Author: Kara Thomas
Genre: YA, Contemporary, Mystery, Thriller
Pub Date: July 25, 2017
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Source: ARC from #booksfortrade
For fans of Pretty Little Liars, Little Monsters is a new psychological thriller, from the author of The Darkest Corners, about appearances versus reality and the power of manipulation amongst teenage girls.
Kacey is the new girl in Broken Falls. When she moved in with her father, she stepped into a brand-new life. A life with a stepbrother, a stepmother, and strangest of all, an adoring younger half sister.
Kacey’s new life is eerily charming compared with the wild highs and lows of the old one she lived with her volatile mother. And everyone is so nice in Broken Falls—she’s even been welcomed into a tight new circle of friends. Bailey and Jade invite her to do everything with them.
Which is why it’s so odd when they start acting distant. And when they don’t invite her to the biggest party of the year, it doesn’t exactly feel like an accident.
But Kacey will never be able to ask, because Bailey never makes it home from that party. Suddenly, Broken Falls doesn’t seem so welcoming after all—especially once everyone starts looking to the new girl for answers.
Kacey is about to learn some very important lessons: Sometimes appearances can be deceiving. Sometimes when you’re the new girl, you shouldn’t trust anyone.
Ahh, thrillers. My current obsession. Usually, I only read adult thrillers, which is a little silly, because I’m obviously a huge fan of YA. So when I saw this YA thriller at ALA, I snatched it up. The blurb sounded promising, and the comparison to PLL made me intrigued.
Was it accurate? If you consider PLL a mysterious, twisty, disturbing thriller, then yes! (Also, if anyone has read Gillian Flynn, this book is like a mashup of Sharp Objects and Dark Places).
This book relies a lot on teenage girls, so the characters needed to be stellar in order to pull it off. Our main character, Kacey, is likable enough. I didn’t *love* her, but she was still an interesting person to be in the mind of. She’s said to be a little rough around the edges, but I didn’t really see much of that on the page. However, some of the other characters are….wow.
Bailey and Jade, Kacey’s two best friends, seem like they could belong on Pretty Little Liars (the good seasons, not the bad ones). I never knew which one to trust–if any of them–because they were always being sneaky little assholes to Kacey. The other characters, like Lauren, Kacey’s half-sister, her stepbrother, and stepmom are also pretty well developed. I do wish there was more of Detective Burke in the story, but overall, the characters were strong and well rounded.
Throughout the story, there are diary entries from the missing girl, Bailey. It’s fascinating to see how her mind changes over the course of ~a year. I know teenage girls can change a *ton* in the span of 12 months (I am one, after all), but reading it on the page was a different story. No spoilers, but I definitely think the inclusion of the entries was smart, and it gave the whole story an uneasy edge.
The only reason I’m giving it 4 stars instead of 5 was the pacing. There were lulls in the book where Kacey was doing a lot of sleuthing, but no real action was happening. I get that Kacey is a teenager, but I wanted more significant events to happen. The lulls all happened before the halfway mark. After that, I couldn’t tear myself away from the book. Things were wild!
I was really satisfied with the ending. I didn’t have a concrete guess as to whodunnit, so I mostly enjoyed the ride as I read the book. But the ending–it made sense, but whoa, was I surprised. The actual confession, paired with the diary entry that came right before it, was really creepy and unsettling. In the best way possible, of course.
No romance 😦 Surprisingly, I was okay with it though. If anything, I think the inclusion of it would have taken away from the tone of the book.
The last line was the perfect end to an eerie book. It gave me goosebumps. 10/10 will read the author’s previous thriller.
Overall, Little Monsters was unsettling in the best kind of way. With twisted characters and an excellent mystery, it was a thrilling story that kept me on the edge of my seat. Just be careful if you start this at night–I read the first chapter and I had to sleep with the lights on. You’ll definitely look at teenagers, specifically girls, in a new light after this.