the perfect place to die

Collage of YA thriller book covers and author images

YA Meets Thriller: The Perfect Genre Mash-Up

“So many books, so little time” – with that, Frank Zappa surely spoke my mind, and I’m sure that thought resonates with you, too. There are so many “must-read” lists put out each week shortlisting a book or a certain genre, that discovering your next great read can be like trying to find a needle in a haystack. But if you’re looking for something different, something that’s more of a crossover between two genres, why not pick something with the lightheartedness of Young Adult (YA) and the edge-of-the-seat thrill that comes with suspense-driven novels? The next genre you should add to your TBR list is YA thriller.

While YA generally touches upon themes like love and friendship, they also often take us on a journey of self discovery and blooming identity. Thrillers, on the other hand, are plot-driven and usually feature adult characters facing real-life problems. All the elements of the individual genres – like theme mismatch, age opposition, and audience disparity – make it seem impossible to combine the two. “So, why YA thrillers?” you would wonder.

Opposites don’t just attract, they make magic too!

To give you an example, when I was learning to cook, someone with culinary expertise shared a tip with me. They said, “if you want to make something extraordinary, pick two completely unrelated elements, and creatively put them together”. And that’s the magic behind the YA thriller recipe as well. When (seemingly) diametrically opposite genres are married to create a YA thriller, the stark contrast between the two seems to mysteriously vanish. What remains are storylines that will make the audience salivate and beg for more. Perfect example: the Netflix show Stranger Things. Do you know anyone who isn’t obsessed with it?


While today’s YA audience still loves the angsty romance and finding yourself themes, they also crave dark, blood-soaked secrets uncovered through tension-packed storylines. When a young protagonist is thrown in the midst of a crisis that they need to fight their way out of – either physically or mentally – it makes the plot even more compelling. A lot of times we see the main character transition from a lively, spirited teen to someone who’s grim and guarded because of the things that have happened to them. It makes for a much more multi-dimensional character development and storyline.


While adult thrillers certainly have a very loyal audience, readers are increasingly being drawn towards mystery and thrillers that feature younger characters. Authors like Hannah Jayne and Vincent Ralph have flawlessly captured the essence of teenagers that are thrown into circumstances so much bigger than them, and are forced to grow up too soon. While these characters appeal to the younger audience that craves the fear and thrill of a killer read, more mature readers will appreciate the nostalgia of YA thrillers as these books bring about memories of readers’ teenage years.

And because it’s trending!

If you’re always the first one in your circle of friends to try something new and blaze a new trail, you’re definitely a trend setter! No doubt you’re probably a fan of Stranger Things and movie adaptations of blockbuster books like Gone Girl or The Girl on the Train. So it wouldn’t be surprising if you are the first of your friends to jump onto the YA thriller bandwagon! You know that stories featuring younger characters and cryptic, twisted plot lines are where it’s at (as witnessed by the everpopular streaming service Netflix whose TV show line-up is packed to the brim with this genre). Everyone from editors, agents, and even movie directors are touting this genre as one to watch due to its multi-dimensional appeal.

Here’s what Director of the Bent Agency’s U.K. office, Molly Ker Hawn had to say about Karen M. McManus’ 2017 debut One of Us Is Lying:

“One of Us Is Lying was a title I kept hearing foreign publishers say they were doing well with, or wished they’d bought.”

In speaking to the fear element of YA thrillers, Karen M. McManus’ Agent, Rosemary Stimola commented:

“Facing fears and crossing physical, social, cultural, racial, and psychological boundaries, YA novels have come of age—not just reflecting the world, but looking to change it.”


Stimola also noted:

“It is clear that YA thrillers have stepped into a high-market spotlight. Adult readers have begun to cross over, finding the same slow burn suspense and utter shock in pages featuring younger protagonists.”


It’s clear that YA thrillers are here to stay as so many of us crave the thrill of a good suspense novel with an intricately woven plot and characters that feel real. When talking about Jesse Q. Sutanto‘s The Obsession, Kirkus Reviews writes:

“Set against a Northern California private school backdrop, the sensational plot is riddled with twists that come at a furious pace…A suspenseful page-turner.”

While books like 14 Ways To Die, The Girl in the Headlines, Truly, Madly, Deadly, and The Obsession are astoundingly relevant today, another YA thriller subgenre holds a certain appeal for many readers. Historical fiction sales have gone through the roof in the past few years. This is particularly true for historical thrillers that intertwine true crime, which adds a fascinating twist to the story.

Bryce Moore’s debut novel, The Perfect Place To Die, for example, will appeal to fans of the Stalking Jack The Ripper series, with its dark ambiance and heart-pounding suspense and a storyline that prominently features a notorious serial killer. If true crime is your jam, you will devour this book!


While thrillers are not new to YA this relatively new trend is here to stay as are subgenres such as historical fiction and true crime. So if you’re extremely bookish like me, I bet you’re just as excited about what’s to come! Check out these YA thrillers and while you’re at it, enter our giveaway where you could win your own copy of these books along with some spooky bookish merchandise!


featured images via sourcebooks

Enter To Win: Our YA Thriller Summer Giveaway Is Here

Summer has set in, in all its halcyon glory. It’s the perfect time to pick up a new read and head to the beach or the park, lounge by the pool in your backyard, or simply laze by your window – whatever floats your boat! And what better than to perk up a warm, lazy afternoon with an exciting, dark twist?

