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Mystery Horror Books for Young Adults

Posted on September 09 2021

Mystery Horror Books for Young Adults

Remember the excitement of watching your first scary movie? The fear, the anticipation, the thrill? So many kids and young adults today don’t realize they can get that same thrill from reading books. It’s time to encourage your kids (or challenge yourself) to read page-turners that will have you desperate to find out what happens next.

From Harry Potter to Stephen King novels, these kinds of fantastical tales shape so much of our world, from movies to literature to cultural references. Whether you prefer stories with mystical elements, adventure, crime, mystery, or classic horror, there is a book out there to suit your taste and reading level.  

We get it can be difficult to find the right one, especially for in-between readers who have graduated from kids books but might not be quite ready for an adult thriller. That’s why we’ve created a helpful list of some of the best scary, mysterious, and horror fiction books for young adults. Plus, some paranormal YA novels that are still great for adults. 

With a large range of stories spanning from historical crime and Whodunnit mysteries to books about otherworldly beasts, discover 6 best fiction mystery horror books for young adults online today. 

The 6 Best Mystery Horror Books For Young Adults 
#1 Goosebumps Horrorland Collection


This haunted book collection brings together ten of the series' scariest reader favorites. Perfect for younger adults and children aged 8 and up, this scary collection of books features monsters, mummies, vampires, and other supernatural encounters sure to keep your kids turning the pages. These make for a great Halloween gift and the perfect books to read together as a family to make sure everyone stays safe.

Titles included in the set: Revenge of the Living Dummy, Creep from the Deep, Monster Blood for Breakfast, The Scream of the Haunted Mask, Dr. Maniac Vs Robby Schwartz, Who's Your Mummy, My Friend Call Me Monster, Say Cheese- and Die Screaming! Welcome to Camp Slither, and Help! We Have Strange Powers.

Buy Goosebumps Horrorland 

#2 Rules Of Murder By Julianna Deering


Downton Abbey meets Agatha Christie in this sparkling mystery perfect for curious readers and young adults. The plot follows Drew Farthering, when a weekend party at his estate, Farthering Place, is ruined by murder and the police seem flummoxed, Drew decides to look into the crime himself. With the help of his best friend, Nick Dennison, an avid mystery reader, and Madeline Parker, a beautiful and whip-smart American debutante staying as a guest, the three try to solve the mystery as a lark, using the methods from their favorite novels. 

Soon, financial irregularities at Drew's stepfather's company come to light and it's clear that all who remain at Farthering Place could be in danger. Trying hard to remain one step ahead of the killer--and trying harder to impress Madeline--Drew must decide how far to take this game.

Buy Rules of Murder

#3 The Institute By Stephen King


No mystery or horror category would be complete without a Stephen King novel. The Institute is a terrifying, gut-wrenchingly dramatic story of good vs. evil in a world where the good guys don’t always win.

In the middle of the night, in a house on a quiet street in suburban Minneapolis, intruders silently murder Luke Ellis’s parents and load him into a black SUV. The operation takes less than two minutes. Luke will wake up at The Institute, in a room that looks just like his own, except there’s no window. And outside his door are other doors, behind which are other kids with special talents—telekinesis and telepathy—who got to this place the same way Luke did: Kalisha, Nick, George, Iris, and ten-year-old Avery Dixon. They are all in Front Half. Others, Luke learns, graduated to Back Half, “like the roach motel,” Kalisha says. “You check in, but you don’t check out.”

In this most sinister of institutions, the director, Mrs. Sigsby, and her staff are ruthlessly dedicated to extracting from these children the force of their extranormal gifts. There are no scruples here. If you go along, you get tokens for the vending machines. If you don’t, punishment is brutal. As each new victim disappears to Back Half, Luke becomes more and more desperate to get out and get help. But no one has ever escaped from the Institute.

Buy The Institute 

#4 The Strange Case Of Dr Jekyll And Mr Hyde By Robert Louis Stevenson


A classic tale for a reason, this is a great choice for curious avid readers and young adults who want to challenge themselves. In this timeless suspense-filled masterpiece of horror, a shameless, repulsive creature stalks the streets and he’s becoming harder to control. The charming Dr. Jekyll could not be more different to the violent and depraved Mr. Hyde – until, that is, he takes a potion of his own concoction which allows him to embrace his darker side. 

As Hyde’s savagery escalates, Dr.Jekyll finds himself trapped in a truly nightmarish tale of duality, leaving him forced to take desperate measures, as he discovers that leaving the monster behind is not as easy as he needs it to be. Four of Stevenson’s other dark tales (including ‘The Body Snatcher’) complete this investigation into demonic influences of the most personal kind.

Buy The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde 

#5 Missing, Presumed By Susie Steiner


Perfect for older teenagers, this novel follows Manon Bradshaw, a devoted and respected member of the Cambridgeshire police force, and though she loves her job, what she longs for is a personal life. Single and distant from her family, she wants a husband and children of her own. One night, after yet another disastrous Internet date, she turns on her police radio to help herself fall asleep—and receives an alert that sends her to a puzzling crime scene. 

Edith Hind—a beautiful graduate student at Cambridge University and daughter of the surgeon to the Royal Family—has been missing for nearly twenty-four hours. Her home offers few clues: a smattering of blood in the kitchen, her keys and phone left behind, the front door ajar but showing no signs of forced entry. Manon instantly knows that this case will be big—and that every second is crucial to finding Edith alive. 

The investigation starts with Edith’s loved ones: her attentive boyfriend, her reserved best friend, her patrician parents. As the search widens and press coverage reaches a frenzied pitch, secrets begin to emerge about Edith’s tangled love life and her erratic behavior leading up to her disappearance. With no clear leads, Manon summons every last bit of her skill and intuition to close the case, and what she discovers will have shocking consequences not just for Edith’s family but for Manon herself.

Buy Missing Presumed 

#6 A Babysitter's Guide To Monster Hunting By Joe Ballarini


Great for younger adults who might not be ready for a Stephen King tale, this exciting story still has plenty of scare. When middle schooler Kelly Ferguson’s Halloween plans switch from party-going to babysitting, she thinks the scariest part of her night will be the death of her social life. But then Baby Jacob gets kidnapped by the Boogeyman’s minions and Kelly learns there’s a whole lot more to childcare than free snacks and Netflix. Like chasing shadow monsters, drop-kicking Toadies, and mastering monster-fighting moves like the Naptime Headlock and Playground Punch.

Now, with the help of an ancient handbook and a secret society of butt-kicking babysitters, Kelly sets out to destroy the Boogeyman before he brings Jacob’s nightmares to life. But when the monsters’ trail leads to her school’s big Halloween bash, Kelly will have to prove she can save the world—without totally embarrassing herself in front of her friends.

Buy A Babysitter's Guide To Monster Hunting

Enjoy More Mystery Horror Books For Young Adults & Kids

At Marissa’s Books, we pride ourselves on curating an extensive collection of supernatural, horror, and magical books for every type of reader and skill level. From classic horror books and thrillers to books about ghosts and other paranormal spirits, discover more of our best supernatural fiction books for kids and young adults online today.

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