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

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...

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!

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of The Inheritance Games

Victoria McCombs Why did I love 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.

By Jennifer Lynn Barnes,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked The Inheritance Games as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

1.5 MILLION COPIES SOLD OF THE #1 BESTSELLING SERIES!

Don't miss this New York Times bestselling "impossible to put down" (Buzzfeed) novel with deadly stakes, thrilling twists, and juicy secrets -- perfect for fans of One of Us is Lying and Knives Out.

Avery Grambs has a plan for a better future: survive high school, win a scholarship, and get out. But her fortunes change in an instant when billionaire Tobias Hawthorne dies and leaves Avery virtually his entire fortune. The catch? Avery has no idea why -- or even who Tobias Hawthorne is.

To receive her inheritance, Avery must…


Book cover of Three Dark Crowns

Victoria McCombs Why did I love 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.

By Kendare Blake,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Three Dark Crowns as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 14, 15, 16, and 17.

What is this book about?

Three Dark Crowns is a heart-stopping fantasy from Kendare Blake, acclaimed author of Anna Dressed in Blood.

In every generation on the island of Fennbirn, a set of triplets is born: three queens, all equal heirs to the crown and each possessor of a coveted magic. Mirabella is a fierce elemental, able to spark hungry flames or vicious storms at the snap of her fingers. Katharine is a poisoner, one who can ingest the deadliest poisons without so much as a stomach-ache. Arsinoe, a naturalist, is said to have the ability to bloom the reddest rose and control the fiercest…


Book cover of Caraval

Victoria McCombs Why did I love 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.

By Stephanie Garber,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked Caraval as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 13, 14, 15, and 16.

What is this book about?

***The Sunday Times bestseller***

WELCOME TO CARAVAL, WHERE NOTHING IS QUITE WHAT IT SEEMS . . .

Scarlett has never left the tiny isle of Trisda, pining from afar for the wonder of Caraval, a once-a-year week-long performance where the audience participates in the show.

Caraval is Magic. Mystery. Adventure. And for Scarlett and her beloved sister Tella it represents freedom and an escape from their ruthless, abusive father.

When the sisters' long-awaited invitations to Caraval finally arrive, it seems their dreams have come true. But no sooner have they arrived than Tella vanishes, kidnapped by the show's mastermind organiser,…


Book cover of Red Queen

Victoria McCombs Why did I love 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.

By Victoria Aveyard,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Red Queen as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 13, 14, 15, and 16.

What is this book about?

The first novel in the #1 bestselling RED QUEEN series by Victoria Aveyard.

THIS IS A WORLD DIVIDED BY BLOOD - RED OR SILVER.

The Reds are commoners, ruled by a Silver elite in possession of god-like superpowers. And to Mare Barrow, a seventeen-year-old Red girl from the poverty-stricken Stilts, it seems like nothing will ever change.

That is, until she finds herself working in the Silver Palace. Here, surrounded by the people she hates the most, Mare discovers that, despite her red blood, she possesses a deadly power of her own. One that threatens to destroy the balance of…


Book cover of The Queen of Nothing

Victoria McCombs Why did I love 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.

By Holly Black,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Queen of Nothing as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 14, 15, 16, and 17.

What is this book about?

GOODREADS BEST FANTASY YA 2020. The intoxicating and bloodthirsty finale to the New York Times bestselling The Cruel Prince, nominated for the CARNEGIE MEDAL, and New York Times bestseller The Wicked King, Best YA Fantasy in the Goodreads Choice Awards 2019.

After being pronounced Queen of Faerie and then abruptly exiled by the Wicked King Cardan, Jude finds herself unmoored, the queen of nothing. She spends her time with Vivi and Oak, watching reality television, and doing odd jobs, including squaring up to a cannibalistic faerie.

When her twin sister Taryn shows up asking a favour, Jude jumps at the…


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The Constant Tower

By Carole McDonnell,

Book cover of The Constant Tower

Carole McDonnell Author Of Wind Follower

New book alert!

Who am I?

Author Armchair anthropologist Asian drama addict Christian Perseverer

Carole's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Plus, Carole's 10, and 12-year-old's favorite books.

What is my book about?

This is a multicultural epic fantasy with a diverse cast of characters. Sickly fifteen-year-old Prince Psal, the son of warrior-king Nahas, should have been named Crown Prince of all Wheel Clan lands. But his clan disdains the disabled.

When the mysterious self-moving towers that keep humans safe from the Creator's ancient curse rebel, Psal attempts to find the Constant Tower and break the power of the third moon. Psal must risk losing the little respect his father has for him and face the dangers of the unmaking night to find the Constant Tower and save all of humanity.

The Constant Tower

By Carole McDonnell,

What is this book about?

Sickly fifteen year old Prince Psal, the son of the nature-blessed warrior-king Nahas, should have been named Crown Prince of all Wheel Clan lands. A priest-physician like his friend Ephan, Psal lacks a warrior's heart, yet he desires to earn Nahas's respect and become a clan chief. If he cannot do this, he must escape his clan altogether. But his love for Cassia, the daughter of his father's enemy, and his own weaknesses work against him. When war comes, Psal defends Ktwala and her daughter Mahari, wronged by Nahas, and speaks out against the atrocities his clan commits, further jeopardizing…


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