Move over stereotypical boy meets girl YA romance; it’s time for summer goosebumps and a chilling YA thriller. And to make things even more exciting here’s another summer giveaway hosted by Sourcebooks. This summer giveaway includes gripping reads and the perfect bookish merch for every YA thriller fan. Are you ready for a truly chilling summer?

Here’s What you can win

5 YA thriller books to spice up your summer days

1 murder mystery jigsaw puzzle & 1 murder mystery game  to indulge in with your friends on warm, summer nights

A spine & skull scented candle set for the perfect gothic ambience, and spooky decor

Unique devil’s hand bookmarks to style up your bookshelves

A skeleton tote bag, perfect for coffee lovers


enter to win



about the BOOKs  


14 ways to die by vincent ralph

A page-turning thriller for the social media age, 14 Ways To Die is perfect for fans of A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder and One of Us Is Lying. 

Ten years ago Jess lost her mother to the Magpie Man, an infamous serial killer who is still at large and planning to kill again. She plans to use her new platform as the star of a YouTube reality series to catch him. That is if he doesn’t catch her first. 

about Vincent Ralph:

Vincent Ralph has been writing for most of his life. He owes his love of books to his mother, who encouraged his passion and imagination from an early age. Vincent has a degree in English Literature and a post-graduate NCTJ in Newspaper and Magazine journalism. He now lives in his home county of Kent with his wife and two cats. Despite being a football writer and senior content editor, Vincent hasn’t given up on his love of fiction. After his debut novel, a YA thriller, Are You Watching? Vincent is back with another riveting read, 14 Ways To Die, published by Sourcebooks in June 2021.



the girl in the headlines and truly, madly, deadly by Hannah Jayne

Here’s another twisty thriller from the author of Truly, Madly, Deadly that will leave readers breathless.

Andrea McNulty goes to sleep on her eighteenth birthday with a near-perfect life: she’s a high school field hockey star, a doted-upon big sister, the beloved daughter of two happy parents. But when she wakes up in a motel room the next morning, unable to remember what happened the previous night and covered in blood, Andi is a fugitive. The headlines say she killed her family. The truth? She doesn’t remember.


Truly, Madly, Deadly is a heart-pounding thriller that will leave readers chilled to the core.

Every relationship has its secrets and Sawyer’s are buried deep. Sawyer Dodd had it all: perfect grades, star position on the team, and the perfect boyfriend. But when Kevin dies suddenly in a car accident, Sawyer is stunned. Until she opens her locker and finds the note: You’re welcome.


about Hannah Jayne:

Hannah Jayne decided to be an author in the second grade after writing her very first story about penguins floating on an ice floe. Twenty years later, she sat down in her childhood bedroom and wrote her first novel. Fifteen novels and a family later, she now lives in the Silicon Valley with her rockstar English teacher husband, their spitfire daughter, and three cats. She teaches every summer at the Teen Writer’s Institute and constantly does online and in-person workshops. Hannah is a cancer survivor and loves to talk about how much you can kick its butt with or without pink ribbons.



the perfect place to die by Bryce Moore

Stalking Jack the Ripper meets Devil in the White City in The Perfect Place To Die, a terrifying historical fiction debut about one of the world’s most notorious serial killers – H.H. Holmes.

In a desperate effort to save her sister, Zuretta takes up a job at an infamous house of horrors – but she might never escape. 


about Bryce Moore:

Bryce Moore is the author of three other books and a proud librarian in Western Maine. He and his wife have been happily married since 2001 and doing their best to raise three little geeks. He spends his free time fixing up his 1841 farmhouse and convincing his wife that sci-fi is awesome.





the obsession by Jesse q. Sutanto

A fast-paced teen revenge-thriller from the author of Dial A for Aunties, The Obsession will keep readers on the edge of their seats until the very end. 

Boy meets girl. Boy stalks girl. Girl gets revenge.

Logan, a stranger to Delilah, thinks they are meant to be. He believes no one knows her like he does and makes sure of it by learning everything he can, watching her through a hidden camera. But Logan isn’t the only one being strange; Delilah is keeping secrets too. Deadly ones.


about Jesse Q. Sutanto:

Jesse Q. Sutanto grew between Jakarta and Singapore, two places she considers home. She lived in Oxford for a while where she completed her Masters in Creative Writing. She is passionate about women’s rights and diversity in the publishing world. In her spare time, Jesse hosts giveaways where she offers critique queries for writers from marginalized communities.





Check out more about these amazing books here.



featured image by aurora Parkinson

5 YA Thrillers To Spice Up Your Summer

The sun is out. And so is everyone else. The cacophony of friendly banter filling up the streets again, the soaring temperatures, and the urge to hit the water – summer is here, in all its glory. Now is the perfect time to pick up a book (or two, or three) and hit the beach. As we experience a little respite from the pandemic, let’s roll out that towel and bask in the sun with some chilling YA thrillers.

