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.
Praise for Little Monsters:
"Thomas creates a disturbing portrait of how bad news and gossip can curdle when mixed together."-Oprah.com
"An eerie and masterly psychological thriller...[that] culminates in a shocking and disturbing ending. Thomas expertly captures the pointed nuances and the fickle, manipulative bonds of adolescent girls’ friendships."-SLJ
"Taut and suspenseful...this gritty page-turner will easily hook a broad range of readers"-Booklist
"An intense psychological thriller that all but ensures the lights will be left on between dusk and dawn."-Publishers Weekly
"Gritty and realistic...this mystery will leave readers in awe."-VOYA
"A twisted story of obsession and manipulation, Little Monsters captivated me right up to its surprising conclusion—and left me wondering how well I really know my friends."-Chelsea Sedoti, author of The Hundred Lies of Lizzie Lovett
|Publisher:||Random House Children's Books|
|Product dimensions:||6.40(w) x 9.20(h) x 1.30(d)|
|Age Range:||14 - 17 Years|
About the Author
Kara Thomas has written for everything from her high school newspaper to Warner Bros. Television. She is a true-crime addict who lives on Long Island with her husband and rescue cat. She is the author of The Darkest Corners, Little Monsters, and The Cheerleaders. To learn more about Kara and her books, visit her at kara-thomas.com or follow @karatwrites on Twitter and @kara_thomas on Instagram.
Read an Excerpt
They fire off a round of texts at me five minutes after midnight:
They’re not threats, but my friends have a way of making even the simplest demands feel like ultimatums. Sneak out. I don’t have a choice: if I say no, they’ll make sure I’m fully aware of how much fun they had without me.
But then again, it’s cold, and not the normal kind of cold. It’s Broken Falls, Wisconsin, Dead of Winter cold.
No one warned me about the winters before I moved here. The books and movies are right that Christmas in Wisconsin is magical, with the barns glowing under white string lights, fresh-cut Christmas trees visible through scalloped windows.
But everything that comes after is just cruel. Wind-whipped sheets of snow so thick you can’t move through them. Mornings where above freezing is the best thing you’ll hear all day. Layers of ice on your windshield that take ages to chip off.
And February. February is just the biggest asshole. February makes you feel like you’ll never see the sun again.
My plan was to go to bed early and avoid the inevitable texts from Bailey and Jade. Are you up? You better be up! My friends’ restlessness is in direct proportion to how miserable and gray it is outside.
Tonight, though: tonight is so clear you can count the stars like they’re diamonds.
I text back: guys I’m so tired
Bailey: We’re doing the thing tonight.
The skin on the back of my neck pricks. The thing. The thing was Bailey’s idea; almost everything is Bailey’s idea. I take a deep breath to slow my suddenly skittish heart. I could call them, tell them I’m not coming, but they’ll just make fun of me for being scared.
There’s shuffling outside my bedroom door. The lamp on my nightstand is on. My stepmom, probably, coming to scold me for being up so late.
“Kacey?” A tiny voice. Definitely not Ashley, whose voice carries over hill and sea. My stepmom’s constantly talking, sucking up all the air so my half sister can barely get a word in.
I fire off another text to Bailey: I can’t come. Sorry.
“You can come in,” I say. Lauren pokes her head inside the room. She reminds me of a doll: Dark, blunt bangs. Porcelain skin. Round head, a little too big for her body. We have the same eyes—wide hazel ones that prompted a particularly nasty freshman at my old high school to call me that freaky Bambi bitch.
I fluff out the comforter to make room for Lauren to crawl underneath with me. “You okay?”
Lauren hugs her knees. She’s wearing fleece sock-monkey pajamas. There’s something about my sister that makes her seem younger than most kids her age; she still cries when she falls off her bike and bleeds. Tonight there’s a raw pink strip over her upper lip from the cold.
“Keelie is texting me pictures from Emma’s party,” she whispers.
I want to fold my sister into a hug. Squeeze the sad out of her. Emma Michaels lives down the road—she’s been Lauren’s best friend since preschool. But Lauren isn’t at Emma’s thirteenth birthday sleepover right now, because Keelie March told Emma not to invite her.
