9. I’m definitely saving this post. I love a good mystery and should have been an amateur sleuth in my other life. I have a few of these on my Kindle and had forgotten that I wanted to read a few others on your list. Thanks for the reminder!

    • I’m glad it was helpful! And oh man I always forget about books and then see them on someone’s blog like OMG YES I WANTED TO READ THAT

  10. Deb Nance at Readerbuzz says:

    I’m horrible at figuring out mysteries, but I love to read a good one every now and then. Thank you!

  11. I love a good YA mystery and the one’s on your list I’ve read, I have loved. Especially The Walls Around Us and Dangerous Girls. Both of those blew my mind at the end and I love when that happens. Great list!

  12. I adored These Shallow Graves – it was so good. Another one I love is the Every Series by Ellie Marney – she is an Australian author and her trio is sherlock holmes inspired and it’s perfect.

  13. This list is PERFECT for me because I’m always looking for good YA Mysteries… especially lately. Thanks for reminding me about The Body Finder series. Someone recommended that to me years ago and I completely forgot about it. Plus I’m totally into reading backlist right now 🙂

  14. I just went on a tear reading Louise Penny’s Three Pines mysteries. The writing is gorgeous and the mystery is always perfectly twisty. The setting is a small village in Quebec and the main cast of characters – especially the lead one, Inspector Gamache – are so wonderful, you’ll fall in love. Also, the way she writes about food will make you wish you could go to Olivier and Gabri’s bistro, too! I read all 12 in the last year and would recommend reading them in order as there are not only individual stories but a couple of overarching ones. HIGHLY recommend!

  15. I love love love Blackberry Winter, but I still haven’t read anything else by Sarah Jio. I’ll need to fix that 🙂

  16. Yes! Yes to your topic and yes to every book you mentioned (there’s only a few I haven’t already read, but they’re on my TBR shelves already so I think that counts)! I love The Fixer and Far From You.

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  17. Awesome list!! I love mysteries and haven’t read any of these. A few are already on my TBR list, but most of them are new to me. I’ll have to check them out on goodreads. Thanks for sharing!!

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  18. What a fun topic! I haven’t read any of these yet, but I’ll be adding some of them to my TBR list.

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    • Yay hope you enjoy the ones you get to! And I see your list is about NA books so I’ll be saving that because I need to be better read in that genre!

  19. OOoh nice topic!! And picks!! Only one I’ve read and adored was The Body Finder!!

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    Old Follower 🙂

  20. I agree withe The Fixer, it was enjoyable and that big twist at the end got me!

  21. Great list! I adore mysteries – so looking forward to The Long Game!

  22. I don’t tend to read a lot of mysteries, but I added Far From You to my wishlist, and I already had Pretty Girl-13 on my list apparenlty! I’m sure I’ve read many books that have mystery elements, but I can only think of two — Losing Logan by Sherry Ficklin (which I LOVED — has a ghost aspect) and All the Glory: How Jason Bradley Went From Hero To Zero in Ten Seconds Flat by Elle Casey.

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  23. This is a fantastic list! I’m actually on a mystery binge at the moment. Definitely going to be adding these to my TBR list. Thanks!

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  24. These Shallow Graves is like my favorite thing ever! I found the mystery part quite obvious but the characters and the writing and the romance made me fall in love! :’)

  25. I really like The Girl is Murder by Kathryn Miller Haines, which is a YA book that reminded me a bit of Veronica Mars, but is set in the 40s. I think there’s a whole series but I only read the first one.

  26. Lena Marsteller says:

    Far from You, is one of my fave mystery novels and fave girl relationships ever!!!! I also love Nancy Drew books, which was how I got back into reading during middle school. 🙂