The addictive and much beloved Freeform series Pretty Little Liars, aired its wonderfully preposterous series finale on June 27, leaving a giant A(D)-shaped hole in the Young Adult TV landscape. PLL fans can rally by hoping for an Emison spinoff, and catching all seven seasons on Netflix (already!). But how about binge reading some equally addictive YA thrillers?
- Every time I finish one of Natalie D. Richards’ page-turning mysteries, I’m impatient for the next one. Starting with 2013’s Six Months Later, her heroines are everyday girls who tap into hidden strengths in order to rescue themselves and their friends from peril. The most recent, One Was Lost, came out when I was in the middle of my Incubator year, so I waited until I could really savor it. Which I finally did…in two sittings. Luckily, her next one, All Fall Down, is due out October 2017. I’ve pre-ordered!
- My newest YA thriller crush is Overturned, by Lamar Giles. His protagonist Nikki is doing it all…maintaining a high GPA, running her family’s hotel while her father is incarcerated for a crime he didn’t commit, and saving for college by running underground high stakes poker games for Vegas’s biggest players. Then things get really interesting…and dangerous. Overturned came out in March of this year, and I have some catch-up reading to do. Giles has two other YA suspense books, with intrepid teen characters who thwart blackmailers and uncover small town conspiracies. Read Giles’s hilarious and moving post about becoming a writer (starting at Age 4).
- Gretchen McNeil’s Don’t Get Mad series has been described as Pretty Little Liars meets Breakfast Club (who can resist that? Not I!) and follows a group of teens who devise revenge schemes on school bullies. There are only two Don’t Get Mad books, but McNeil has a collection of smart, witty YA fiction, from horror and parallel universes, to contemporary YA romance.
- For some hypnotic, spine-tingling suspense and a dreamily creepy, creepily dreamy serial killer, everyone should read (or re-read, or re-re-read) Half in Love With Death by Dead Darlings’ own Emily Ross. Just read it in unscary broad daylight, like at the beach. But the sand might remind you of the desert where the book takes place. Nothing good is happening in that desert. Better read it at home with the doors locked and the lights on.
- As for Pretty Little Liars, Sara Shepard started the whole obsession with the book series. Shepard’s Lying Game books are just as binge-worthy and, in my opinion, more thoughtful and less designer brand conscious. But when you read one PLL book, you may as well borrow or purchase all of them. It’s nearly impossible to put down, no matter how over-the-top it gets…just like the show! And you don’t need to worry about being spoiled. For example, in the books, Jenna is an innocent lamb, Emily’s homophobic family sends her to live on a farm, and Alison is a totally irredeemable sociopath…if she is Alison.
At this point I’m sounding pretty fangirly so I should stop, but I haven’t even mentioned Romily Bernard’s intriguing Find Me series, or The Naturals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes, or…and what about the many I haven’t read yet? Looks like I’ll be on the edge of my seat for the rest the of the summer, even with the TV off.