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Little Monsters

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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.

324 pages, Hardcover

First published July 25, 2017

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About the author

Kara Thomas

8 books1,695 followers
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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Displaying 1 - 30 of 2,349 reviews
Profile Image for Miranda Reads.
1,588 reviews153k followers
December 10, 2020
The Last 50 Pages - A Reenactment:

Ohmygosh. OH. EM. GEE. No way. Oh. My. Gosh. No way in hell. No motherfudging way.

*muted screaming*

Thank you, thank you. I'm here all week. *takes a bow*

*thunderous applause*

Joking aside - wow. Just wow. I did not see that coming.

And because I hate spoiler-y reviews, I will not be talking about that at all. But seriously, check out this book solely because the " that " in this book made it all worth it.

So here's the non-spoiler-y review:

Kacey had it rough. She lived with her mom, and the revolving door of her mom's boyfriends, in New York. She hated life with her mom and after one too many altercations, is shipped off to her dad's home. The dad she never met. The dad with a completely different family in Wisconsin.

And immediately, she notices something is off:
People around here are polite. Like the type of polite where if there's one piece of pie left at desert, the person next to you will give a twenty-minute dissertation on why you should have it
Creepy, right? But the new family is nice and soon Kacey settles down into the sleepy Midwest life.

Kacey becomes friends with Jade and Bailey. They get into all sorts of hijinks together, including hosting a seance in a haunted barn.
That's why we're here. To see for ourselves.

To scare the shit out of ourselves. Because what else is there to do during a Broken Falls winter?
But the plan goes wrong, Kacey's 13-year-old sister insists that she comes with and Jade and Bailey are inexplicably pissed. To make things worse, all of them run out of the barn before they could get more than a few words out.

A few days later Bailey disappeared. Kacey knows something terrible has happened but no one, not even the police, are giving her the time of day. No matter how much she begs, no matter what evidence she manages to find.
"So, you're taking this seriously now?" I press. "It's already been almost forty-eight hours
And worst of all, every day Bailey's remains missing, the more evidence piles up against Kacey.
I know they say that hate can destroy a person. But I've never felt so alive.
A wonderfully thrilling read. It has a bit of a slow start but once you get to Bailey's journal entries. Wow. Just WOW!

The 2018 Finer Books Club Reading Challenge - A book recommended by a book blogger (Kat)

Link to her blog: Art of Feels

YouTube | Blog | Instagram | Twitter | Facebook | Snapchat @miranda_reads
Profile Image for Chelsea *Slowly Catching Up* Humphrey.
1,387 reviews77.2k followers
July 27, 2017
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* <— Me, trying to avoid spoilers and any specific plot points in this review. Seriously though, this book is a minefield of twists and turns; I can sincerely say that I didn’t have most of it figured out. I had a few half-baked guesses, but over all I was completely surprised by the who-what-where-when-why. It’s really hard to find mysteries and thrillers now that render me wholly dumbfounded, but this one did it, and let me tell you why… This is a read where you don’t get all of the information up front. You are lead to believe one thing here and then later on it is revealed that this is what was really going on. I know this frustrates some readers, as they like to have all the clues and solve the mystery themselves, therefore feeling frustrated and cheated when information is withheld. If you can let go of the need to control the story and just go along with the flow here, you will fain immense pleasure from being duped with this style of storytelling. Heck, I’m starting to think this might be the only way I can gain that overwhelming, Gone Girl type shock anymore, AND I LOVE IT. So, that’s really all you need to know about this story. Go in blind.

I know I’ve beat the dead horse, but if you enjoy books containing dark, high school drama, PLEASE don’t pass this book over. I read the entire thing in a single sitting; it was so entirely compulsive I couldn’t put it down. This was a “my kids were screaming in the car while headed home from vacation so I just put in some ear plugs and kept reading because WE MUST KNOW WHAT HAPPENS” type of book. Highly, HIGHLY recommended to fans of PLL who want a story with a similar feel without the decade long series commitment. Can I get an amen? I can’t wait to discuss this book with other readers because, um, that ending? Yeah. :)

*Many thanks to the publisher for providing my copy; it was a pleasure to provide my honest thoughts here.
Profile Image for Larry H.
2,436 reviews29.4k followers
April 8, 2019
4.5 stars.

