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The Cheerleaders

3.79  ·  Rating details ·  32,315 ratings  ·  4,404 reviews
There are no more cheerleaders in the town of Sunnybrook.

First there was the car accident—two girls gone after hitting a tree on a rainy night. Not long after, the murders happened. Those two girls were killed by the man next door. The police shot him, so no one will ever know why he did it. Monica’s sister was the last cheerleader to die. After her suicide, Sunnybrook Hig
Hardcover, 384 pages
Published July 31st 2018 by Delacorte Press
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Kelli Kara Thomas was interviewed by Karen McManus and here's one of Kara's responses

"Where do you get inspiration for your books?

Everywhere! I’m a big tru…more
Kara Thomas was interviewed by Karen McManus and here's one of Kara's responses

"Where do you get inspiration for your books?

Everywhere! I’m a big true-crime junkie—not in a gross, murderer fan club way, but I get obsessive about unsolved crimes. I spend a lot of time on Reddit: Unresolved Mysteries and listening to podcasts like The Vanished. The Cheerleaders was partially inspired by real-life events in a town called Dryden, New York..."

Here's the link for the interview if anyone interested :)

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Average rating 3.79  · 
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 ·  32,315 ratings  ·  4,404 reviews

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Jesse (JesseTheReader)
I read this for an upcoming reading experiment video & I really enjoyed it. I will say that I didn't find it as compelling as her previous book, LITTLE MONSTERS. Which if y'all haven't read little monsters get with the program that book is where it's at fam! Something that kind of stuck out to me were the reactions the characters gave. A lot of times in YA books I don't feel like the characters react to the situations they're in, in a realistic way. This one you could see the mental affects of t ...more
Emma Giordano
Jan 30, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: audiobooks
An okay young adult mystery. Honestly, not my favorite, but still enjoyable.

The Cheerleaders
CW: suicide, murder, death, statutory rape, sexual assault, substance abuse, abortion

One of the things I really like about the story was it’s attention to controversial topics that aren’t often approached in young adult literature. They were approached VERY realistically which was much appreciated. There were some story lines I wish had been deepened, such as the theme of substance use throughout the sto
Chelsea Humphrey
Jul 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: from-publisher
"I am a victim, whether or not I feel like one."
I wanted to include more of this quote, but it contains spoilers, so I'll let you experience the rest of what Monica has to say there when you read the book for yourself. ;)

I know some readers like to write off any type of YA novel as cheap and unworthy of the same type of attention that adult literature receives, but I'm here to tell you that's a load of BS. I've always tried to review each genre of book that I read based on the target audience
Jan 18, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Five years ago, the Sunnybrook High cheerleading squad was disbanded after several members died under tragic circumstances.

Two were lost in a horrific car accident, two were murdered at the hands of a psychopathic neighbor and the last, Jenn, took her own life after being purportedly wracked by survivor's guilt.

In an effort to keep the girl's spirits alive, their high school is now organizing a memorial event in their honor.

Monica, Jenn's little sister, gets asked to participate an
Khanh, first of her name, mother of bunnies
I've enjoyed the author's Prep School Confidential series, so I had high hopes for this one. I wasn't disappointed. It did drag on a little, but overall, this is an excellent addition to the YA mystery genre.

This isn't a fluffy murder mystery, despite what its title would imply. It deals with some very dark issues. Abortion, suicide, murder.

Its title and description scream TEEN HORROR MOVIE. It's nothing like that. No campiness and slapstick here.

Still, it reads like a YA novel, and I don't mean
Meredith (Slowly Catching Up)
Jul 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
Page-turning mystery!

5 cheerleaders in a small town die, in 3 separate incidents, within a month’s time. Is it a coincidence or is there something sinister going on in the town of Sunnybrook?

“Some people say a curse fell over our town five years ago.”

The Cheerleaders is a compulsively readable YA mystery with a strong, intelligent female lead.

When Monica Rayburn finds her sister’s phone hidden in her stepfather's desk, she begins searching for clues about what might have led her sister, Je
ELLIAS (elliasreads)

I get it. YA is a genre that caters to everyone. But YA Thrillers, in general, are the outcasts lot of the bunch because.....they just suck in general. Sure there are a few hidden gems but these are far too few and too rare to count. I just....when it comes down to in thrillers aren’t that great. High school kids trying to solve these mysteries bigger than themselves when seasoned detectives or police couldn’t even be much of a help to begin with.

The kids who solve these myster
Jun 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019, ya-books
This YA mystery really surprised me! It was a bit dark with some mature themes and it proved to be one heck of a twisty, captivating page-turner.

Five years ago 5 cheerleaders wound up dead in the span of a few months. One of them was Jenn, Monica's older sister. Monica has never believed that her sister's death was a suicide and she is determined to connect the dots and find out what really happened to the Sunnybrook High cheerleaders.

