I was very late to get into Serial, but finally binge-listened to a bunch of episodes this past week. The appeal of it, for me, is strong, because the key players in the situation are my age, and I was in high school myself at the time of Hae Min Lee’s murder. Though I’m not sure teens are generally that aware of what’s being aired on NPR, this is something that could easily appeal to them, and which also lends itself nicely to a YA reading list. Below are some recommended YA novels for Serial fans. (Links are to my reviews, when available.)
- Holdup by Terri Fields
Nine different voices narrate the robbery of a Burger Heaven restaurant, telling what happened before, during, and after the incident, and shedding light on the motivations of the perpetrators, as well as the reactions of the witnesses.
- Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
Before Hannah Baker takes her own life, she records thirteen cassette tapes explaining the thirteen reasons for her suicide. Because he is one of the reasons, Clay Baker receives the tapes, and as he listens, he and the reader must try to piece together Hannah's motivation.
- Paper Towns by John Green
When his captivating neighbor, Margo Roth Spiegelman, goes missing, Quentin Jacobsen becomes obsessed with following the clues she left behind and learning what has become of her.
- Every You, Every Me by David Levithan
Ever since Ariel went away, Evan can't stop thinking of her - and then the photographs start to arrive. The photos include images of Ariel and seem to be taunting him. Plagued by paranoia and insomnia, Evan becomes obsessed with finding out the identity of the photographer and the reasons for his or her mysterious behavior.
- The Face on the Milk Carton by Caroline B. Cooney
When Janie sees her own face on a milk carton, her entire life as she knows it begins to unravel. Though she finds it hard to believe that she was kidnapped, there are suddenly many things that don't add up, and many clues that suggest her whole life has been a lie.
- The Secrets of Lily Graves by Sarah Strohmeyer
Lily Graves, the daughter of a mortician, has never gotten along with her popular classmate, Erin Donohue, but she has a close friendship with Erin's boyfriend, Matt. When Erin is found murdered, and Matt named as a suspect, Lily works to piece together the clues in the hopes of clearing his name and uncovering the identity of the true killer.
- Shine by Lauren Myracle
When her one-time best friend Patrick becomes the victim of an unspeakable hate crime, Cat is frustrated by the the unwillingness of her small town's local authorities to conduct a thorough investigation. Taking matters into her own hands, Cat starts asking questions of the people she most strongly suspects in the hopes of uncovering the truth and finding justice for her friend.
- The River by Mary Jane Beaufrand
When Ronnie finds her young babysitting charge dead on the shore of the Santiam river, she ignores warnings about her safety and begins to investigate the case anyway, uncovering more secrets than she bargained for in the process.
- Stuck in Neutral by Terry Trueman
Shawn McDaniel is a smart kid, but no one in his family knows it. In fact, because Shawn is so severely disabled, no one is even sure he can understand what is happening around him. This becomes especially problematic when Shawn begins to suspect that his father may be plotting to kill him.
- First Shot by Walter Sorrells
High school senior David Crandall is certain that someone must know the truth about his mother's murder two years ago, which is still unsolved. With the help of the new girl at his strict military academy, he seeks to uncover the clues necessary to prove what really happened.
I'm not the only one who had this idea. Check out Annie Cardi's post for a totally different set of recommended YA reads for Serial fans.