The best YA books with surprising plot twists (spoiler free)

Victoria McCombs Author Of Oathbound
By Victoria McCombs

Who am I?

I am Victoria McCombs, the author of Oathbound from Enclave Publishing. I live in Nebraska with my husband and three wildlings, spending our days homeschooling, golfing, or dreaming of the mountains that are rudely located so far from us. Oathbound is a darker YA fantasy. It follows Emme who has run from the sea after her mother became a ruthless pirate and Arn who ran towards them after first sailing for the king. A twist of fate leaves them bound together on a journey to a dangerous island, while both harbor secrets darker than the deep that threaten to drown them all.


I wrote...

Oathbound

By Victoria McCombs,

Book cover of Oathbound

What is my book about?

Plot twists are one of my favorite elements of storytelling, especially the ones that are preceded by a trail of subtle clues but still leave me breathless when revealed. There’s nothing quite like that moment of telling everyone to be quiet, holding the book really close, and absorbing it as fast as you can. In honor of that feeling, I’ve put together a list of the top five YA books with surprising plot twists to satisfy that part of us that likes to feel betrayed. I won’t reveal the plot twists so you can experience it for yourself!

The books I picked & why

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The Inheritance Games

By Jennifer Lynn Barnes,

Book cover of The Inheritance Games

Why this book?

It’d be wrong to start with any book other than The Inheritance Games by Jennifer Lynn Barnes. The story is about an average girl who is told that she’s inherited an enormous amount of money from a man who just passed away—a man who she doesn’t know and who ignored his entire family to give her this inheritance. The stipulation? She must live at the mansion with the bitter family, including some very handsome grandsons, for an entire year. And that’s just the beginning. Things get really crazy from there.

This is set in modern-day, very fast-paced, and perfect for anyone who likes puzzles or solving mysteries! If you devoured movies like Da Vinci Code or Treasure Hunter, then this is for you! This is book one in a three-book series, with the third releasing August 2022.


Three Dark Crowns

By Kendare Blake,

Book cover of Three Dark Crowns

Why this book?

I knew I would love Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake from the premise. This plot twist doesn’t come until later in the book, but there is a lot to enjoy before we get there! The story is set on an island hidden from the world, where every generation, the queen gives birth to triplet daughters. These daughters are separated and trained until their sixteenth birthday, where the fight for the throne begins. Whoever kills the other two first wins.

The book has a slower pace as it follows all three sisters so we can’t guess who will be the winner, and has plenty of emotional twists and turns as it leaves them on the edge of death many times. It’s a four-book series with all the books released.


Caraval

By Stephanie Garber,

Book cover of Caraval

Why this book?

I would find a way to put this book on every list I make because I love it so much. Caraval is an immersive read, set at a carnival where nothing is as it seems and you can’t trust anyone. It has the sibling relationship trope that I love with two sisters, one reckless and one sweet, and their adventure when they go to Caraval. The book starts and ends with a plot twist, though the first twist is in the blurb—that once they get there, one sister goes missing, and the other realizes that the task of this years’ Caraval is to find her sister. Only then will she win. She must follow the clues of the carnival and decide who to put her trust in.

Caraval is a trilogy written by Stephanie Garber. All three books are released.


Red Queen

By Victoria Aveyard,

Book cover of Red Queen

Why this book?

Victoria Aveyard debuted into the world with this dystopian fantasy, where the world is separated by two bloods: the special silver-blooded and the red-blooded. But when a red-blooded is publicly revealed to have a special ability that previously only belonged to the silver-blooded, they try to cover up the anomaly by claiming she is a long-lost silver blood, and she becomes engaged to their prince.

It's the perfect blend between sci-fi and fantasy for those who enjoy books like Hunger Games or Matched, with strong heroines, arranged engagements, plot twists, and betrayal, set at a medium pace. It is a finished four-book series.


The Queen of Nothing

By Holly Black,

Book cover of The Queen of Nothing

Why this book?

Holly Black delivered a lush world within the Cruel Prince trilogy, and each book got better and better. The ending of book two, The Wicked King, had me running to the library to get the third book and I couldn’t put it down. It’s set in a land of the fae where a mortal girl refuses to be outmatched by their power, proving herself to be a foe much more dangerous than any of them predicted. As she gets closer to the throne, things become more dangerous, and she must be lethal and cunning if she is to survive.

Each book has plot twists, but the third was my favorite. This is a finished trilogy perfect for those who love the fae, fierce heroines, enemies to lovers, or political intrigue.


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