YA Crime Book Display Help

Once again, I’m coming to you for some help with a display. I’m wanting to do a pair of displays: a Teen Detective and a Teen Criminal display.

The Teen Detective display is coming along pretty well but I’d definitely appreciate suggestions! The protagonist don’t have to be a detective per se. I just want him or her to do some investigating in the story.

I’m having a harder time with the Criminal list. For this list, I’m looking for books with a teen character who is a “bad guy”. It can be a thief, murderer, mobster, swindler, is in jail/juvie, on the run from the law, anti-hero, or just your everyday villain.


I’d love any suggestions that you can give! Leave them in the comments. Please make sure to note which list the books you suggest are for. 🙂 Thank you!



17 thoughts on “YA Crime Book Display Help

  1. I don’t read much in the YA crime genre, but here are some suggestions based on what I’ve read and what I’ve heard other people talk about:
    – Ten by Gretchen McNeil
    – I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga
    – Crusher by Niall Leonard
    – Thieves Like Us by Stephen Cole
    – Boy Nobody by Allen Zadoff
    – Heist Society by Ally Carter

  2. OOOh, great display idea! Here’s some teen criminals/lawbreakers I can think of:
    – Oliver Twist (Oliver, the Dodger)
    – Artemis Fowl series (Artemis)
    – The Thief Lord (Prospero)
    – Unwind/Unwholly (Connor/Risa/Lev)
    – Legend/Prodigy (Day)
    – Holes (Stanley)
    – The Book Thief (Lisel)
    – Shatter Me (Juliette)
    – Delirium/Pandemonium/Requiem (Lena/Alex)
    – When She Woke (Hannah)

  3. Teen Detective:
    I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga (or its sequel, Game)
    I’m Not A Serial Killer series by Dan Wells (though its officially classified as adult, I think it can pass for YA as the gore is worse in Lyga’s series than it is in Wells’s. The protagonist can also be considered as a “criminal” because he does withhold information from the police–and is a psychopath.)
    Slide series by Jill Hathaway
    Spirit and Dust by Rosemary Clement-Moore
    The Book of Blood and Shadow by Robin Wasserman
    The Night She Disappeared by April Henry
    The Butterfly Clues by Kate Ellison

    Teen Criminal:
    All These Things I’ve Done by Gabrielle Zevin (main character goes to jail due to a misunderstanding and her family’s mafia background…and later helps her brother flee the country)
    Mind Games by Kiersten White (main character is an assassin for an organization that might be working for the government)
    The Vindico by Wesley King (six kids are kidnapped to be supervillians)
    Kill Switch by Chris Lynch
    MMAAAYYYYBBBEEE… Croak by Gina Damico and The Immortal Rules series by Julie Kagawa (does biting people because you are a vampire count as being a criminal?)

  4. I just finished How to Lead a Life of Crime by Kirsten Miller, which sort of qualifies. The MC, Flick, is sort of an Oliver Twist character at first. He isn’t really a bad guy, but he is put in a position where he has to do bad stuff to survive. It’s a pretty good read, though.


    Teen Detective:
    The Liar Society by Lisa Roecker & Laura Roecker
    Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan
    The Devil’s Whisper by Miyuki Miyabe
    The Little Woods by McCormick Templeman

    Teen Criminal:
    Heist Society by Ally Carter
    Also Known As by Robin Benway (although technically she’s a criminal in the sense that she helps do good things? Still breaking the law, though)
    School for Scumbags by Danny King

  6. Not sure about these, but there’s I Hunt Killers (son of serial killer hunts down serial killer), Blink & Caution (kid criminals on the run), Girl, Stolen (boy kidnaps blind girl), Ally Carter’s Heist Society (art thieves), Holly Black’s Curse Workers (mobs/cons/magic)…and that’s it. Sorry I can’t help!

  7. Detective:
    The Lying Game series
    I think the Wake trilogy goes into catching criminals in books 2 and 3

    After by Amy Efaw- she’s in juvie
    Thousand Words by Jennifer Brown- She’s in court ordered comm. service
    Being Henry David by Cal Armistead- He’s fairly certain he’s done some sort of horrible crime
    Hysteria by Megan Miranda- She killed her boyfriend

    Hope that helps 🙂

  8. Fun displays! Lots have been mentioned but
    Both – Paranormalcy – she starts out working for the government bag and tag paranormals then goes on the lamb – would probably make her detective in the first book.

    Throne of Glass – starts out she is in the mines as a criminal, assassin

    Perception and Clarity – she does a little mystery solving
    You have to represent some old school too – nancy drew, hardy boys, bobsie twins

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