Thursday, 14 May 2015

If You Want: Mystery

Today I'm here with the second issue of my feature "If You Want".  In case you missed it, here's the first issue in which I talk about some books you could try if you want to read about angels.  The idea is that all the books I mention have different elements to them but still fit within one topic, so that even if you don't like one, there's a good chance you'll like one or more of the others.  This issue I want to talk about books that involve mystery.  Of course, that's very broad, so I hope that you will find something here that you like.

First of all, there is no way I could do this post without including the ultimate YA mystery:  Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas.  I say ultimate because I have yet to find a mystery book that has impacted me to the extent that this did.  That said, I haven't read a huge amount of these sorts of books, so if you have any recommendations, let me know.  Anyway, you should read this book if:

- you like dark, twisted but real characters
- you enjoy gritty thrillers and suspense
- murder mysteries are your thing
- you like courtroom drama
- you want to read about some interesting characters that you haven't seen before

The basic idea is that a girl has died on an overseas holiday with her friends, and one of her friends has been arrested for her murder.  Yeah.  It’s intense and you will suspect everyone.  This book had me continuing reading for hours on end.  In fact, it's the first book I can recall starting and finishing in one day.  Well, that's not technically true since I was up until the early hours of the next day - I was that hooked.
As you can tell, I enjoyed this book immensely along with Haas’ other similar book, Dangerous Boys.

My next pick for the topic is We Were Liars by E. Lockhart.  It's definitely one that has some mixed opinions, but if you enjoy its poetic writing style, I'm sure that you will at least like it.  The book follows the main character of Cadence as she tries to regain her memories of an accident that occurred on her exceedingly rich family's summer island.  This novel's stand out qualities include:

- the writing style (which I unfortunately cannot describe except to say that it is pretty and includes many metaphors)
- the characters and their (often misguided) motives
- the things that you will feel when you read it
- the way that you will keep thinking about this book even after you have turned the final page
- it's not filled with action, but rather all the little things that lead up, in one way or another, to the ending

I know, that's not much information to go off.  Mostly, it's because I don't want to spoil the ending for you if you haven't read it yet.  Which, let's face it, is pretty unlikely considering this was one of the most hyped up YA books of last year.  Whether you guess part of the truth or not, the ending will slam into you, and I think that was the part that I liked best.
If you want to know more, you can check out my review + discussion (don't worry, I warn before I use spoilers).

How could I forget to mention the Every trilogy by Ellie Marney?  It's a Sherlock-inspired story, featuring a couple of teens and a mystery set in Australia.  If you're not really into mystery books, this is one that you should try.  It looks more at the characters and their relationships rather than solely focusing on the mystery element.  If you usually read contemporary romance, this is for you.  Here's some more info:

- the loveable, complex characters
- the adorable romance
- it's fairly realistic
- has a 'normal' writing style

I read the trilogy this year and can honestly say that it gets better with every book.  There are some intense scenes and a killer romance too, so it's pretty much everything you could ask for in a book.  It was also special to me because I know Melbourne fairly well, and this is probably the first book I've read that is set there.  I hope you decide to pick this one up!
I should also mention a couple of sort of similar books here.  The first is Don't Look Back by Jennifer L. Armentrout.  If you know Armentrout at all, then you'll know that this book has a cute romance paired with an interesting story and characters.  It follows a girl who wakes up in hospital with no memory of who she is.  The other book is Cooper Bartholomew is Dead by Rebecca James which is a New Adult book which, again, focuses more on the characters and their relationships rather than simply the mystery element.

My next pick is The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin.  This has been a favourite book of mine for quite some time now (we're talking January 2013) and I liked the proceeding books just as much.  This is part of a YA trilogy in which a girl has been in an accident that killed her friends but - you guessed it - she can't remember what happened.  I'm not going to say too much more, because my mind is a bit hazy on where one book ends and the next one begins.  Some of the things that make this book stand out are:

- it has paranormal elements
- you should get a few laughs out of it
- it's full of suspense and insanity
- the steamy romance
- Noah Shaw
- there's a good, realistic focus on family (at least for the first book)

Even though the last book has caused some mixed opinions (I was impressed), I would say that this book is still worth reading.  It has a fairly long page count, but I swear it goes by faster than you think.  If you normally enjoy paranormal romances, this is definitely the book for you.

Last I wanted to talk about, of course, Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A. S. King.  I've tried to put this in the format of the above books, but I just couldn't do it.  I'm pretty sure I've mentioned this book a tonne of times, but in case you never noticed or you're new here, I absolutely loved this book despite going in with the lowest expectations ever - you can see my review here.  The main character Vera has experienced the loss of a friend - in more ways than one.  The novel focuses on her growth as a person and the circumstances of the loss are revealed in snippets to the reader as Vera learns to cope with them.  You are wondering what happened to Charlie the whole time, and the only person who truly knows is Vera.  It also has some magical realism elements which make it different to the other books mentioned here.  This is another book for those who enjoy YA contemporary/realistic fiction.