Keelie is thirteen, like Lauren, but she fills out her leotards in a way that makes the dance dads want to wait in the car. I saw Keelie in the parking lot over the summer, when I went with my stepbrother, Andrew, to pick Lauren up from her Saturday-morning class. Noticed the way Keelie watched Andrew from the corner of her eye as she lifted her leg onto the ramp rail- ing in a perfect stretch. Sweat glistening between cleavage that even I didn’t have. It was sweltering out; Keelie was twelve going on twenty, staring at a seventeen-year-old boy like he was a Popsicle.
“They’re drinking wine coolers,” Lauren says. “That’s why I wasn’t invited.”
I think of the American Girl dolls still set up in Lauren’s room, arranged around a tea set like they’re waiting for a party that’s never going to happen. I know she won’t play with them because the girls at school have already packed theirs up and put them in the attic.
Those girls are thirteen and drinking. I should call Emma’s house and tell her mother what’s going on in that bedroom. Then I remember the things that went on in my house when I was thirteen.
“Do you want me to block Keelie’s number from your phone?” I ask Lauren.
She shakes her head, sending a tear down her cheek. “I just really wish I was there.”
I’m about to tell her fuck Keelie March and those other dumb girls, you have me, when headlights flash through my bedroom window. My room faces Sparrow Road, the outer edge of our cul-de-sac. It’s what Bailey and Jade branded the perfect loading spot for a sneak-out. And it seems that despite my texts, they came anyway.
Bailey flashes her high beams; then there’s darkness. Lauren frowns. “Who’s that?”
“Just Bailey and Jade,” I answer, fumbling for my phone. I’ll tell them Lauren is awake. I definitely can’t come out now.
“Are you guys going somewhere?” I hear the hopeful lilt in her voice.“No—we were just—”
Snow crunching outside my window. Bailey’s face, illuminated by the light from the phone under her chin. She makes a ghostlike bwahahaha noise and I jump, even though I’m looking right at her. Jade appears next to her. Adjusts the messy bun sitting atop her head and taps on my window with one finger.
I dart over and raise the glass. Bailey mashes her face against the screen, makes a pig nose. “Ready to go?” she whispers.
I cringe. Even when Bailey whispers, she’s loud.
I think of nosy Mrs. Lao next door, probably perched in the armchair by her living room window with a Sudoku book. A small wooded clearing separates us from the Laos, but in the winter, when the trees are bare, the slightest noise from our house is enough to send Mrs. Lao’s Yorkie, Jerome, into a bark- ing fit.
Jade notices Lauren sitting on my bed before Bailey does. She nudges Bailey and flicks her eyes to me, as if to say, What the hell is she doing here?
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This book was hard to put down! The story kept moving. Many twists and turns with an unexpected ending. Highly recommend!
When I saw Little Monsters by Kara Thomas on NetGalley, I jumped at the chance to read it. The book description drew me in and I had to know what happened. I am glad I was approved - this book took me on a thrilling ride from start to finish. It was so engaging I finished it in less than two days. I have this book to so many people, because after finishing it, I couldn't stop thinking about it and wanted to discuss it with someone! The story is told from the main character, Kacey's point of view and alternates with entries from her friend, Bailey's journal. She has somewhat of a troubled past and moves to a new town - a small town - with her father, step-mom, and their other children. We meet Kacey as she is about to reluctantly sneak out with her friends Jade and Bailey. Her younger half sister, Lauren, follows them, as they sneak to the towns local haunted spot. While there, something so scary happens that Lauren, is very messed up over it. I'm not going to tell you what - because that would spoil the surprise. Then Bailey disappears. Kacey gets involved in trying to find Bailey and we discover that no one is as they appear. There are so many twists in this book - and so many of the characters are just awful people. It reminded me somewhat of Gillian Flynn's books. It's very sordid and twisted and shocking but it really draws you in. Reading Bailey's journal entries was chilling. I have not read Kara Thomas's first standalone, Darkest Corner's - but I have since read her newest book The Cheerleaders, and it's equally twisted. She has become one of my favorite authors. Her writing is very creepy and her characters are very human and very flawed.
I picked this one up after I finished reading an ARC of THE CHEERLEADERS, and I'm so happy that I did. LITTLE MONSTERS is dark and creepy, and I found myself second-guessing everything and everyone at every turn. There was an impending sense of dread that had me racing through this one, and I love how it was written.