"Girls are not princesses, and I know all the possible endings to the stories about the girls in peril. They're rarely happy."

After her troubled relationship with her mother became too much to bear, Kacey Young moves to the small town of Broken Falls, Wisconsin to live with the father she'd never met and his family—his wife, his 13-year-old daughter Lauren, and his stepson, Andrew.

It's hard to stand out as the new kid in a small town, so Kacey is grateful when Bailey and Jade take her under their wing. The inseparable duo became a trio, and they spend a great deal of time together. But it seems like Bailey and Jade don't share Kacey's satisfaction for quiet nights at home (which are a huge change from the turmoil-filled days and nights living with her mother), and they try to convince, even blackmail Kacey into sneaking out of the house with them most weekend nights.

"I really thought I could be a part of it, the day Bailey pulled up to the curb where I was waiting for Andrew after school and said, We're going to my house. I knew that it was an invitation to something much bigger. Two becoming three. But three is an uneven number. When there are three, someone always winds up out in the cold."

After a disastrous evening where the girls try to conduct a séance at an abandoned barn near the site of an infamous tragedy in town, Kacey is dreading having to go to the biggest party in town with Bailey and Jade, because she knows they'll make her pay for what they perceive to be her mistake. But strangely, they never text her about going, and she's both surprised and fearful that she was left out.

But the next morning, Jade calls because Bailey never made it home from the party, and she wants Kacey's help to try and find her. The more Kacey tries to find out what happened to her friend, the more she starts to look like an object of suspicion herself. And the more truth she seeks, the deeper she finds herself mired in a web of secrets and lies that make her question those closest to her, and she starts to wonder whether ghost stories can actually be real.

Little Monsters captures all of the emotions and intensity of teenage friendships, along with the mysteries and lies of small-town life, and the scars caused by family dysfunction and secrets. There are a lot of elements at play in this book, and Kara Thomas brought all of them together very deftly, making this a quick and utterly compelling read, even if it ultimately wasn't as surprising as I thought it might be.

I really enjoyed this book, and it reminded me of a Megan Abbott book with less cruelty and more twists. But that's not to say that Thomas' style or storytelling ability is derivative or imitative in any way—I love her voice, and I'm definitely going to read the rest of her books as well.

This is a riveting tale of friendship, jealousy, obsession, fear, family, and the things that happen when no one is honest with their feelings and fears. I couldn't get enough of it.

See all of my reviews at itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com.

Check out my list of the best books I read in 2018 at https://itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com/2019/01/the-best-books-i-read-in-2018.html.

You can follow me on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/yrralh/.
Profile Image for chloe.
238 reviews27.8k followers
July 26, 2019
This was okay but I didn't really care to find out what happened and wasn't shocked by any of the twists. I definitely would have DNF'd it if I wasn't listening to the audiobook.
Profile Image for Felicia.
254 reviews916 followers
November 26, 2019
ge·ner·ic /jəˈnerik/

adjective

Worse than being basic, the knock off version of basic. To be sooo basic you can't even be basic anymore, you become generic.

• borrowed from the premier internet word source known as Urban Dictionary.


2.5 Stars rounded up
Profile Image for Laura.
425 reviews1,241 followers
July 19, 2017
3.5 stars
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.

I have such a fascination with evil teenage girls - how dangerous it can be to be one, getting caught up in obsession, secrets, jealousy, and that deep desire to fit in. The realization of what being one can hold..how easy it can be to be underestimated. To learn how to get what you want. Manipulation. How complex and intense a friendship between teenage girls can be. Just what that can lead to. It can be a nasty thing being a teenage girl.

So of course Little Monsters intrigued the hell out of me. A psychological thriller about appearances versus reality and the power of manipulation amongst teenage girls? Yes, please. Just what the doctor ordered.

Seventeen year old Kacey is the new girl in small town Broken Falls. After a fight with her unstable mom, she's sent to live with the dad she's never met and his family: stepmom Ashley, stepbrother Andrew (17), and half-sister Lauren (13). Kacey leans heavily on her new friends: Bailey and Jade. She just wants to fit in and they do everything together. So when they don't invite her to the biggest party of the year, Kacey is super confused. Did she do something wrong? It only gets weirder when Kacey gets word that Bailey never made it home. Where could Bailey have gone? Does someone know more than they're letting on?
But the night doesn’t like to give up its secrets. And if Bailey disappeared into it, there might be no telling what happened to her.