And as the final part of this post, here are some mysterious books that I want to try in the (hopefully near) future!

Have you read any of these books?  Let me know what you think!


  1. Please Ignore Vera Dietz, More Than This and We Were Liars have been on my TBR for sooo long!! I neeed to get to them this summer mainly because I'll be done with finals (finally)!

    I hope you get around to reading More Than This soon and tell me what you thought, I've never read anything by Patrick Ness before, but I've read an excerpt of this and loved his writing style..

    PS, this is a very smart thing you've done there :) love it♥

    - Jumana @

    1. You totally do need to get to them! :) They're both great. Woohoo! Then you'll be free!

      I hope I do too. I've read The Knife of Never Letting Go and A Monster Calls - I loved the latter but didn't like the first. I would definitely recommend A Monster Calls though, it's awesome.

      Thanks a lot Jumana :) I really appreciate it.

  2. Oh, I didn't know Please Ignore Vera Dietz was a mystery novel O__O
    I've only read The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer which I really really enjoyed but I got the feeling at the end that it was more like a paranormal romance as you said rather than a mystery novel. I was happy with the conclusion though because I was warned about the romancy outshining the actual mystery hahaha
    I read We Were Liars last summer because I gave in to the hype and though I liked it the more I think about it now, the less impressive it seems to me. The writing was beautiful yes, but the actual mystery now seems a bit flat in my opinion. Sometimes thinking a lot about books is not such a great idea hahaha

    1. Well, it's not a mystery novel in the traditional sense. It's definitely more about personal growth, but the mysterious elements are there.
      I'm glad to hear you enjoyed Mara Dyer. It was more in the paranormal genre rather than the mystery genre, you're right. Haha that's good. I wish with some books I'd have had warning about the romance overtaking the entire storyline.
      Yeah, I read We Were Liars because of the hype too - mostly because of the Booksplosion booktube group read thing, if you know what I'm talking about. I can definitely understand that.

  3. Great list!! I was wracking my brain and hypothesizing like crazy during We Were Liars. Mara Dyer is such a mystery, I never understand what's going on xD I've heard awesome things about Every Breath and Dangerous Girls. I can't wait to read them!! Thanks for the recs. :)

    Rachel @ A Perfection Called Books

    1. I'm happy to hear that We Were Liars made you think so much - I was the same. I actually figured out what had happened, but I changed my mind before it was revealed!
      Haha yeah, Mara Dyer is an insane story.
      I really hope that you get to those books - they are really amazing.
      Thanks for stopping by Rachel :)

  4. I've been wanting to read Dangerous Girls, The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, and Please Ignore Vera Dietz. (Although... I had no idea Vera Dietz was a mystery!) I JUST LOVE MYSTERIES :) We Were Liars was such a good one. The ending literally blew my mind because I wasn't expecting that one! I've been curious about Mara Dyer for some time now. I heard it was creepy! But very good, though.

    Thanks for the recs, Sabrina! :) I love this post <3

    Jillian @ Jillian's Books

    1. I can not recommend those three enough! It's not exactly a mystery, it just has elements of mystery to it. I'm not sure how to explain it properly.
      Mysteries are awesome, I'm glad you love them too :D
      It was an insane ending.
      Mara Dyer is kinda creepy. I remember the second one being a lot more creepier than the first though.
      Thanks Jillian! <3

  5. Awesome recommendations, Sabrina! I must admit I haven't really ventured into mystery books, but they've been on my TBR for quite awhile (especially Dangerous Girls, everyone who's read it seems to think it was fantastic!) Have you read Confessions of a Murder Suspect by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro? It's the only YA mystery book I can recall reading, but it wasn't really my favorite. Hopefully I have a better experience with these books! The synopses all sound super cool ^_^

    - Connie @ The YA Book Thief

    1. Connie!
      You're right, everyone does love Dangerous Girls.
      I have not read that one, but I am adding it to my TBR right now :)
      Hopefully you do get to read some good mystery books in the future.

  6. LOVE mysteries and love your choices. The only one of your picks I was a bit "meh" on was Mara Dyer. I think that series was kind of overhyped...
    Jen at YA Romantics

    1. I'm glad you liked these picks! I can definitely understand why you feel it's overhyped. When I first read it I had no expectations whatsoever, and that helped me to enjoy it more.
      Thanks for stopping by Jen :)


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