Beyond The Naughty List: Books about Teen Investigators


Our July Book of the Month series, The Naughty List by Suzanne Young, is all about a group of cheerleaders who investigate and spy on suspected cheating boyfriends. But if you love a good mystery, with a smart teen investigator at the helm, there are plenty of options. Here are some of our favorites (from the classics) and a few others recommended by our followers on Twitter:

Nancy Drew

This gal’s been around for ages, and there are LOTS of books featuring this teen detective at work — but my favorites are the originals, the ones in those nifty blue-and-yellow hardcovers. I grew up reading these books and I still admire all that Nancy Drew has to offer. In fact, she just celebrated her 80th anniversary. Of course, Nancy Drew also comes to us from the folks who created another pair of famous teen detectives — The Hardy Boys.

The Boxcar Children

Another long-standing series, The Boxcar Children has well over 100 titles in this series for middle grade readers. It features a team of four orphaned children who solve mysteries

Alex Rider

There are several titles in this series by British author Anthony Horowitz about a teen spy. Much more James Bond than Hardy Boys, the first book in the series was made into a movie in 2006, starring Alex Pettyfer. (It was made in the UK, and only had a limited release in the U.S.)

Gallagher Girls

I haven’t personally read these books, but we had several readers mention them on Twitter when we asked for books about teen investigators. And I’m already highly amused simply by the titles of the four books in Ally Carter’s series about a young women’s academy, where the teens all learn to be spies:

  • I’d Tell You I Love You but Then I’d Have to Kill You
  • Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy
  • Don’t Judge a Girl by Her Cover
  • Only the Good Spy Young

Carter writes on her website that there will be more Gallagher Girls books to come, so stay tuned.

Young Bond

Before he was 007, Bond — James Bond — was a teen just like all of us. This series of books by Charlie Higson follows Ian Fleming’s secret agent through school in the 1930s. There are several books in the series — which have even spawned a graphic novel spin-off and board games. More books are also in the works. Plus, who doesn’t love a good James Bond story — no matter his age?

For the comments: What books about teen investigators/teen spies do you love?

3 thoughts on “Beyond The Naughty List: Books about Teen Investigators

Add yours

  1. I’ve never actually read a Nancy Drew book but I always liked the Boxcar Children. My favorite teen investigator will always be Veronica Mars even though she’s technically not from a book.

  2. I love the boxcar children, they we’re my favorite and first mystery team! I also love Nancy Drew. Never read any Alex Rider stuff but I liked the GG. There’s also the old Trixie Belden series, and Dana girls but they are less known. I also loved Encyclopedia Brown.

  3. Attention all Boxcar Children fans. Please visit the Gertrude Chandler Warner Boxcar Children Museum, Putnam CT. We are housed in an actual 1920’s New Haven Railroad Boxcar, located across the street from her childhood home, along the railroad tracks where she fell in love with cabooses and dreamed of going off to live in one. For a virtual look, visit us on facebook.

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