Little Monsters, by Kara Thomas, is a psychological thriller with twists and turns that will keep you guessing right until the very last line (no peeking).
From the publisher:
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.
Which is why it’s so odd when her closest friends, Bailey and Jade, 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.
Little Monsters builds tension into almost every relationship in the book. I find this to be a hallmark of great thrillers. It leaves the reader constantly on edge.
Kacey has fled a troubled relationship with her mother (in my hometown of Rochester, NY!) to live with a father she doesn’t know and a reluctant stepmother. Her stepbrother and half-sister are slow to accept her, and are each guarding their own secrets. Kacey makes a couple of friends at school (Bailey and Jade) who draw her into their existing drama with other students. As Kacey tries to find out what happened to Bailey, we readers are left wondering whether she’s a reliable narrator. And even at the end, with the mystery solved and people moving on with their lives, Kara Thomas delivers one last gut punch.
Kara has spoken about her love of true crime stories and is often compared to Gillian Flynn (author of Gone Girl). Little Monsters proves this to be an apt comparison. While there are some elements of a horror story in Little Monsters, almost everything that happens could have been ripped-from-the-headlines.
I really enjoyed this book and I’m looking forward to reading her latest, The Cheerleaders.