Little Monsters is an engaging thriller about the lengths some dangerous girls will go to. Kacey's new best friends seem to be keeping secrets from her, but the biggest secret is when one of them goes missing and winds up dead. Now, the town is looking at a variety of suspects, but she is also a person of interest as the authorities think she knows something but is hiding it or protecting someone. Very soon, she is unsure of where the clues are leading her, and whether she even knew her friend well enough. There is also an urban legend plotline mixed in which adds to the thrill of the story and general creepiness of the atmosphere. Within her house, she is unsure of her position with her family, considering her own history of anger management issues, and how losing her cool would affect her relationships with others. Meanwhile, an insidious rumor is spreading around about her, and she doesn't know how it did. The story is so well-constructed, you see how the pieces connect as the story goes on, especially when we get snippets of Bailey's journal spliced in throughout the book at appropriate intervals. There are a lot of red herrings, as you would expect from a mystery novel, and I was so caught up in them, I overlooked the possibility of the killer revealed at the end. (That was an amazing twist, by the way). Also, there is no romance in this book, and considering what caused the murder, it was a good choice! The only part which went off was the last few chapters, when it shifts from the mystery and starts recounting everything in a clinical form, giving us the 'what happened next' but still kinda breaking the atmosphere set up. This book is dark, and a bit vicious, and you will love it. The characters are not good nor bad, all in complicated shades of grey. There are chilling choices, and there is a little horror mixed in. Overall, a treat for mystery lovers! Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review from Delacorte Press, via Netgalley.
With a tag saying that its perfect for fans of Pretty Little Liars I was immediately intrigued. I loved the PLL TV show for the first couple seasons (I haven’t had time to catch up!) so I knew I had to give this a shot! I don’t think I have ever read a mystery (maybe the Nancy Drew books when I was young but nothing in YA). I wasn’t sure if I would like it since it was so out of my usual reading range but decided to branch out and try it. I was pleasantly surprised with how much I absolutely love this book! It kept me reading all day and night and I flew through it! Kasey was so likable from the start! She has a genuine love and concern for her family and thats just so nice to see. She came from such a broken and hard background that it made it hard for me to feel for her. She had just moved in with a father who she knew nothing about, and got a family right along with it. What I loved most about her was the ability to protect and care of herself, she wasn’t just a needy teenager. Honestly all the other characters were just decent in my opinion. I didn’t really love or hate any of them. I was super suspicious of all of them at times! Honestly her “best friends” Bailey and Jade bugged me to no end! For some reason they seemed to be the evil villains here. I was hooked from the first line. Kara Thomas weaves in characters and events that are just impossible to not believe! It’s like that this could happen even in my small town. I felt like I was right there with Kasey as she tried to solve this mystery! There was just layer upon layer set out right in front of me and I had no idea what to believe! One of the things that really pulled me in was the diary entries from Bailey, it was such a nice add in! I felt even more connected to the story because I was able to get inside her head as well as Kasey’s. The entries set me even more on edge than I already was! I think my favorite part was that I never guessed who actually was the culprit. I had guesses all throughout but never anything concrete enough to place bets on. It may be because I don’t read mysteries ever, but I believe it had a lot to do with the way that Kara Thomas set up the plot. My biggest issue was the pacing. I felt like there were a few too many places where not a lot was happening and Kasey was just there, not doing anything. Mostly it was just before the halfway point that the slow parts drug me down, after that you couldn’t tear the book from my hands!
