A mysterious beast is stalking the halls and basement of the New York Museum of Natural History in the days leading to a huge exhibition. Museum officials insist on running things according to plan and, as you can imagine, terror ensues. The back story is incredibly well-written, and there are so many things that click into place along the way that feel like personal victories for the reader as well. I found myself holding my breath countless times. Plus, the twist at the end will blow your mind. —Nikita Sanchez
Told in alternating past and present perspectives, this novel follows the main character Lee as she is forced out of her beloved seclusion to attend a childhood friends bachelorette weekend. What should be a fun few days of drinks and old memories takes a tragic turn as Lee wakes up in a hospital room with an armed guard at the door. It’s there that she learns someone didn’t make it through the night — and the armed guard isn’t for her protection, it’s because she might be a suspect. —Megan Hallquest
Secret societies, puzzles and codes, kidnapping, noetic science, and a cryptic chase through the hidden chambers, tunnels, and temples of Washington, D.C.? Oh my! Anda smart guy in a tweed jacket? Uh, yes please! I couldn’t flip the pages fast enough. I’ve never been more enthralled by a plot or worried about a fictitious person. When you finally pick your eyes up off the pages, it feels like you’re coming out of a literary dream coma. —Kaci Sublette-Marks
In the wake of an alien apocalypse on Earth, Cassie is fighting against all odds to rescue her little brother from Them. Action, chaos, romance, and constant edge-of-your-seat suspense abound. —Jacqueline Perez
The 5th Wave is a web of never-ending action from start to finish. The plot is amazing and Rick Yancy has a way of helping the reader stay two steps ahead of the characters — but it’s by no means predictable. I actually had to put the book down on a few occasions because it was too intense! —Holly Welch
“Yeine Darr is an outcast from the barbarian north. But when her mother dies under mysterious circumstances, she is summoned to the majestic city of Sky. There, to her shock, Yeine is named an heiress to the king. But the throne of the Hundred Thousand Kingdoms is not easily won, and Yeine is thrust into a vicious power struggle.” —from the publisher
OK, I didn’t think I was into fantasy until my sister gave me the first book in this series — and then I was hooked. Jemisin creates such a dark, twisted, and vibrant world, filled with so many compelling characters — you’ll never want to leave! —José R.
Wolf in White Van is a gripping novel, told from the perspective of Sean Phillips, creator of Trace Italian, “a game of strategy and survival!” Trace Italian brings players on an intricately detailed interactive journey through imaginary, ravaged Future America. But everything goes awry when high school students Lance and Carrie take their play outside the game and into the real world, and Sean is forced to take responsibility for these two children. Wolf in White Van is structured in reverse order, each chapter taking you a step backward into Sean’s life. The suspense builds subtly, leading to a totally unexpected conclusion. This is unlike any book I’ve ever read. —Jessica Rouzan, Boston
Into the Darkest Corner grabbed me from the beginning and held me — literally shaking — to the end. It’s about a survivor of abuse who goes through daily rituals to try to keep herself safe. Every time she opens the door to her apartment, you’re terrified with her that he’ll be waiting for her. You also learn the backstory that led to the abuse, which makes the book even more scary and suspenseful. —Connie M.
The Secret in their Eyes starts with the reopening of a decades-old unsolved rape and murder — and only gets more dark and twisted from there. Because retired detective Benjamín Chaparro is haunted by his own past as well. The twist at the end totally threw me — it seriously took me multiple days to recover. —Jefferson A.
I love mysteries and read many, so it is somewhat surprising that one of the most suspenseful books in my memory is not a traditional mystery at all. Rebecca tells the story of the disappearance of a man’s first wife through the eyes of his second wife. It is both gripping and disturbing, working slowly, creeping towards a most startling conclusion. —Malia Zaidi
Why that strange and frightening housekeeper? What are the noises coming from the attic? Daphne Du Maurier ramps up the atmospheric anxiety and fear masterfully. —Sally, 73
This gripping novel follows the Dodson’s multi-day hunt to find their missing 3-year-old daughter amid the looming destruction of their land. As the government plans to flood out their rural Tennessee town to modernize and bring electricity to more inhabitants, the Dodsons enter a battle against time and nature itself. Throw in a cast of truly unforgettable, well-developed characters, and you’ve got a story which brings tears and audible gasps, engrossing any reader and staying with you long after the last page is read. —Sam Coury