Title: Little Monsters
Author: Kara Thomas
Genre: YA, mystery, thriller
Format: physical ARC received at YALLFest
Release Date: July 25th, 2017
Synopsis: 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.
Hi friends, before I start on my review I’d just like to apologize for being absent the last week! My senior year of high school just began as of Thursday (we started school on a Thursday this year, don’t ask why), and life has been quite hectic to say the least. I’m hoping to find a solid blogging schedule for the school year so that I still remain active on here, but it’ll probably take a while for me to figure out.
With that out of the way, on to Little Monsters! I previously picked up an arc of this book at YALLFest 2016 in November… and just now got around to reading it. I don’t generally read a lot of mysteries/thrillers/horror novels, but every time I pick one up I always want to read more of the genre. Little Monsters was no exception. This twisted, YA “whodunnit” tale kept me guessing all the way till I turned the final page!
Above all else, this book is just an excellent mystery. I wouldn’t go so far as to call it a thriller (for reasons I will get to later in the review), but the author weaves such a complex tale of lies, secrets, and deception that I couldn’t foresee what the ending was going to be like in the slightest. Kara also does a mesmerizing job at cleverly laying clues and hints throughout the book; every little event and line of dialogue comes into play at some point! The ending is definitely satisfying, and ties together all of the plot threads in a really fun, surprising way.
Little Monsters has a somewhat psychological component that I enjoyed as well. It closely analyzes what goes on in each teenage girl’s mind as they must navigate their way through tumultuous friendships and family crises in a bottle neck of high school drama. Each girl behaves and responds differently, I really loved seeing those perspectives examined. The author never misses an opportunity to explore these girls’ backstories, particularly in Bailey’s diary entries, which I enjoyed reading immensely!
“That was when I decided that all the ghost stories got it wrong: evil isn’t a spirit or a monster or a ghost. It lives inside regular people, and it doesn’t know the difference between night and day.”
The story is set amongst a dark, snowy winter in a lonely, small town that I just adored. It provided those classic mystery vibes of trees creaking in the wind, and storms howling through the night, while remaining very modern and realistic. For this reason and the ending (which I won’t go into detail about because #spoilers), I really recommend Little Monsters to fans of the mystery queen, Agatha Christie. This pays homage to many of her famous novels and I think it really helps make the classic mystery genre appeal to a younger generation!
Although I didn’t find the individual characters and their development to be the strongest characteristic of the book, I can’t deny that every person played an interesting (and vaguely suspicious…) role. I suspected every character at some point! Kara does a great job of making no one appear safe. Aside from that, I did find many of the characters to be a bit flat and replaceable.
My only real issue with Little Monsters was, frankly, that I went in expecting something very different. So, I will warn you all in attempt to save you from the same fate. This book may be labeled as a “thriller,” but I personally did not find it to be scary at all. There were no real moments of suspense, where my heart pounds and my face sweats because the character is slooowly opening a door and they have no idea what (or who) is behind it. That doesn’t exist in Little Monsters. There is one scary ghost story that the book revolves around that I liked, but overall I would not define this as a thriller. I wasn’t thrilled. I was intrigued and mystified and a bit confused, but not held in that place of suspense that defines most thrillers for me. This is really a mystery (or maybe a crime novel), through and through. Also, the pace could’ve been a bit faster for my liking.
Overall, I highly recommend this book to all mystery lovers, Little Monsters is sure to keep you flipping pages in an attempt to unravel the past, present, and future of three girls that let a night of mischief turn disastrously wrong.
Have you read Little Monsters? What did you think? What are some of your favorite YA mysteries?
Psst I finally made rating graphics!!