Little Monsters is a pretty twisted story. Kacey’s friends Jade and Bailey begin freezing her out after an incident at a supposedly haunted barn, and she’s not quite sure why. They go to a party without her, but then she can’t even really confront they about it because Bailey doesn’t come home the night of the party. Jade does reach out to Kacey to help determine what happened to Bailey, but suddenly Kacey’s step-brother is a suspect and things get a little out of hand. This book was disturbing to say the least. I thought I’d read great reviews, so I recommended it to my YA book club. None of us like it all that much. Kacey’s family situation was a bit strange. She went to live with her father and his family after having major issues with her mother, but then her father wasn’t even really in the book. He worked weird hours because he was a surgeon (I think). Her step-mother handle everything and kind of resented him for it. It had both unnecessary parent drama, and it kind of seemed like Kara Thomas didn’t want to write a father into the story. It kind of bothered me. Throughout the book, the reader is given glimpses into Bailey’s mind through journal entries, which get more and more upsetting as the book progresses. This book kind of reminded me of Gone Girl a little in that it made me wonder how the author came up with something so messed up. Needless to say, I did feel compelled to finish the book because I needed to know what had happened to Bailey, although I had my suspicions (which were wrong). But I didn’t really enjoy this book. Nor do I think it’s one that you need to read, unless you like twisted stories. http://opinionatedbooklover.com/review-little-monsters-by-kara-thomas/
It's been a while that a book has kept me up until the wee hours of the morning just because I am determined to find out what in the book hell is going on with it. It's also been a very long while that a book has me literally running to my room at the end of the night because monsters are everywhere and it's the wee hours of the morning (thanks there, book). This book is literally the perfect Halloween read, and it was finally the creepy, spooky book I was looking for to read this month. I've read previous books by Kara Thomas before, and it really seems that she gets better with each and every book. Her writing style was fantastic in this one, and I loved the way that she separated Kacey's and Bailey's voice. She also made everything feel so dark, desolate, and like this really was straight out of a horror movie. The atmosphere she created of a small town in the middle of a harsh winter, full of legends of murderous ghosts and backstabbing townspeople - well, I was hooked. I truly felt I was in this town with Kacey, and I loved it. Having read YA thrillers for a while now, I used to the whole unreliable narrator thing. Literally, I just read one sentence of the book now and go, oh, hello, unreliable narrator, you're a thing now. However, Thomas took it in a different approach. I totally thought certain things would be cliche (shady dark past for our narrator, etc, etc), but even if they were cliche, Thomas made them her own and it never became cliche at all. It felt brand new, and the mystery remained unsolved for me. Lately, I've been guessing the killer in every mystery I read, but I had some major doubt on who actually did it in this one. At some point, I just stopped guessing and let the story take me on the journey it was supposed to. I also really did like Kacey as a narrator. It was so interesting to be in her mind, especially when she starts realizing that the townspeople were starting to turn on her. She is a complex character, and it is amazing to see how she has changed as a person. I was fully invested in her, and the rest of the characterization for the book was nicely done as well. Thomas also showed a lot of growth in characters - good and bad - and it truly brilliant to see it unravel overtime. Thomas always does a marvelous job of making forget that I usually need a ship in a book. I didn't care if people got together or not because I was so engrossed in the mystery that I had to keep reading. Overall, this was a wonderful read that had me on the edge of my seat, guessing until the very end, and running quickly away from the darkness. Even though there are mentions of my favorite ghosties, it was the humans that frightened me a bit more in this story. I think it was missing a little something from making it a favorite, but it still such a solid five crown read. You're definitely going to want to pick this up for the Halloween season! Five crowns and a Tiana rating!
“Little Monsters” is a young adult thriller that will satisfy both the ya audience and adult readers. The mystery is well-written and keeps the reader guessing throughout. Even when you think you know the bad guy, you keep second-guessing yourself. A very enjoyable read that I recommend to any fan of the mystery and thriller genres. This unbiased review is based upon a complimentary copy provided by the publisher.
Thanks to NetGalley and Random House Children's for the opportunity to read and review Little Monsters by Kara Thomas! Kacey and her younger stepsister, Lauren, sneak out of the house with Bailey and Jade, two of Kacey's friends. On a Friday night, they venture to the local haunted site and the snowy roof collapses in on them. They're spooked and run away. Alternately, Bailey tells the story of the night she supposedly caused the popular high school football player to wreck and her story continues to be told throughout the rest of the book using her journal entries in interspersing chapters. Bailey and Jade attend a party and Bailey is not seen again. She's reported missing and the community rallies together to help find her. The suspect list changes and grows while Bailey is still missing and presumed dead by most of the community. The suspicion and the suspense keep twisting and kept me riveted to the very end. 5 stars for this realistic mystery!