In a small town like Broken Falls, everyone knows everyone. So it doesn't take long for suspicions to be pointed at the person they know least of all: Kacey. And she begins to realize trust isn't something that should just be given.

There are several red herrings throughout. I did eventually guess whodunnit, but not before having a few other solid suspects in mind. This one definitely had a few twists throughout. The small town setting is interesting and written really well. I enjoyed the local legend of the Red Woman tied with the "haunted" barn. It all truly adds to the atmosphere.
There’s only so much people are willing to forgive. That’s the truth that trumps everything else.

The display of friendship between teenage girls feels so accurate in how complicated it all can be. Obsession, jealousy, manipulation, and secrets all coming into play. I liked the different dynamics that emerge regarding the relationships Kacey had with each of her family members. The characters are believable. I just wish there had been more development there. It really would have made a world of difference. Kacey keeps hinting at this dark, mysterious past. This never gets fully explained. I, for one, was curious and thought it added to the mystery if we in fact got any answers. It just felt like her past was danced around at a certain point. The more I ponder on it, the more I wonder if I missed something? It is also worth noting that there is zero romance.

There were a few moments the story falls a bit on the slow side with nothing happening. I also would've liked a chapter from another POV. We get Kacey the entire book and a few chapters from Bailey through journal entries. But a POV showing the mystery play out would've been nice.

The way the story starts, it is hard to tell where it will go. After finishing, I want to go back and read it all again knowing what is to come. This was definitely a solid YA psychological thriller.
Profile Image for Kayla Dawn.
291 reviews883 followers
October 19, 2018
09/24
Rtc - this was just kind of ridiculous tbh

10/13
Uhm I kind of waited to long to write this review and now I don't remember what I wanted to say lmao I'm sorry

Basically, I just didn't like the plot or the characters.
Everything felt overdone and unrealistic and as if it was just written to be shocking (which it wasn't lol).

Yeah, that's about everything I remember... so obviously this book had a really big impact on me.
Profile Image for L A i N E Y.
396 reviews672 followers
December 24, 2020
“But I never say anything. Because there are things that are too fucked up to tell even your best friend”

I am by no means a psychic but I can tell you right now how Kacey’s future is going to go: And who could blame her?

Just two months ago, I wrote in my review for 13 Minutes that I need to stay away from mean girl book since it didn’t work for me. Yet here I am, writing another review for one, ha! I’m glad to say though that Little Monsters worked much better for me.

This one was a combination of at lest two true crime cases that I could tell. The pacing is too spotty to be straight up suspenseful. Especially in the middle, it was quite tough to get through, so I don’t wonder at several DNFs I see on my feed.

I guess the book was adequate overall: the plot was good, the characters were... just okay, but the writing was solid. When it wasn’t dragging its legs, the book flew by and I actually finished in two days which was a surprise for me, seeing as I haven’t been reading that much this week due to lack of concentration.

Kacey and her self pity way, *sigh* I have a note on my kindle that read: “Is this the fucking time?? Jesus Christ Kacey!!”


It was bizarre how Kacey kept thinking she’s evil and there’s something wrong with her. Why? Because the fight with her mom got physical? Because she didn’t get along with her mom? Because she broke things (aka throwing tantrums) since she was little?? She was emphatic about it too. So much so that I thought for the whole book that we would find out about her past and what she really did that make her so ‘evil’ in the end. Spoiler alert - nothing. It’s really weird.


The audiobook version is better. Although I’m biased because it was read by one of my favorite narrators, Phoebe Strole.

Profile Image for Caro (Bookaria).
583 reviews18.4k followers
February 4, 2018
Well, in this story we have three teenage friends: Kacey, Bailey and Jade. Kacey is new in town and is devastated to learn that Bailey has disappeared and is presumed dead by many of the people in the town she lives in, but worst of all is when Kacey starts being considered a suspect in the investigation.

I listened to the audiobook so to me it seemed like the book had different narrators but after reading some reviews it appears that Kacey was the main narrator and some sections of the book consisted of another character's diary.

The story is more character than plot driven and describes the dark dynamics of teenage friendships.

