A twist! Books that keep you guessing.
Gentleman and Players
By Joanne Harris
The title, a cricket reference to "gentlemen" of the aristocracy playing cricket for fun and "players," paid cricket competitors of the working class, sets the stage for a masterful conflict. Winner of the Edgar Allan Poe Award, this book takes place in early 20th-century England. A private school is being quietly sabotaged, and only one close-to-retirement professor notices the pattern. One twist comes halfway through this novel, and then another a quarter of the way from the finish--and the twists completely shatter the universe created in the reader's mind.
And Then There Were None
By Agatha Christie
One could make an entire list of Agatha Christie books, including Murder on the Orient Express and The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, but this stand-alone classic sets the standard for locked-room mysteries. Ten strangers, each harboring a dark secret from their past, are trapped on a desolate island together. As the body count accumulates, the guests must race to figure out the murderer in their midst before it's too late
The Other Typist
By Suzanne Rindell
This novel portrays the friendship between two ladies working for a police department in New York City in the 1920s. The lovely Odalie captivates the plain Rose Baker, and Rose expands her prim horizons past her drab, spinsterly apartment to a world of plush hotels, handsome men, and midnight parties. Rose's interest in Odalie turns to obsession as she struggles to see past Odalie's sparkling veneer. Rose, an unreliable narrator, keeps the reader guessing about both women--and then changes everything in the very last sentence.
By Justine Larbalestier
This terrific young adult book also features an unreliable narrator, Micah, a high school student and pathological liar. When her boyfriend is found brutally murdered, Micah struggles with the truth, and even the readers find themselves suspect to her charms. You'll change your mind about the main character several times throughout this novel, and the ending is hotly debated.
Jennifer Johnson is Sick of Being Single
By Heather McElhatton
A cautionary tale on the pressures of finding the right man, Heather McElhatton's wit shines through Jennifer, an employee at a department store chain. As she struggles with Cinnabon addiction and brutally bad dates, the reader roots for her to find her happy ending.
Code Name Verity
By Elizabeth Wein
Widely acclaimed, and with great reason, this young adult book is set during World War II, when the British army recruited young women to help fly planes for the war effort. Two best friends sign up, but one is captured by the Nazis and tortured for information. The first half of the book is told from her perspective, and the second half will make you immediately start from the beginning and read it all again.
By Jodi Picoult
Jodi Picoult is famous for her twists, but her recent book on survivors of the Holocaust stands out as one of her finest. While many readers may foresee the twist ending, her depiction of the devastation of the Holocaust on Minka and her family is expertly written. Alternating between a presentday Jewish woman struggling to cope with the loss of her mother and her grandmother Minka's Holocaust story, this novel will linger with you long afterward.
We Need To Talk About Kevin
By Lionel Shriver
This prescient, epistolary book is written from the point of view of a mother whose son is involved in the deaths of his school classmates. Loathed by her town, Eva chooses to remain living there, running the past decades of her life through her mind. The ending will leave you in shock, but the narrative, and Shriver's exceptional prose, will make the novel a bookshelf mainstay.
The Remains of the Day
By Kazuo Ishiguro
For those who haven't read this classic yet, I highly recommend it. The beginning is a slow start, but once you catch the trail of where Ishiguro is leading you, you won't be able to put it down. Narrated by Stevens, a butler serving through two world wars, this book is a master class in the power of subtlety and the pain of regret. Because Stevens is an unreliable narrator, your heart will break when you uncover what it takes a lifetime for Stevens to learn.
By Gillian Flynn
An affable couple moves from New York City to rural Missouri, but on the eve of their fifth wedding anniversary, the wife disappears and the husband becomes a suspect. This novel places a twist in every other chapter, with the reader as gullible as any other character in the book. Gone Girl is another book you'll want to reread as soon as you finish it to figure out exactly how Flynn did it.
Emily La Iacona is from Mountainside, New Jersey