YA - It Starts With A Body

YA + murder mystery = fast-paced plots without a bunch of existential fluff. We bit off our fingernails reading these books & series, even if they don't ACTUALLY start with a body.

Updated December 1, 2023
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Family of liars
Lockhart, E.
#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER * The addictive prequel to the TikTok phenomenon We Were Liars: the story of another summer, another generation--and the secrets that will haunt them for decades to come.   "I anticipated that at some point a shocking twist would...
A good girl's guide to murder
Jackson, Holly
THE MUST-READ MULTIMILLION BESTSELLING MYSTERY SERIES * Everyone is talking about A Good Girl's Guide to Murder! With shades of Serial and Making a Murderer this is the story about an investigation turned obsession, full of twists and turns and with an ending you'll never expect. ...
Grown : a novel
Jackson, Tiffany D.
An instant New York Times bestseller! "Grown exposes the underbelly of a tough conversation, providing a searing examination of misogynoir, rape culture, and the vulnerability of young black girls. Groundbreaking, heart-wrenching, and essential reading for all in the #MeToo era." --Dhonielle...
The hollow inside
Davis, Brooke Lauren
Sadie meets The Glass Castle in a smart, gripping, and twisty YA debut about a girl seeking to reveal the truth about her mother-and herself. Seventeen-year-old Phoenix has spent much of her life drifting from town to town with her mom Nina, using their charms to...

Local author alert! Phoenix's mom dumps her in the town where she (the mom) grew up to seek revenge... but on who, exactly? For what?

I hunt killers
Lyga, Barry.
The first book in this thrilling, terrifying series by New York Times bestselling author Barry Lyga is perfect for fans of Dexter. It was a beautiful day. It was a beautiful field. Except for the body. Jazz is a likable teenager. A charmer,...

This oldie was a perennial favorite in my school library, and it features one of the best opening paragraphs in the world.

Monday's not coming
Jackson, Tiffany D.
"Jackson's characters and their heart-wrenching story linger long after the final page, urging readers to advocate for those who are disenfranchised and forgotten by society and the system." (Publishers Weekly, "An Anti-Racist Children's and YA Reading List") From the...

Claudia's best friend goes missing and NO ONE seems to care: not school, not Claudia's family, not the police, and definitely not Monday's family. What happens when the person you're closest to becomes a missing person that no one else seems to miss? Tiffany Jackson is one of the most talented thriller writers out there, regardless of which subgenre she chooses.

One of us is lying
McManus, Karen M.
#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER * NAMED ONE OF THE TEN BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY * BUZZFEED * POPCRUSH "Pretty Little Liars meets The Breakfast Club" (Entertainment Weekly) in this addictive mystery about what happens when five strangers...

I realize I am probably the only person in the whole world who didn't love this book. But since I am the only one, that means YOU WILL!

Truly devious
Johnson, Maureen
Something is wrong at Ellingham Academy: Its murderous past won't stay in the past. Ellingham Academy is the famous private school in Vermont where the brightest thinkers, inventors, and artists who will change the world are admitted for two years before college. Shortly...

I love this series (three in a proper trilogy, then two more standalones) for the level of detail and some great red herrings for each new body.

We were liars
Lockhart, E.
#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER * A modern, sophisticated suspense novel from National Book Award finalist, and Printz Award honoree E. Lockhart. Don't miss the #1 New York Times bestselling prequel, Family of Liars. A beautiful and distinguished family.

Cadence is one of the cousins in a perfect, wealthy family who is clearly hiding something weird this summer on their annual trip. Check out the equally good but very different prequel, Family of Liars, too.

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