#48 TRENDING IN Books & Writing 🔥

Outgrown Nancy Drew? Here's 5 YA Novels That Delve Right Back Into Teenage Detectives

Books & Writing

July 31, 2023

Literature often allows us to imagine ourselves in scenarios we don't find ourselves in, in our daily lives. It's an outlet for our wildest dreams and desires, something we wouldn't normally voice---like being caught up in a murder mystery, a money-laundering scheme, or just being the person the world's fate hinges on.

In childhood, the novels of the likes of Nancy Drew, Famous Five and the Hardy Boys provided an escape, a thrill, the adrenaline of reading about peers your age doing extraordinary things. Now, most of us have probably outgrown our reading material, but the expanse of the sea of young-adult novels centred around teenage characters is vast and deep. Here are 5 of them:

1) A Good Girl's Guide to Murder series by Holly Jackson

(Includes #1 A Good Girl's Guide to Murder, #2 Good Girl, Bad Blood and #3 As Good As Dead): Following 17-year-old Pippa Fitz-Amobi in the town of Little Kilton during her final years at high-school and then during college, A Good Girl's Guide to Murder is the story of a how one podcast changes the lives of everyone around Pippa, and especially those no longer present. Exploring three harrowing stories throughout the series, the plot covers everything from murderers to rapists, all haunting the once-innocent Little Kilton.

In the end, it is a story of love, loss, betrayal, revenge and how one curious girl solves what nobody could, all while trying to retain herself.

Photo credits: Amazon

2) One of Us Is Lying series by Karen M. McManus

(Includes #1 One of Us Is Lying and #2 One of Us Is Next): Bringing together four drastically different and unapologetically unique characters of Nate Macauley, Brownyn Rojas, Addy Prentiss and Cooper Clay, One of Us Is Lying is a story of how the lives of these four teenagers become irrevocably tangled as they witness death at its rawest. As the noise of law enforcement, college admissions and entities from beyond the grave catches up to them, 'The Bayview Four' have to figure out for themselves what happened on that day in detention, and who it is that is trying to frame them.

Its sequel, One of Us Is Next, although set in the same universe with the same background characters and cameos from the core four, does not focus on their lives, but rather on three others living in Bayview, stuck once again amid murder and mayhem. Maeve Rojas, Knox Myers, and Phoebe Lawton find themselves in the middle of a deadly game of Truth and Dare, and once bodies start piling up, they know that they have to figure out who is trying to imitate the events of last year.

McManus's ability to develop the plot with an array of characters, each with their own quirks, flaws and lies, proves her to be a great open-era writer, from the likes of Chrisite's ensemble characters.

Photo credits: Flipkart

3) The Enola Holmes Mysteries series by Nancy Springer

(Includes #1 The Case of the Missing Marquess, #2 The Case of the Left-Handed Lady, #3 The Case of the Bizarre Bouquets, #4 The Case of the Peculiar Pink Fan, #5 The Case of the Cryptic Crinoline, #6 The Case of the Gypsy Goodbye, #7 Enola Holmes and the Black Barouche and #8 Enola Holmes and the Elegant Escapade): Enola Holmes, 14, sister to world-renowned Sherlock Holmes, and Mycroft Holmes. When their mother disappears, Enola's much-older brothers decide to send her to a finishing school against her will.

Instead, with the aid of her mother, who had provided hidden funds and an elaborate cypher for her daughter to communicate with her, Enola runs away to London, where she establishes a clandestine private detective career specializing in missing person investigations. From here begins an eight-book adventure that covers everything from missing royalty to missing homeowners.

Photo credits: Amazon

4) I Killed Zoe Spanos by Kit Frick

An electrifying, psychological thriller about two girls who've never known each other before, but whose lives are so inevitably connected, twisted together by a disappearance, a murder, and a confession of manslaughter. Anna Ciconi arrived at the small Hamptons village of Herron Mills, with beautiful coral landscapes, for a seemingly simple summer job of babysitting.

Instead, she finds herself in town on the edge because of the disappearance of local-girl Zoe Spanos, who bears a seemingly eerie resemblance to Anna. What takes place in the coming months is a chase for the truth riddled with inaccuracies and loopholes and a murder podcast that brings it all together.

Photo credits: Goodreads

5) They Wish They Were Us by Jessica Goodman

On the Gold Coast, Long Island, everything from the expensive downtown shops to the manicured beaches, to the pressed uniforms of Jill Newman and her friends, looks perfect. But as Jill found out three years ago, nothing is as it seems.

Now, with a dead best friend, a guilty boyfriend, a senior year and a not-so-secret secret society, Jill once again has to figure out what really happened that night on the beach when someone starts asking questions she doesn't have answers to. A pristine infusion of Gossip Girl and Netflix's Elite, as Elle said, this prep-school thriller has it all: plaid skirts, secret societies, and a gripping murder mystery, but paired with an adept critique of the powers and privileges that goeth before the fall.

Photo credits: Amazon

These 5 YA novels retain their flavour of flawed, brave, and lost teenagers grappling with being thrown out of their depth, but with the taste of gore, blood, and some good old-fashioned mystery.

Jassimmrat Kaur Bhatia
1,000+ pageviews

Writer since Apr, 2023 · 4 published articles

Jassimmrat is an aspiring literature and history major, currently 16 and finishing her sophomore year at high school. In her free time, she enjoys reading and writing, along with a keen interest in theatre and dance. She is an outspoken feminist, working towards creating a world without discrimination.