Ready for a dark escape on a bright summer day? We’ve compiled a list of 5 must-reads with gripping storylines to keep you on the edge of your seat (or towel) and make your summer even more exciting. Pack your beach bag with some great summer reads and let’s go!

1. 14 Ways to die by vincent ralph


It’s been a decade since Jess lost her mother. Today, she is still trying to catch the criminal behind her mother’s death – the infamous serial killer, the Magpie Man. Her mother may have been the first of his victims, but she was definitely not the last. As a YouTube reality series star, Jess plans to leverage her platform and resources to aid her quest for justice. But, all eyes are on her, and probably the Magpie Man’s too. Will he catch her first? Or will she succeed at chasing down her mother’s killer?

“An unsettling but easy-to-read blend of social media savvy and gritty gumshoe work.” – Kirkus Reviews.

If you’ve read and loved One of Us Is Lying and A Good Girl’s Guide To Murder, you’re going to thoroughly enjoy the page-turning thriller 14 Ways To Die.

Get your copy here:


2. the girl in the headlines by hannah jayne


The headlines say she killed her family. The truth? She doesn’t remember. Andrea McNulty (Andi) has a near-perfect life: she’s a high school field hockey star, a doted-upon big sister, and the beloved daughter of two happy parents. Until the morning after her eighteenth birthday when she wakes up in a hotel room, covered in blood and unable to recall the events of the previous night. The news suggests Andi’s parents were brutally attacked in the middle of the night. Her father is dead, her mother is in a coma, her little brother Josh is missing – and she is the prime suspect. Terrified and on the run, Andi teams up with Nate, the nice boy working the motel’s front desk, to find the real killer. But as the police are getting farther from the truth, the killer is getting closer to Andi – closer than she could’ve ever imagined.

“This is a propulsive story rife with true-crime TV tropes and plenty of red herrings.” – Kirkus Reviews.

Author of Truly, Madly, Deadly, and See Jane Run, Hannah Jayne comes back with another twisty thriller that’ll leave your head spinning.

Pre-order the book here:


3. the perfect place to die by bryce moore


Zuretta never imagined she’d encounter a monster. She had resigned to a quiet life in Utah. But her life takes a dramatic turn as she leaves her home to find her missing younger sister Ruby, who vanished during her trip to Chicago for the World’s Fair. Set in the 1890s, Chicago is more dangerous than she imagined. Zuretta is lost, unsure, and unknowingly playing with fire when she takes up a job at The Castle hotel – a mysterious place where her sister worked right before she went missing. But, it doesn’t take long for Zuretta to realize The Castle isn’t what it seems. Women disappear at an alarming rate and whispers creep the walls and hallways at night. Soon, she finds herself face-to-face with one of the most infamous killers in American history. Will Zuretta make it out alive?

“This novel will appeal to readers excited about an account of gruesome historical event steered by an intrepid young woman.” – Kirkus Reviews

Stalking Jack the Ripper meets Devil in the White City in this terrifying historical fiction debut about one of the world’s most notorious serial killers, H. H. Holmes. Each chapter begins with chilling quotes and unbearable suspense, which makes The Perfect Place to Die an ideal read for fans of crime and horror.

Preorder your copy here:

4. Truly, madly, deadly by hannah jayne


Sawyer Dodd had it all: perfect grades, a star position on the team, and the perfect boyfriend. But every relationship has its secrets, and Sawyer’s are buried deep. Sawyer is stunned at her boyfriend Kevin’s sudden death. They say it was a car accident. But it wasn’t. And she learns about this when she opens her locker and finds a note: You’re welcome. Someone saw what he did to her. Someone knew that Sawyer and Kevin weren’t a perfect couple. And that someone – a killer – will do anything to protect Sawyer.

Truly, Madly, Deadly is a heart-pounding thriller that will leave readers chilled to the core.

Get your copy here:


5. The obsession by jesse Q. Sutanto


Logan thinks he and Delilah are meant to be. Delilah doesn’t know who Logan is. But no one knows Delilah like Logan does, or at least that’s what he thinks. And to make sure he learns everything he can – he watches her through a hidden camera. Some might call him a stalker. Logan prefers to be called “romantic”. Delilah is keeping secrets though, deadly ones, and there’s so much more to her than meets the eye. Logan is determined to make Delilah the heroine in his twisted fantasy and he’ll do anything to get what he wants. Delilah on the other hand is done with men controlling her, and if he won’t let her go…she’ll make him.

“Set against a Northern California private school backdrop, the sensational plot is riddled with twists that come at a furious pace … A suspenseful page-turner.” – Kirkus Reviews

The Obsession is a fast-paced teen revenge-thriller from the author of Dial A for Aunties that will keep readers captivated until the very end.

Get your copy here:

And with that, you’re all set to pick a YA chiller thriller for your perfect summer read. Go ahead and grab your copy! You can also check out the amazing giveaway hosted by Sourcebooks here for a chance to win all of these books and bookish goodies!


featured images via sourcebooks & canva