Three of the ten are adult books that are suitable for teens, while the other seven are completely young adult (YA).
Reposted from The Guardian.
The relationship between two sisters is a key theme in my thriller In Another Life – the idea came to me when a newspaper headline caught my eye: a family was looking for a missing daughter who had disappeared while working abroad. From that the story of US teen Hannah and her search for her older sister Jenny, who vanishes while working in an English hotel, was born.
There are surprisingly few thrillers in YA featuring strong relationships between sisters, but here are 10 of the best.
1. Black Heart Blue by Louisa ReidHephzibah and Rebecca are twin sisters but while Hephzibah is beautiful, Rebecca was born with a severe facial disfigurement. We know from the beginning that Hephzibah is dead and the mystery behind what happened to her unwinds as we discover the horror of the family abuse the twins faced. Will Rebecca escape the same fate? This is a beautifully written debut novel for older teens who can cope with an unsettling storyline.
Technically this is adult fiction but it’s a good read for teens wanting a tense psychological thriller with a chilling twist. I love Rosamund Lupton’s writing and the relationship between the two sisters is skilfully drawn. The book is written in the form of a letter. Beatrice’s sister Tess has gone missing and everyone but Beatrice thinks she is dead. As Beatrice investigates, she discovers how little she really knew Tess. The ending took me completely by surprise.
3. The Hunger Games by Suzanne CollinsThe premise of Katniss as a heroine is set around her love for her little sister, Prim. In the ultimate dark dystopian YA thriller, Katniss sacrifices herself for Prim and volunteers to take part in the games – it’s a death sentence. She knows that when she offers herself up as Tribute. But Katniss is a fighter and she’s not going down easily…
4. Sister Missing by Sophie McKenzieLauren’s sister, Madison, runs off to get ice cream and never comes back. It’s all too familiar to Lauren, herself a kidnapping victim, and she sets out to save Madison and stop the nightmare happening again. Probably best read as part of the Missing trilogy but still great on its own. Sophie McKenzie has an enthusiastic and deserved following for this series.
James Dawson’s debut novel, full of snarky humour, centres around the story of Lis who leaves her home in London to escape the bullies making her life a misery. She moves to Yorkshire to live with her older sister and is thrown into a mystery involving witchcraft. This quirky YA thriller boasts a great cast of teens, but the relationship between Lis and her sister is touchingly painted and very real. An excellent read from a clever writer.
6. Vanishing Girls by Lauren Oliver
Lauren Oliver will be familiar to many YA readers. Vanishing Girls is a psychological thriller about two sisters whose lives are changed by a devastating accident, leaving one of them badly scarred. The relationship between the two sisters is destroyed, but then Dara goes missing and it’s up to Nick to find out what has happened to her and another girl, who has also vanished. This is another cracking read with a twist in its tail.
Inspired by the true story of Sophie Lancaster, who was killed for looking different, this moving book is about Eve, whose sister Rosie was murdered because of how she dressed. The book explores bigotry and prejudice in an atmosphere of building tension – could this all happen again to someone else? I’ve met Alan a couple of times now, most recently at the Lancashire Book Awards were we were both shortlisted, and he’s a passionate writer with a nose for the serious issues that other YA writers don’t always tackle. He wrote this book after meeting Sophie’s mother and realising this is a story that should be out there.
8. Mind Games by Kiersten WhiteFia and Annie are as close as two sisters can be. They look out for each other. Protect each other. And, most importantly, they keep each other’s secrets, even the most dangerous ones: Annie is blind, but can see visions of the future; Fia was born with flawless intuition - her first impulse is always exactly right. When the sisters are offered a place at an elite boarding school, Fia realizes that something is wrong . . . but she doesn’t grasp just how wrong. A fun read for the paranormal lovers, of which I am one in my chillaxing moments when I want something escapist and light.
9. The Silent Sister by Diane ChamberlainAnother that is technically adult, but a lot of my readers also enjoy Jodi Picoult and this writer is from the same stable. Riley has spent her whole life believing that her older sister Lisa died tragically as a teenager. But now she’s starting to uncover the truth: her life has been built on a foundation of lies, told by everyone she loved. Lisa is alive. Alive and living under a new identity. While Diane Chamberlain doesn’t switch me on with her writing in the way that Rosamund Lupton does, she produces reliably enjoyable reads. They don’t demand too much from the reader and so are perfect for summer.
10. We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy FowlerOkay, a curve ball here. And it’s technically not a thiller, though it is certainly an intriguing mystery. And it’s not YA but can be fully appreciated by teens. This book defies categorisation, as many of the best books do. The relationship between sisters Rosemary and Fern is unique and I will say no more on that as it would spoil the book. It’s a book that will make people think and I would particularly have loved this as a teen while I was formulating my opinions on some of the issues the book covers.
Laura Jarratt is the author of Skin Deep (shortlisted for the Waterstones prize), By Any Other Name (Carnegie nominated) and Louder than Words. Her latest book, In Another Life is out now. Buy In Another Life at the Guardian bookshop