We recently asked subscribers of the BuzzFeed Books newsletter to tell us about the biggest plot twist they’d ever encountered — without giving away an spoilers! And, yeah, these titles are full of surprises.
1. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
Years after Amir betrayed his childhood friend Hassan, he sets out to reconcile their past — but learns in so many surprising ways how a single event could alter both their lives forever. This book cracked my heart wide open and left my jaw on the floor too many times to count.
2. My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult
My Sister's Keeper already had me crying hysterically — and THEN, in the biggest turn of events, left me completely inconsolable for about a week. It's my favorite book of all time...but I absolutely hate it.
3. Life of Pi by Yann Martel
This twist flings everything that preceded it straight out the window. I stayed up one night to finish Life of Pi for a class and, afterwards I had to lie in the dark and process the ways Martel had expanded (and exploded) his narrative. It's absolutely brilliant; I've read it four times now and every time I'm left in awe.
4. We Were Liars by E. Lockhart
A girl who knows she had an accident the summer before, but cannot remember what happened.... Her revelations and the entire ending left me so shocked that I put the book in a time out for a good ten minutes before I furiously looked through the beginning of the book to see what subtle hints I had missed (there were a ton)! I would recommend this book to anyone who wants a story that causes you to become so invested that your only choice is to finish the book in one sitting.
5. The Cutting Season by Attica Locke
This book contains not one but two intense murder mysteries — freakily interwoven even though they took place over 100 years apart. I couldn't believe how Locke tied everything together, and with such beautiful writing, too!
6. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
My absolute favorite twist is in Gone Girl. My heart started racing, and I ran into my roommate's room to tell her how my life was just altered. If you somehow haven't seen the movie or heard what the twist is, drop everything and read this right now! I'm never ever surprised in books, yet somehow Gillian Flynn was able to floor me.
This is the kind of shock that makes you bolt upright in your chair, feverishly turn the pages, and think, "Did she really— is this actually— OH MY GOD." (In the best way, of course.)
7. Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty
This is one of the best books I've read that I recommend continuously. There's the big mystery of the whole book that you're trying to figure out while reading, but also smaller secrets spread throughout that keep you interested. Endless twists and surprises combined with wonderful, quirky characters makes this one of the best mysteries I've ever read!
8. The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin
One book that TOTALLY got me was The Westing Game. Yes, I read it as a kid, but I still think about the ending a decade later. I would recommend this book to any "kid at heart" with a love of mystery and an interest in the dark side of regular people.
9. Fool Me Once by Harlan Coben
The main character is investigating the recent death of her husband when she discovers that it's connected to the brutal murder of her sister years ago. And are they both somehow related to the suspicious suicide of her husband's brother? I was so surprised by the ending and all the reactions and revelations that came with.
10. Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
Red Queen absolutely blew my mind! It is about a dystopian world where people are divided by blood: silver for the higher social order with supernatural powers and red for the poor and maltreated. When Mare, an ordinary red-blooded girl, discovers that she has silver powers, everything is changed forever. The big twist is just so unpredictable and unexpected that it makes you stop for at least 20 minutes to stare at the wall and just be amazed. As Aveyard says: Anyone can betray anyone.
I was enthralled with the book from the start, but when the twist happened, I actually screamed in shock, horror, and surprise! I actually scared the other people in my house — they thought something was wrong and came running. 😳
11. The Killing Lessons by Saul Black
When the only person holding the key to solving a string of grisly crimes is a 10-year-old child, you know the book's going to be twisted. And that's exactly what The Killing Lessons is — with enough heart-racing action and insanity to keep you up way past your bed time.
12. Fingersmith by Sarah Waters
I read this book over five years ago and it is still the biggest plot twist I’ve ever come across. This is a novel which lures you in under the pretense of being a Dickensian thriller, with a young thief sent to help seduce a naïve heiress out of her fortune. You’ll think you know the twist, but trust me: You will never see it coming.