This one definitely has that "suck you in" factor. I found
Kayla Dawn
Aug 08, 2018 rated it liked it
More like 2,75* - the ending kind of ruined everything for me. It was so... anticlimactic? I don't know, I thought it would be smarter than that.

I'm pretty sure though, that most people who like dark young adult temporary thriller type of books will enjoy this.
It was written very well and it deals with a lot of interesting and problematic topics. I personally was just let down by the conclusion.

PS: The description on the back that says "A little bit Riverdale" is definitely accurate lol
Charlotte May
3.5 ⭐️

I enjoyed this YA thriller - though the reveals weren’t massively shocking or anything, I found it entertaining to see it all unravel.

First there was the car accident, where two cheerleaders were killed. Then the horrific murders in the house of another. Finally the suicide of Monica’s sister Jen. After this the cheerleading squad was disbanded.

Are they connected? Who was targeting the cheerleaders? And did they arrest the right person?

The premise was really interesting, and I liked Mon
Irena BookDustMagic
Aug 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
So… I went into The Cheerleaders with an expectation to get a story similar to I Know What You Did Last Summer or The Scream, but instead I got… something different.

I don’t know why I thought there will be a a killer chasing characters who’d fear for their lives, because that was not even promissed in the blurb. Anyway, because of my wrong expectations, the story for me was just… slow.

There was not much going on, but only discovering what had happened in the past.

However, don’t think this book i
Aug 16, 2021 rated it really liked it
*Loved* this! If not for having guessed the plot twist almost right away, I’d probably give this a 4.5/5. Even still, the story was amazing.
TW: assault, murder, suicide, adult+minor sexual relationship, drug use, alcohol use, school shooter, bullying
I loved the dual timelines of the year leading up to Jen dying & the present of Monica uncovering the mystery. For once, I think the plot of “teenager uncovers mystery that detective had misunderstood” actually felt realistic. She’s in the right pla
Jul 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
The Cheerleaders by Kara Thomas is a young adult mystery that I’ve been anxiously awaiting having read this author before. Before I get too far into this review though I need to warn yet again that this one is going to be for the older crowd with a lot of darker content that may be disturbing to some.

As the book begins readers are introduced to Monica who is now in high school and battles the memories of her older sister every day since she’s been gone. Five years before Monica’s sister was a ch
4.5 stars
OKAY, THIS BOOK COMPLETELY TOOK ME BY SURPRISE. I wanted to start off my October with a creepy read and so I chose this one and I had no idea I would end up loving the hell out of this. I'm not typically a fan of YA thrillers (they usually always disappoint me) but this one impressed the hell out of me and had me turning pages so fast trying to figure out what happened!

This story follows Monica who had an older sister named Jen who was a cheerleader who died. In their town five cheerlea
May 12, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library-reads
This book just solidifies my preference: plot driven stories with one-dimensional, underdeveloped characters are the worst kind of stories to read.

I’m not going to bother reviewing this. My irritation is at an all-time high. Should’ve trusted my gut and DNF’d this.
Aug 09, 2019 rated it liked it
Even with its ominous cover, The Cheerleaders ended up a darker story than I expected.

After 5 cheerleaders are tragically killed in close succession, the high school in Sunnybrook decides to disband its team. 5 years later, the school wants to have a memorial for the girls. Monica is a junior on the dance team now and her sister, Jen, was the last cheerleader to die. With the upcoming memorial looming, Monica spends a lot of time thinking about the how? and the why? surrounding Jen’s death. Her
Review trigger warning: statutory rape, pedophilia mention, abortion mention

Arguably my largest pet peeve when it comes to reading is when a book seems awesome but then it decides to do you wrong and include unchallenged problematic crap.

This book was amazing for the first 75 percent. Maybe a tad heteronormative, but a person can forgive. The writing style was compelling and easy-to-follow, the characters were three-dimensional and relatable, and the mystery was original and had me at the e
Sara (sarawithoutanH)
Nov 26, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2018
This was a decent YA thriller! I definitely did not like it as much as Little Monsters, but it was still a good time. There were quite a few things I liked about this book but ultimately the mystery was just sort of meh to me.
Aug 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Five dead cheerleaders all in a row!

‘They all smile at me: Jen, Juliana, Susan, Colleen, and Bethany. It really is a beautiful picture. By the end of the season, everyone in it is dead’.

There’s been no cheerleading squad at Sunnybrook High for the past five years, following three separate tragedies involving cheerleaders. Bethany and Colleen were the first to die, killed in a car accident when their car hit a tree. Then, Susan and Juliana were murdered – strangled by Susan’s neighbour (who was s

The Cheerleaders was amazing from the very first page. It had me guessing who was a suspect or not. Then it would throw in some kind of curveball and make me second everything that I was originally thinking. I loved it and now I'm kind of sad that it's over. Is it too early to dive back into it?