After I finished, I wished the characters would've had more depth and that the motivation for the murder would've been more believable (or less shallow).

Overall, it was ok. I recommend it to readers of YA books and mysteries.

FINAL NOTE: I recommend you read this book instead of listening to the audiobook, I browsed the first chapters on the kindle and you will get more from the book by reading the ebook/paper format.
Profile Image for Erin .
1,200 reviews1,105 followers
October 12, 2017
Y'all Little Monsters by Kara Thomas is AMAZING!!!

I haven't read the author's first novel The Darkest Corners, but I will be reading it soon. Little Monsters is gripping from the first page to the last. Its fast paced, skillfully written, and creepy as fuck. The plot is "Ripped from the headlines" I won't tell you what that headline is because I want you to read this book. Just like the real life story this book is inspired by Little Monsters will chill you the bone. Little Monsters is a deeply unsettling story of how evil teenagers can be.

I'm recommending this book to all my True Crime lovers and obviously dark mystery lovers.
Profile Image for megs_bookrack.
1,423 reviews8,962 followers
January 31, 2023
**4.5-stars rounded up**

Kacey has had a strained relationship with her volatile mother for years. When it becomes too much for her to handle, Kacey moves to Broken Falls, Wisconsin, to live with the father she has never met.

Her Dad has a wife, Ashley, a step-son, Andrew, and a younger daughter, Lauren. Kacey is simply thrust into their family. It's not necessarily comfortable at first, but overall she's grateful to have a more secure environment. It's definitely a change for her.



It's not necessarily easy to be the new girl at school either, although we love a new girl trope.

Luckily for Kacey, Bailey and her best friend, Jade, see Kacey, a ship without a port and take her into their group. Soon enough the trio are like peas in a pod.



They get up to the typical high school girl things like sneaking out, trespassing and trying to summon spirits in abandoned buildings. You know, the usual. There is some minor tension amongst the girls, of course, but that's normal too.

Sometimes Kacey prefers to spend quiet nights at home, but Bailey and Jade are usually fairly insistent that she join them on nights out.



On the night of the biggest party of the year though, Kacey doesn't hear from them. They seem to have ghosted her.

Kacey is concerned. Even though she enjoys some quiet time, FOMO is real. The next day, Kacey receives the news that Bailey is missing. She just disappeared, gone in the night. Did she run off, was she taken, is she still alive?



When the police question Kacey, she's not exactly forthcoming with the truth. Does she have something to hide she's not letting on to the Reader?

This was such an interesting story. We followed Kacey mostly, but we also got some of Bailey's perspective. It was a compelling sway of back-and-forth.

Kacey was an interesting main character, who had been through a lot already in her young life. Now as she seemed to be settling into a more secure home environment, other aspects of her life seemed to be getting out of hand.



The more Kacey digs, the more it seems that everyone suspects her of having done something to Bailey. Kacey's determined to figure this out. She actually wants to find Bailey, but small towns can hold a lot of secrets and loyalties run deep.

Kara Thomas knows how to build suspense. This one had me absolutely glued to the pages. It was unsettling. Stories like this, that feel so very real to life can be so disturbing.



I picked this up as Book #11 for my TBR-Haul Project. I hauled this in November of 2018 and am so happy that I finally made the time for it.

I'd heard a lot about this book from others and everything they said was true. I definitely recommend the audiobook format. It was fantastically narrated. I was so invested in this narrative and characters.

This is such a compelling mystery. Highly recommend!
Profile Image for ELLIAS (elliasreads).
478 reviews37.2k followers
August 13, 2017
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.

Somewhat slow, antagonizing, and gripping, Little Monsters was a very surprising read for me. This was my second read from Kara Thomas, and I believe it was the better of the two, comparing it to her other book, The Darkest Corners.

Nonetheless, this was still as slow, but I think in terms of story and characters, Little Monsters was much more enticing and thrilling. Kara has a great way of building character development and this pays off towards the end of the book.

Talking about the climax though, h o l y e f f i n s h i t.

It was emotionally surprising and full of tension. It was actually really fun picking up the on missing pieces along the way into the story; a small piece of a much sinister jigsaw puzzle.

But once completed, the whole picture isn't what you thought it was.