13. The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
The Girl on the Train had me on the edge of my seat the entire time. The twist got me going, "What the actual fuck just happened?!? No way!" — just not at all what I suspected. You will be asking yourself so many questions throughout.
14. I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh
This book is better than Girl on the Train and Gone Girl by far. The first half of the book starts slow, but when you get to the first twist it completely blows your mind. I read for 6 hours straight and skipped dinner to finish it!
Not one twist, but two...and the final one is an absolute stunner. The nice thing: Even if you jump to the end and read the last few pages, you won't get it unless you've read everything that goes before. Fantastic.
15. The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie
The Murder of Roger Akroyd is just amazing. The book isn't your usual fast-paced thriller, so it gives you time to try to guess who the culprit(s) is/are. And then you'll be staring at the last page with your mouth wide open.
16. Die Again by Tess Gerritsen
From Boston to Botswana and back again, this is classic Rizzoli and Isles: an epic crime-solving quest run through with derring-do and drama aplenty. Die Again brings whole new meaning to "predator vs. prey" — rawr!
17. The Good Girl by Mary Kubica
One night, Mia Dennett enters a bar to meet her on-again, off-again boyfriend. But when he doesn't show, she unwisely leaves with an enigmatic stranger. At first Colin Thatcher seems like a safe one-night stand. But following Colin home will turn out to be the worst mistake of Mia's life. —from the publisher
The novel captured and kept my attention, but the ending — down to the very last word — blew me away. No other book has ever left me so speechless.
18. Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon
Madeline is allergic to basically everything, but when a new boy moves in next door, she'll risk everything just to meet him. This huge twist ruined my life, and I hated it. Warning: don't read this if you get angry at books easily...
19. The Dark Tower series by Stephen King
The whole Dark Tower series by Stephen King is unbelievably amazing, but the final twist in the last book just left me reeling. I tried to guess how the story was going to end the entire time I was reading it, and I never once saw it coming. Totally blew my mind — I STILL think about it!
20. Dear Mr. M by Herman Koch
A book-within-a-book about strange neighbors, missing persons, young lovers, and the brilliant writer who brings them all together — yeah, sometimes you can barely trust the words you're reading! But that's what makes Dear Mr. M so gripping, slippery, and smart.
21. The Death Cure by James Dashner
I'd already read the first two Maze Runner books, so I thought I knew what I was in for in the conclusion. But then... I was walking and reading and had to literally stop to process it. Needless to say, I cried horribly right there on the street.
22. The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton
During a picnic at her family’s farm in the English countryside, 16-year-old Laurel Nicolson witnesses a shocking crime, a crime that challenges everything she knows about her adored mother, Dorothy. Now, 50 years later, Laurel and her sisters are meeting at the farm to celebrate Dorothy’s 90th birthday. Realizing that this is her last chance to discover the truth about that long-ago day, Laurel searches for answers that can only be found in Dorothy’s past. — from the publisher
I'm a really great plot twist guesser but this book messed with my head in the best way. The whole story was so interesting and compelling which is what made the twist so good — it was so shocking and not used as a cheap ploy. I finished it and sat just thinking for 20 minutes because I was so shocked.
23. The Girl with All the Gifts by M.R. Carey
Every morning, Melanie waits in her cell to be collected for class. When they come for her, Sergeant keeps his gun pointing at her while two of his people strap her into the wheelchair. She thinks they don't like her. She jokes that she won't bite, but they don't laugh. —from the publisher
Wow. I never saw the ending coming!
24. The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin
This is the way the world ends...for the last time. It starts with the great red rift across the heart of the world, spewing ash that blots out the sun. It starts with death, with a murdered son and a missing daughter. It starts with betrayal, and long dormant wounds rising up to fester. This is the Stillness, a land long familiar with catastrophe, where the power of the earth is wielded as a weapon. And where there is no mercy. —from the publisher
The plot twist in this one hit me like a train! I think it was the fascinating premise and interesting characters that kept distracting me.
