Published by Random House Children's Books on July 25th 2017
Genres: Young Adult Fiction, Mysteries & Detective Stories, Social Themes, Death & Dying, Friendship
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.
Little Monsters is one of those compelling young adult novels that have you questioning everything you ever knew about friendship. It’s intoxicating, addictive, and it made me glad that, in this age of social media, I was a teenager in the early 00s when iPhone’s were just a speck in Steve Jobs’ eye. I’ve been on the receiving end of bullying, from supposed friends, and girls can be horrible to each other. I genuinely believe, also, that girls can be way, way worse than boys when it comes to bitchiness, to being two-faced, to all of that. Lasses turn on each other at the blink of an eye, and it’s an awful thing to have to face.
I started Little Monsters with no idea what to expect really – there aren’t many young adult thrillers on the market, but this was incredible. It was fast-paced, almost frantic at times, with the speed it moved and I actually really liked Kacey. Moving away from your home, to a new family you barely know is so hard. Then to have to start a new school and make new friends, it’s all so much pressure and stress but not only that, it seemed like Kacey went through some things in New York, with her mom. She seems like this lovely girl, but then you see glimpses that maybe all isn’t as it seemed (and I actually was a bit disappointed the book didn’t go into that more – it seemed like Kacey’s rage was a real issue, but it kinda just got swept under the rug. FWIW, I get rage like that for no reason – say the Internet is playing up and a page won’t load, I get angry enough to want to throw my phone (but common sense prevails)).
I also love toxic friendships. I shouldn’t, but I always find them super compelling and the trio of Kacey, Bailey and Jade was toxic to the extreme, the way that Bailey played them like fiddles, and manipulated things, like ignoring Kasey the night of the party where Bailey goes missing, was insane. There’s a part that bugs me girls let this kind of behaviour go, in the name of friendship, but then there’s the other part who loved these types of novels so lets it go. But even before Bailey goes missing, there was something wrong with those three – the whole vibe you get is intense and unreal and you just know there are things going to come out that will be shocking, but not surprising.
It’s been a while since I’ve felt so caught up in a novel. The breakneck pace certainly helped, because it felt like your foot was on the gas the whole time, and I had no idea what had happened to Bailey. I assumed she was dead, but I had no idea who the culprit was (actually, I did, but I got the wrong person – I was way off base). This is the type of novel that truly doesn’t let up – the kind of novel you don’t want to stop reading, either, because you’re so desperate to know if Kacey DOES know more about Bailey’s disappearance, if she was involved at all? And just generally what on Earth happened to Bailey. Not because I liked Bailey (I didn’t), but because you just have to know.
Kara Thomas can write a cracking thriller, let me tell you. Little Monsters was an incredible read, from beginning to end. It ended had a decent ending so bravo, Kara – perhaps you can teach other thriller writers that it’s OK to actually write a good ending in a thriller, it doesn’t all have to be open ended or left hanging. Probably my only issue, is that during the novel there’s mention of something between Kacey and her step-brother Andrew. They are not blood related AT ALL, FYI, her dad is married to his mom, but that isn’t the point. My point is that I kinda felt there was something there?! Maybe it was just platonic, like family, like Kacey finally felt she had a family member she could trust but, I don’t know, my romance detectors were tingling… Apart from that, this was a top notch book.