Little Monsters, in the end, became something more than I initially believed, and a whole lot of slow building fun: the fun you anticipate before the rush and fall of a roller coaster, and into a claustrophobic and dizzying mouth of utter roaring darkness.

4 lil MONSTROUS STARS
Profile Image for  jd 지훈.
101 reviews58 followers
October 18, 2020
CW/TW: physical violence, murder, mentions of past abusive family relationship, slut-shaming

"Hope is the most dangerous thing you can give someone."

Broken Falls, Wisconsin (2017) — When Kacey moved in to Broken Falls with her father, she was given a brand-new life to spend with her stepmother, stepbrother, and strangely, her younger half sister. As the new girl in town, Kacey finds her new life eerily charming compared to her abusive past with her volatile mother, especially when she was easily welcomed to a tight new circle of friends with Bailey and Jade. This was her life until everyone started acting distant, leaving her uninvited to the biggest party of the year.

However, these changes don't feel like an accident, and Kacey would not be able to get answers from Bailey herself because she never makes it home from the party. Suddenly, everyone starts looking to the new girl for answers, and Broken Falls seems not so welcoming after all; ultimately teaching Kacey her biggest life lesson: never trust anyone because you don't know who the real Little Monsters are.

With her solid narrative and fast-paced, gripping prose, Kara Thomas sets herself apart from other YA mystery/thriller authors through her adequately entertaining sophomore novel Little Monsters which deceives with its masterful reimagining of the claustrophobia-inducing small-town killer trope that ends with a satisfying twist.

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.


Thomas' suspenseful and accessible writing style formatted in easily digestible, short chapters makes Monsters a light and fun read. What highlights the building tension of the novel is Thomas' masterful craft of chapter-making, showcasing her deliberate control over dropping significant plot points through the exchange over two perspectives: from first-person Kacey to first-person Bailey through her journal.

Another commendable aspect of the novel is its avoidance on subscribing to the twisted, abusive stepfamily trope through its depiction that such can be as loving and supportive as one's biological family. Moreover, the normalization of seeking help from mental health professionals and taking prescribed medication are also points to be appreciated in the novel.

However, over the course of its 300-plus-page narrative, the novel has tendencies to pretentiously seem to be deeper and more complex than what it is. This causes the reader to feel underwhelmed, so as to seem cheated, by the introduction of the main protagonist's distorted view of her past (i.e. saying she is a bad person) that never took off and was not expounded further. Obvious and undercooked red-herrings like this alongside the blatant misdirection of the reader take some of the fun away. Luckily, Thomas has other cards on her sleeves that make up for the novel's deficits; if they manage to satisfy the reader.

Little Monsters is an enjoyable, above-average YA mystery/thriller which, at times, falters yet still roars with its favorably stifling writing and inventive final twist perfect for a fun Halloween scare.

Rep: POC

Personal Enjoyment: 3.25 stars
Quality of the Book: 3.7 stars
- Use of Language: ⭐⭐⭐+
- Plot and Narrative Arc: ⭐⭐⭐+
- Characters: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
- Integrity: ⭐⭐⭐+
- Twist/Scare: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

AVG: 3.48 stars

Status Updates:
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May 16, 2018

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I'm low-key shocked that this book doesn't have a bigger following, because this is the Gillian Flynn-esque mystery that I have been seeking out for months. Some YA thrillers try to sugar-coat, but LITTLE MONSTERS, as befitting its title, doesn't hold back. From the beginning to the end, Kara Thomas lets you know that girls are more than capable of being the creatures you fear when you're falling asleep in the dark, only deadly - and real.



Kacey has recently moved in with her father and stepmother after leaving her abusive mother. She has a new stepbrother and half-sister, as well, although her relationship with the whole family is good and not something she takes for granted after having such a tumultuous childhood. She also has two friends named Jade and Bailey, although their relationship, in the way of most teen girl relationships, is tense and fraught with tension.



While reading this book, I kept thinking that it reminded me of something - and then it hit me: Sarah Pinborough's 13 MINUTES. That suffocating small-town paranoia of everyone being in everyone else's business; the mean girls with a sinister (maybe?) agenda, and the twists upon twists upon twists? Yeah, both books have you covered. I feel like if you enjoy Gillian Flynn's work, you will enjoy both of these, but 13 MINUTES is more like GONE GIRL where the easy answer isn't the right one, whereas this book is more like SHARP OBJECTS - there's a twist, and there's a twist about the twist that will make you question everything.