25. The Queen of the Night by Alexander Chee
Lilliet Berne is a sensation of the Paris Opera, a legendary soprano with every accolade except an original role, every singer’s chance at immortality. When one is finally offered to her, she realizes with alarm that the libretto is based on a hidden piece of her past. Only four could have betrayed her: one is dead, one loves her, one wants to own her. And one, she hopes, never thinks of her at all. —from the publisher
This thing is just pure magic. New clues and characters and drama around every corner, and all set in such an enchanting era. I couldn’t pull myself away!
26. Gentlemen and Players by Joanne Harris
St. Oswald's Grammar School for Boys seems is coming apart at the seams as increasingly serious incidents befall its students. Who's behind the madness — and why? I got to the twist while on a train and it took a lot of self-control to not start telling strangers about it. Honestly, it's just too good not to read. Plus, I need more people to have read it so I can discuss it!
27. Everlost by Neal Shusterman
Nick and Allie don’t survive the car accident, but their souls don’t exactly get where they’re supposed to go either. Instead, they’re caught halfway between life and death, in a sort of limbo known as Everlost: a shadow of the living world, filled with all the things and places that no longer exist. —from the publisher
This twist totally changed everything I thought I’d known about the entire series. I just had to put the book down and walk away.
28. You by Caroline Kepnes
The book reads from the perspective of a somewhat-awkward-yet-charming-psychopath — that's all I'll tell you. It's a kind of thriller/horror genre that I'd never read before, but I was immediately hooked — and read it in a matter of hours. Could. Not. Stop.
29. The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield
Vida Winter, a bestselling English author, has a very... mysterious past. You discover and uncover her life as she recounts it for a new tell-all biography, and people will tell you the twist is insane — but you'll still never know what hit you 'til it hits you.
30. Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt
How surprising can a work of nonfiction really be? If you're asking that question, then you definitely haven't read Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. A man stands trial for the murder of a renowned male hustler, but that's just the tip of the iceberg — because the slice of Savannah, GA presented in this book is absolutely crawling with strange, eccentric, and unpredictable characters who leave you dumbfounded over and over again.
31. The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende
This ain't your typical family saga. Yes, there's the domineering patriarch and rebellious daughter, but also a host of spirits that trickle their way in to twist the tinkerings of fate for the entire Trueba clan. Horrifying, historical, hilarious — this book has a little bit of everything.
32. The Circle by Dave Eggers
This book blew my mind. Everything you think you know and believe about privacy, the pursuit of knowledge, (and the plot!) is completely thrown out the window. I was left reeling for literally months after I finished.
33. Bittersweet by Miranda Beverly-Whittemore
Bittersweet is like a beach read with some zest. Mabel is infatuated by her wealthy college roommate Ev, who goes on to invite her to stay at her family’s posh place for the summer. But soon, Mabel learns that the idyllic setting she so envied is undercut by some seriously ugly deeds. The fast-pacing and strange twists and turns forced me to finish the book in a day — and then beg my friend to read it so I could talk about the ending.
34. Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
Tommy, Kathy, and Ruth are coming to terms with their adolescence growing up at an elite — and unusual —British boarding school. Why exactly was their upbringing so special? The disturbing secret is for you to find out!
35. In the Courtyard of the Kabbalist by Ruchama King
So many faiths, fates, loves, and lives collide in this book: It's a novel full of wisdom, humor, and an ending that gave me an unforgettable AH HAH and OH WONDERFUL moment.
36. My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante
A more subtle story that made me gasp nevertheless, the first Neapolitan novel all hinges on a surprising shift in perspective. Who exactly is "my brilliant friend"?
37. Shutter Island by Dennis Lehane
I don’t care if you’ve seen Leo totally killin’ it in the movie version — you need to read this book. What starts with a missing patient on the grounds of Ashecliffe Hospital for the Criminally Insane becomes so much more, in every sinister, spine-tingling way possible. I get chills just *thinking* about all the crazy shit that goes down in this thing.
Note: Entries have been edited for clarity and length.
#36 has been updated to better reflect the contributor's original submission.