In this book, you will meet Monica. Her family dynamic is a bit strange, or it was to me, because of her sisters death. Well, not only that.. but the whole town
Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Find all of my reviews at:

JFC I read this one a looooooooooooooooooooong time ago. This was my third Kara Thomas book and I’m happy to report each one has gained a Star on its predecessor (a reminder to all – especially myself – to not tank an author because of one mediocre experience). The title alone had me singing . . . .

The premise of The Cheerleaders goes a little summin’ like . . . .

“Some people say a curse fell over our town five years ago. What
Caro (Bookaria)
Apr 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, 2019, young-adult
This is a YA mystery/thriller and right up my alley. The main character is investigating the details surrounding her sister's death which happened 5 years ago, and what she finds out create more questions than answers.

I enjoyed the story and the characters. It reminded me of similar yet entertaining books I've read such as ONE OF US IS LYING, PEOPLE LIKE US, and MY NAME IS VENUS BLACK.

Overall, a captivating and good story. Highly recommend it to readers of YA thrillers and mysteries.
Aug 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This story was addictive within the first few chapters. I actually did not find it predictable. I loved it as much as I did the author’s other book, Little Monsters. I love a book where there are so many shady characters that you are basically inthralled just to see what dark skeletons they have in their messed up past. Makes for a fun read.

My quick and simple overall: very enjoyable read!
"Everyone goes through shit, and there's always someone somewhere who has it worse. It doesn't make what you're feeling any less real or any less shitty."

Reading The Cheerleaders made me both excited and scared at the same time. I mean, hello, a book about cheerleaders suddenly found dead days within each other? Anyway, safe to say, this book did not disappoint.

🎀 The heroine? Raw and honest. She's not always very likable, but that's okay. She's lost; she feels like everything's falling apart
Dec 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
There are no longer cheerleaders allowed at Sunnybrook High School. It's been that way for five years, ever since five members of the team died within a short span of each other. One of those girls was Monica's sister, Jen. Jen committed suicide after four of her fellow cheerleaders died--two in a car accident and two in a brutal murder at the hands of a fellow Sunnybrook resident. That man is dead, killed by the police. Still, Monica doesn't understand why her confident, beautiful sister killed ...more
3.5/5 stars

First, I'd like to thank the lovely Chelsea for providing my copy of The Cheerleaders . Chelsea knew that I needed this book as soon as it was being publicized. I've never read a book by Kara Thomas, and although I am hesitant with YA novels, I have heard amazing things and was excited to give this book a try. In Westchester, New York, there resides a town called Sunnybrook. Five years ago in Sunnybrook, a tragic series of accidents took place with the school's cheerleading team. T
The Cheerleaders by Kara Thomas was an okay book, but it just wasn't for me for many reasons. It didn't have my attention has much as I thought it would, it was just a bit boring to me. It took forever to finally get to the murder plot. Although I didn't love this book, I will continue to check out other books by this author in the future. Some of the moments in this story were shocking, but at other times many of these moments were just plain predictable. I wanted to love this book because I sa ...more
I don’t know if we’re cursed. All I know is that my sister wouldn’t have killed herself. But if she did, why didn’t she leave a note explaining why?

Five cheerleaders dead over the course of three weeks. This happened five years ago. One of those girls was Monica’s sister, Jen, and it’s been haunting her ever since. Jen was the last of the five to die and it has never made sense. First, two girls hydroplaned and hit a tree in a storm. Next, two girls were strangled by the man next door. And l
Apr 09, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery-thriller
When I read a thriller, I want to be on the edge of my seat, I want to be surprised, I want to be so into the mystery that even when I stop reading I can't help but think about the characters and the plot. The real surprise for me was ending up with this book, where the main character goes out in useless unexciting circles for the entire thing. There were no stakes, no impressive plot twists, nothing.

Throughout the whole book I was straight-faced and uninterested. Monica gets a bit of informatio
Sep 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya-mystery
Monica’s sister Jennifer died five years ago. Jennifer committed suicide shortly after four of her friends died… they were all cheerleaders. The town was upset by the loss of the five teens, and the school ended the cheerleader program. The deaths were all somewhat suspicious – car accident, murder, and suicide. Monica believes there to be more to her sister’s death, and that of her friends. In an effort to discover the truth, Monica enlists the help of her friend Ginny and they start digging in ...more
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Kara is the author of The Darkest Corners, Little Monsters, and The Cheerleaders. She is also the author of the Prep School Confidential series from St. Martin's Griffin under the pen name Kara Taylor.

Kara has written for Warner Brothers Television and currently writes full-time on Long Island, where she lives with her husband and rescue cat.

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