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If you, like me, have a creative imagination but read so many thrillers and horror novels that you need a break every now and then, I have good news: YA cozy mysteries exist, and they are just what you need.
For those unfamiliar with the phrase, “cozy mystery” refers to a certain type of mystery story in which the following criteria are met: a) no blood or gore is shown on film; b) the investigator has no genuine credentials; and c) a tragic conclusion is highly improbable.
Possibly dull to some, but ideal for those nights when you’d rather not sleep with the lights on and a flashlight at your side. For those with cotton candy rather than steel nerves, here are eight cozy mysteries written for young folks.
THE LOST TWIN
BY SOPHIE CLEVERLY
The first of a six-part series about a pair of twins who attend a somewhat unsettling boarding school. The sister of Ivy is reported missing from Rookwood and later presumed dead. The school also extends an offer for Ivy to enroll in lieu of Scarlet after breaking the tragic news. When she finally arrives, she learns that she isn’t only intended to fill Scarlet’s shoes; rather, she is to embody Scarlet. Thankfully, Scarlet has left hints for her sister Ivy all over the place.
THE SECRET KEY
BY LENA JONES
Written in the style of Agatha Christie, this is the first novel in a series about a young detective, aged 13, who wins a scholarship to attend an elite private school. When it appears that someone is poisoning London’s water supply, she will be in an ideal position to launch her own inquiry thanks to her new residence.
MURDER MOST UNLADYLIKE
BY ROBIN STEVENS
The first in a series about two best friends who go to the same high school and are both interested in criminology. They’ve set themselves up as a detective agency and are ready to go to work, but nothing really exciting happens until Hazel discovers the dead body of one of their lecturers. A few minutes later, they find that the corpse has vanished, and they must now not only identify the murderer but also persuade everyone that a murder has occurred.
BY WENG WAI CHAN
For the past two years, Lizard, now twelve years old, has survived only on his wits when his uncle mysteriously disappeared. He lives in Chinatown, above the business owned by the father of a friend, and spends his days looking for employment wherever he can find it. His newest mission is to steal a box and pass it over to a minor criminal at a prearranged time for what might be a fortune — to him, at least. Unfortunately, things don’t go as planned, and he finds himself in a bit of a muddle.
THE OLD HOUSE BY THE WOODS
BY SOMA KAR
This is Soma Kar’s first novel, and it’s about a private eye who is hired by a woman who’s having second thoughts about buying a haunted property to look into the claims of paranormal activity there. Ria’s sister and her closest friend, both teenagers, join her as they explore the ancient home and try not to be too frightened by the surrounding woodland in their quest to figure out what’s going on there.
BY CHRISTINE GRABOWSKI
This is an independent novel about a high school student who is on the fence about attending a boarding school because she doesn’t want to abandon her mother and brother, despite her desire to get away from her abusive father. By the time she actually enrolls, she is completely smitten with her new environment. However, she quickly becomes aware of several things that cause her some doubt and curiosity.
THE WITCH SQUAD
BY M.Z. ANDREWS
This is the first episode of a series about a 19-year-old witch who has finally irritated the law enforcement to the point that she is being sent to prison. The alternative is a witchy finishing school, which doesn’t seem like a good match at all. When a student is murdered, however, the principal asks for help from the class, and Mercy is forced to take charge.
THE CONFECTIONER’S GUILD
BY CLAIRE LUANA
In the event that you accidently poisoned someone and were facing charges, what steps would you take to protect yourself from unfair treatment? Wren is in the dark, yet she must quickly come up with an answer. Besides clearing her identity, she must also learn to control her magical abilities and figure out how to protect herself and her new pals as they uncover a high-stakes scheme.
You’ve reached the end of this short list, so I’ll direct you to one of my other posts that will tell you everything about my top 10 cozy mysteries to read in fall that you need to add to your TBR pile.