Originally posted on bayyinwonderland.wordpress.com Wow was this a mind trip. Talk about never trusting anyone else again. I was a little wary at the start of this book, not sure where it was going but man was I hooked after Bailey’s disappearance. Kacey was a really fleshed out character and I connected with her on so many levels. From her abusive home, to feeling alone. She really spoke to me. Yet again, however, I don’t get the lying. I don’t care what would happen to me at home I’d rather tell the truth so the police don’t think I’m a suspect. Yet characters always lie and incriminate themselves even further. The twist on this one was just flawless. I never ever saw it coming and I usually always see them coming. Thinking back now, there were plenty of small hints and clues thrown in. Like all good mysteries have. The pace kept me on the edge of my seat and I suspected everyone. From Bailey killing herself to Kacey doing it herself. From the creepy séance, to nasty rumors, this one definitely keeps your head in a spin. Pick this one up if you need a good thriller. I promise you won’t be disappointed.
The synopsis of this book was exactly my favorite type of story and I can't believe I waited so long to read it. Kacey is an interesting MC. She's got a lot of baggage and it definitely shapes the way she acts and the face she shows everyone. It was interesting to be in her head while reading the decisions she makes. I'm. It going to say anything else about the other characters because I don't want to ruin anything. Plot wise, it was everything I could have asked for. I didn't trust anyone, I was second guessing every word out of everyone's mouth, and just when I thought I had it figured out, something else would pop up. There are journal entries scattered throughout and it's a genius idea to show a different perspective...again, spoilers. Overall, it was a quick and captivating read. I'm sure I'll be reading it again, just to see if I can find the hints this time. **Huge thanks to Delacorte Press for providing the arc free of charge**
I’m such a sucker for any novel boasting the comparison of a Pretty Little Liars reading experience; I’m not certain if it’s because I love revisiting the high school scene (albeit only in my mind) or if I just love books filled with drama, but this story had both and I was pleased as punch. Little Monsters is my second read from author Kara Thomas and certainly won’t be my last. I feel there was night and day growth that happened between the two books; this type of advancement between novels is precisely what I’m looking at when I’m searching for new authors to put on my crowded “Must Read” list. For those readers who aren’t fans of dramatic YA novels that are unrealistic, this is probably not for you. The story here is highly fictional in many ways, but honestly I felt that is what made the book so delicious! *TIP TOE TIP TOE*
I read Kara Thomas' other book The Darkest Corners and was completely blown away so I knew I had to read Little Monsters. But I was afraid. I was afraid I was hyping it up too much in my mind and that I was going to end up being bitterly disappointed in what I found between the covers of the book. I was afraid that there was no waqy that Kara Thomas could live up to my very high expectations that I know have of her thanks to The Darkest Corners. Eventually I did manage to put my fears aside and read the book (how else would I be writing this review...I am the queen of the obvious right now I guess..) and OMG. In Little Monsters we have our cast of characters with our main one being Kacey. Kacey is a bit newer to her tiny town. However, she has made friends with a couple of other girls - Bailey and Jade - and they have been more or less inseparable. Then one day, for reasons Kacey isn't quite sure of, her friends have cut her out. She is expecting them to force her to go to a party she doesn't really want to go to, but they never call or come to pick her up. Did she do something at their failed sceance the night before to make them mad? Was it because her little sister ended up tagging along? She cannot help, but wonder what it is she did and they aren't telling her. But Kasey doesn't get to ask them because Bailey never gets home from that party....instead she goes missing. Then things unravel. Things are learned about the truth of each of the girls involved. And it really is just a mess. An incredible well plotted out mess. Kara Thomas is a master at twisting her plot this way and that. You never quite know where she is going to take her story. For awhile she will cause you to think A, and then something happens and you are thinking B.... And then all of a sudden you are on D....and back to A. It is intense and wonderful and such a fantastic ride the whole way through! Honestly, I am still kinda tripped out by a bit in the end. And I really hope Kara revisits these characters at some point. I think she could really have another story in there some where for us. Maybe not with Kacey as the focal point, but I wouldn't mind it at all. Filled with amazing plot twists that will keep you on your toes, Kara Thomas delivers us a fantastic second novel. She has proven to me that she is not a one trick pony and I anxiously await her next book! This review is based on an eARC provided by the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review. All thoughts and opinions are mine and mine alone. Find more of my reviews here: https://readingwithcupcakes.blogspot.com/