By the way, I liked SHARP OBJECTS more than I did GONE GIRL.



I really enjoyed this book and finished it in basically a day. The pacing was perfect, the diary entries were super creepy, and the twist was unexpected. I literally did not expect who dunnit until the moment of the grand reveal(s), and I'm hard to shock. I'm surprised how many people didn't seem to enjoy this book, but if you like "soft" and easy reads, LITTLE MONSTERS definitely does not fit the bill as it shows girls - and boys - at their most brutal, which is not comfortable reading for everyone.



I, however, loved it - and can't wait to read Kara Thomas's next book.



P.S. Sorry for being all secretive and vague but with books like this, less is definitely more!



Thanks to Netgalley/the publisher for the review copy!



4 stars
Profile Image for Trina (Between Chapters).
852 reviews3,760 followers
February 7, 2018
I really liked this! It was intriguing from the start and I think it would have good reread value once you know the truth of things. It really kept me guessing if this was a murder, runaway, or something supernatural. The way the evidence was uncovered kinda reminded me of Making a Murderer or the first season of the Serial podcast. YA mysteries about missing girls are a dime a dozen but I thought this one was a solid, gripping read! It does deal with mean girls and frienemies though, if that's something you dislike reading about.
Profile Image for Kristin Hackett (Merrily Kristin).
212 reviews3,657 followers
August 2, 2019
Little Monsters was such an unexpected thriller for me. I'm usually amazing at guessing who the culprit is within the first couple of chapters of a thriller but Kara Thomas totally blindsided me in this one. We follow Kacey who's the new girl in Broken Falls. Her two best friends ditch her when she's supposed to attend a party with them and the next day, one of them is discovered to have gone missing. Kacey finds herself as the prime suspect as things start unfolding and I'm still just blown away by how messed up these characters are. I couldn't put this one down and I'm so excited to read anything else that Kara Thomas publishes. It's hard to review this because spoilers!
Profile Image for Dannii Elle.
1,966 reviews1,380 followers
June 11, 2017
I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to the author, Kara Thomas, and the publisher, Delacorte Press, for this opportunity.

Superficial me was sold by the cover of this and read nothing more of the synopsis than, 'For fans of Pretty Little Liars'. Those two things were enough to intrigue me and I am so glad this book lived up to my early excitement!

Kacey is the new girl in town with a mysterious past. Her new step-family are wholly accepting of their newest addition and so are her new friendship group - Bailey and Jade. But when Bailey disappears one night, fingers start to point and a few of them are turned her way.

I adore books that encroach on the dark, secret lives of teenage girls and this book did so in an exciting yet unpredictable way. From sneaking out at midnight to parties, to holding seances in haunted and remote buildings - this book was a series of exhilarating scenes tied together with the dark undertone of both the reader and the characters second-guessing everyone's motives. No emotion was spared and I spent much of my time reading this breathless with either suspense or terror.

There were so many layers to this dark and disturbing thriller and my mind was constantly attempting to assume and presume where the plot would take the reader. I did ultimately guess who the perpetrator was... but not before also guessing every other character the book alongside them!
Profile Image for Chelsea (chelseadolling reads).
1,469 reviews19.1k followers
September 18, 2017
I gotta admit you guys, I thought I had this figured out at the halfway mark, but BOY WAS I WRONG. This was a surprisingly great YA thriller and I really enjoyed reading it. Would recommend picking it up if it interests you at all
Profile Image for Kathryn.
167 reviews283 followers
August 7, 2017

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.

I fell in love with Kara Thomas after reading her breakout hit Darkest Corners. She possesses a rare talent for spinning a mystery that perfectly balances both inner and external conflict. Twists never come at the expense of character development. And the why is equally important to the who. After how impressed I was with Darkest Corners, I decided to pre-order Little Monsters. Something I rarely do. And oh, how glad I am that I did.

