The best books with plot twists 📚

Browse the best books on plot twists as recommended by authors, experts, and creators. Along with notes on why they recommend those books.

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Book cover of Monster Mama

Monster Mama

By Liz Rosenberg

Why this book?

A literal splash of colors by Stephen Gammel makes this picture book beautiful to behold. Liz Rosenberg tells the tale of a little boy who, with the help of his fierce Monster Mama, is able to mend bridges with some wild boys who threaten him. The surprise ending is wonderful—and delicious!

From the list:

The best picture books for all ages

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Book cover of The Thirteenth Tale

The Thirteenth Tale

By Diane Setterfield

Why this book?

I have read this book several times and it’s the kind that swallows you whole. You’ll find yourself consumed into the weird and almost gothic story of Vida Winters – the enigmatic and eccentric millionaire writer with a missing “tale” – and Margaret, the journalist who is hired to uncover all the secrets of her strange life. It’s creepy and shadowy and unique and totally compelling, and you’ll never figure out where it’s going until you’re there: wide-eyed and all-in.

From the list:

The best books with a killer plot twist

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Book cover of The Wolf, the Duck, and the Mouse

The Wolf, the Duck, and the Mouse

By Mac Barnett, Jon Klassen

Why this book?

A wolf swallows a mouse, who meets a duck (a previous prey) in the wolf’s stomach. They become friends. The duck says that she used to worry about being eaten by wolves but now that she already has, she doesn’t worry about it anymore. What an offbeat sense of humor! You will be laughing out loud at the surprise ending.   

From the list:

The best picture books with humor and twist endings

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Book cover of Misunderstood Shark

Misunderstood Shark

By Ame Dyckman, Scott Magoon

Why this book?

This book introduces some basic facts about sharks in an original, laugh-your-pants-off kind of way. The misunderstood shark derails jellyfish’s live TV broadcast with his questionable behavior. Readers will be left to debate the shark’s actual intentions and to discuss the cool shark facts they learned along the way. The supporting characters in the book also have fantastically funny dialogue. Every inch of this book is fun! And again, kids will be laughing and learning at the same time.

From the list:

The best children’s books about ocean animals

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Book cover of The Night Sister

The Night Sister

By Jennifer McMahon

Why this book?

My first experience reading a book with dual storylines, this novel held me spellbound cover to cover. McMahon has since become an auto-buy author for me, thanks to this fantastical story that puts a magnifying glass on the life of two sisters, a childhood friend, and an unexplained disappearance. The story moves between past and present and revolves around the Tower Motel in Vermont, now a ruined shell that refuses to yield its secrets. Secrets the girls discovered while playing games there as children. 

An unexpected splash of the paranormal and the use of letters from one sister to Mr.…

From the list:

The best 2-fer supernatural mysteries with dual storylines

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Book cover of The Ivy Tree

The Ivy Tree

By Mary Stewart

Why this book?

The Ivy Tree is a classic by Mary Stewart, queen of the 20th-century gothic novel. I love all her novels, but I think this is her best. The first-person narrator is a savvy young woman who is persuaded to impersonate a heiress, and the twists and turns of the plot kept me guessing right to the end. The narrator is fascinating and filled with hidden depths. This is a book I re-read regularly because it’s a lesson in crafting the perfect psychological thriller, which is what a gothic novel is at its core.

From the list:

The best gothic novels with strong female protagonists

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