Thrillers

  • Teen Horror Skull 

    If you love the suspense and spine-tingling, slow-burn of horror books, you need to know about the treasure trove of horror in Young Adult (YA). These books are just as convoluted, smart, and terrifying, but they just happen to be on the YA shelves. If you are looking for something horrifyingly new to read, why not check out these YA Horror books.

    10.23 Blood CountessBLOOD COUNTESS
    By Lana Popović
    (2020)

    The is a classic example Gothic Horror novel with some modern sensibilities. You follow sixteen-year old Anna into the alluring world of the Countess Elizabeth. Anna starts out as a lowly scullery maid, but then she is noticed and elevated to the rank of chambermaid. But as Anna is drawn closer and closer to the stunning and clever Countess, she finds that the Countess can be as cruel as she has been kind. The atmosphere of the book is very romantic; the reader is drawn slowly into a web of darkly forbidden love. It also has some serious REBECCA by Daphne Du Maurier vibes.   

     

    10.23 Wilder GirlsWILDER GIRLS
    By Rory Power
    (2019)

    One of the great things about the Horror genre is that is mixes well will other genres. For example, this novel is a mixture of horror and quarantine survival story. Something is not right at the Raxter School for Girls. A mysterious illness threatens them from the outside. Since the Tox hit the mainland, the tiny island that the school is on is quarantined. Now the teachers are dying one by one and something is wrong with some of the students. When her best friend Byatt goes missing, Hetty is determined to find her, even if it means breaking quarantine.The writing style of this author is gritty and lush. The characterizations are compelling and drive the plot. It also has some bite-your-hand scary twists in it.

     

    10.23 Dreaming DarklyDREAMING DARKLY
    By Caitlin Kittridge
    (2019)

    This is another Gothic Horror novel with an unreliable narrator and a mysterious uncle who lives on a small island in New England. Ivy has never known a home. She has never been able to trust her mother. She doesn’t even know who her father was. When Ivy’s mother dies, Ivy is sent to live with a rich uncle she has never known or met. Ivy soon discovers many family secrets including a string of mysterious murders. But then one night she awakens from a nightmare covered in someone else’s blood. This intricately plotted story has a super creepy and menacing atmosphere.

     

    10.23 Here There Are MonstersHERE THERE ARE MONSTERS
    By Amelinda Bérubé
    (2019)

    Sometimes Horror spills over into fantasy, the kind that includes monsters, dark forests, and mind games. This book is super atmospheric, meaning that the language is very descriptive with lavish depictions of the world the author is building. This is particularly important in this novel because Skye and her sister Diedre have moved across the country and now live next to a deep, dark woods. Skye is able to acclimate to the new town and school, but Diedre withdraws from everyone and starts spending a lot of time exploring the woods and building stone and stick faces on the ground. When Diedre disappears, Skye must confront her deepest secrets and make a deal with a horrifying creature who promises the help her find her sister.This has a very PAN'S LABYRINTH feeling to it. Think dark creatures, a desperate attempt to save a sister, and having to face the monsters that reside inside of us all. 

     
  • Woman Holding Shard of Glass

    There’s something about unreliable female narrators. Bestselling thrillers are chock-full of them.

    Obsession, addiction, self-destruction, and mental illness combine in characters who make you question your own understanding of the plot. Their dark, twisty stories leave readers hurrying through the pages to see if their guesses are correct. Yet they’ve been criticized as undermining real women’s believability in the age of #metoo. More often than not, though, these characters are vindicated and ultimately proven trustworthy, which may undercut that critique.

    So what do you think? If you enjoy thrillers from this complicated perspective, here are a few of the most popular options:

    7.5 The Girl on the TrainTHE GIRL ON THE TRAIN
    By Paula Hawkins
    (2015)

    Rachel Watson is a recently unemployed woman who drinks heavily to deal with the collapse of her marriage. Her only solace comes in gazing out train windows, spying on the people whose homes she passes. When Rachel wakes from a blackout one morning, bloody and injured, she discovers to her horror that one of those people, a young woman she had been fascinated with, has gone missing.

     

    7.5 Gone GirlGONE GIRL
    By Gillian Flynn
    (2012)

    When beautiful, talented Amy Dunne goes missing, suspicion quickly falls on her husband, Nick. The story initially alternates between Nick’s perspective and Amy’s diary entries, and readers gradually discover that neither character is quite what they first appear. This massive bestseller was later adapted in a 2013 award winning film, and Rosamund Pike received an Oscar nomination for her depiction of Amy.

     

    7.5 The Woman in the WindowTHE WOMAN IN THE WINDOW
    By A.J. Finn
    (2018)

    This recent bestseller is Rear Window meets Gone Girl. Anna Fox is certain she’s witnessed a murder in the house across the street. Has the new neighbor murdered his wife? But when detectives arrive and begin to investigate, Anna’s story crumbles. The wife is alive and well, while agoraphic Anna appears increasingly unstable.A film adaptation starring Amy Adams is due out this fall, but the author’s own backstory is full of enough twists, turns, and lies for a movie of its own.

     

    7.5 The Wife Between UsTHE WIFE BETWEEN US
    By Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen
    (2018)

    Honestly, The Wife Between Us might have too many twists and turns, but they’re ones I never saw coming. Vanessa, a woman left barely functional after her divorce from Richard, is obsessed with getting in contact with his new girlfriend. The novel rotates between Vanessa’s perspective and depicting Richard’s relationship with Nellie. This book can be a little confusing if you don’t keep track of the characters and of the twists, so pay close attention as you read. The story isn’t what you think it is.

     

    7.5 An Anonymous GirlAN ANONYMOUS GIRL
    By Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen
    (2019)

    Hendricks and Pekkanen followed up The Wife Between US with a second psychological thriller just a year later. In need of easy money, makeup artist Jessica Farris lies her way into a research study about (ironically enough) ethics. She quickly develops an intense and boundary-crossing doctor-patient relationship with the psychiatrist running the study, Dr. Shields. As the lines between Dr. Shields’s life and her own begin to blur, Jess’s paranoia grows. Is she a patient? Or a pawn?

     

    7.5 Sharp ObjectsSHARP OBJECTS
    By Gillian Flynn
    (2006)

    Of all of these thrillers, Sharp Objects may be the darkest and creepiest. Journalist Camille Preaker has made a life for herself in Chicago, after years of self-harm and destructive choices. When young girls start going missing in Camille’s childhood hometown, her boss insists she report on the case. Returning to Wind Gap and reconnecting with her estranged family bring both Camille’s past and the crimes horrifyingly close.

     

    Interestingly, the female perspectives in nearly all of these novels are voiced by one of two narrators in audiobook form. Julia Whelan voiced GONE GIRL, THE WIFE BETWEEN US, and AN ANONYMOUS GIRL, while Ann Marie Lee narrated THE WOMAN IN THE WINDOW and SHARP OBJECTS. Whelan’s low voice has a disdainful tone perfect for the untrustworthy characters in her respective books, while Lee’s projects her characters’ fragility and uncertainty. If you enjoy audiobooks, be sure to check them out.