The new girl in Broken Falls, Kacey immediately befriends Bailey and her best friend Jade. Having left a troubled home to live with a father she’s never met, Kacey craves the stability and attention her new friends and family present. But sometimes appearance isn’t reality. After a night spent with her friends trying to summon a legendary ghost, Kacey wakes to find she’s persona non grata. Text messages go unanswered. Weekend plans are squashed. What did Kacey do wrong? Well, Kacey doesn’t have long to stress about Mean Girls: Wisconsin Edition because the next morning she learns Bailey is missing. Vanished. Without a trace. What follows is a twisted tale of jealousy, betrayal, lies, and secrets…..and a town where nothing is as it seems.

Little Monsters is both compulsively readable and hauntingly evocative. Set against a backdrop of snow and ice, you can almost feel the bite of Wisconsin’s crisp winter air. The desolate landscape coupled with Thomas’ clarity of prose immediately draw readers into this dark and twisted tale.

But it’s not only prose that sells this story. Thomas so fully inhabits the teenage mind that dialogue is startlingly authentic. And the characters are so vividly depicted that they seem like old friends. The whodunnit almost becomes secondary to the protagonist’s fate. It’s practically painful that you can no longer follow Kacey’s journey. Like she was a vital piece ripped from you, never to return.

Kara Thomas has an emerging pattern of pitting female characters with dark pasts against old secrets and an imminent peril that eventually forces them to confront their demons. It’s a pattern that works. The reader crawls within the recesses of Kacey’s mind and travels with her as secrets gradually reveal themselves. We’re with Kacey as doubt and suspicion gnaw. Though absent, Bailey’s interspersed diary entries paint an effective portrait. The information contained within haunting you long after finishing the story.

Maybe the world sometimes just swallows people up. Maybe people just get away.

Kara Thomas is skilled at showing the effects of violence on a small community. Of ripping open old wounds and creating new ones. She never bandaids her characters. Refuses to throw a hasty remedy to ensure a happily ever after. Kara Thomas allows darkness to linger. To settle. She forces characters (and the reader) to wallow in those dank places. It’s both realistic and makes for a more powerful story. I can’t wait to see what she does next.

That’s what this whole town reminds me of sometimes. People who are laughing at a joke that has long passed.
Profile Image for Jennifer Kyle.
2,338 reviews4,594 followers
August 15, 2017
4 STARS

description

Kara Thomas delivers a twisty well plotted teenage suspense novel. I enjoyed the story, the characters, and the writing.

When one of three best friends goes missing, lies, secrets, and a urban legend play a role as the truth is slowly unraveled.

"Jae was the best friend, and I was the extra friend. There are things you tell your best friend that you don’t tell the extra friend.”
Profile Image for Mary Books and Cookies.
542 reviews406 followers
July 25, 2017
Oh. My. Gosh. It took me a while to process life again after finishing this book, because everything is a lie, I cannot trust any person ever again and nothing has meaning anymore. Yes, it was that good. If there’s something that I love, it’s books that completely screw up my perception of reality and keep me literally at the edge of my seat. Little Monsters did just that. I already kind of knew I would love it, because I read Kara’s The Darkest Corners last year and absolutely adored it. Little Monsters delivers another well written, page turning tale and I was hooked from page one.
From Goodreads:
“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.”


I’m smitten with books that keep me guessing. The more complicated the mystery, the more invested I am in the plot, the characters and especially the ending. I always try to guess the twist. It’s part of why I love murder-mystery books so much. It’s like I’m transported into the story, alongside the main character, trying to figure out what the hell is going on. Bonus points if the story has an unreliable narrator. Taking this into account, it was a given that I would have so much fun reading this book. There was a constant air of mystery surrounding everything, which helped me immerse in the book world.
I loved LOVED the writing! Kara has this ability to make everything sound so poetic, despite the subject matter. I mean, she could probably make a grocery list sound like the next modern mystery. And the way she crafted the whole story is impressive, because she managed to hide everything in plain sight. I had NO clue what the hell was going on! I had to stop several times, with a big “WHAT EVEN” on my face. And everything is unravelled so artfully and, most of all, it makes sense. Once I got to the end, I wanted to slap myself, because “oh my gOD IT WAS THERE WHY DIDN’T I SEE IT”.
The characters were very well fleshed out, and it was fascinating to see how they evolved and to slowly see their motivations take shape. And as a reader, you tended to get sucked into their mind and share their suspicions of other characters. Which made the whole reading experience all the more confusing, yet exciting! I also like books that are centred on friendships and that explore the mindset and relationships of people in close knit groups, and Kacey, Bailey and Jade’s friendship gave me just that. It was fascinating to read about their relationship, but also quite unsettling, because Kara’s characters aren’t morally black or white, they’re shades of grey. You can agree with some of their decisions, and condemn others. Ultimately, they’re people. A little effed up (okay, a little more), but people nonetheless.
Little Monsters will surprise you. It’s a fairly short book, but with a lot of punch-you-in-your-guts action. It honestly left me so conflicted and dumbfounded, which is 100% a good thing. It’s a lesson that people can surprise you, in both a good way and a very, very bad one. That you might never truly know the person next to you. And that appearances can be incredibly deceiving. If you love books that keep you on your edge, this is a must read for you.
Favourite quotes:
“Maybe we were meant to find each other today. Maybe we’re the Not Okay Girls, and we’re supposed to save each other.”
“[…] 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.”
“[…] that’s the truly incon¬venient thing about having a family: even when you don’t owe them anything, you feel like you owe them fucking everything.”

Profile Image for Susan's Reviews.
1,038 reviews461 followers
May 10, 2021
This fabulous read gave me the shivers at the very end!



Tons of red herrings, and that plot twist! Now THAT is what I call a great plot twist. I did guess "whodunnit" towards the end, but the story itself was so incredibly compelling. Bailey's journal was a fascinating yet creepy window into the mind of a narcissistic sociopath.





There were a few loose ends - or, then again, maybe there weren't?
Trust is a big issue in any budding relationship, and maybe Andrew wasn't able to get past that lack of trust in him? And maybe Bailey's jealousy saw more than what was there? Or maybe the author deliberately left the relationship between Kacey and Andrew vague, leaving it to the readers to draw their own conclusions and create their own HEA if they wanted to?



This is one of those books that you need to reread to catch the clues you missed. So much was going on. A truly captivating read, right to the very last page!!!! Highly recommended!
Profile Image for Bren fall in love with the sea..
1,535 reviews258 followers
January 3, 2021
"Girls are not princesses, and I know all the possible endings to the stories about the girls in peril. They're rarely happy."
― Kara Thomas, Little Monsters

My first finished book of 2021!

Little Monsters made for some dark, dark reading. The book itself was quite good although I did not love it I sure as heck liked it....quite alot.

Kacey is the new girl in town. She is running. from a bad and toxic relationship with her mom. From her old life. From herself.

She is now living in a small town in Wisconsin. She makes two new friends, Jade and Bailey.

The girls are obsessed with "The red lady". This is part folklore but the story behind the story is tragically true. And now the red lady supposedly haunts what is left of her old home after tragedy struck there many MANY years before.

The girls decide to sneak into the barn on the red lady's property and have a seance. It all goes wrong.

Shortly afterwards...Bailey vanishes.

Kacey is desperate for answers but soon finds that her curiosity may get her into more trouble than she ever thought possible.

As the mystery of Bailey's disappearance intensifies, the towns people begin to turn on Kacey. There are rumors swirling around that indeed..she may have had a role in what happened to Bailey.

I really enjoyed this YA mystery. It's atmosphere was creepy,,,very much so...and the mood of the book was broody. The reader is lost..or at least I was. There are so many pieces of the puzzle to put together.

What is great about this book is for one THE ATMOSPHERE. Not all YA gets that right. The wintry feeling and coldness of the small Wisconsin town plays a huge role in the story and is itself as much a character as any of the humans. I adored the atmosphere.

The character of Kacee is one of a girl who wears her pain with a deep sadness. I loved Kacee. I connected to her and my connection only deepened as the story went on.

I would recommend this dark mystery with a hint of the paranormal. I did not adore it however. I liked it greatly. And now I need to use spoilers.

SPOILERS:

I ADORED the twist..so much. But I really wish some of the loose ends were tied up. I was ACHING for this story to go on and provide us more.

For example...did Andrew ever know how Bailey felt about him? How would he have reacted? Also.....was Bailey really serious about killing Kacee? Was it just a thought? She changed her mind quickly. At least according to her diary. And did Andrew have feelings for Kacee?

But most of all...WHO was Laura?

Was she just a mentally ill child who believed the red lady was speaking through Jade?

Or was she a cunning psychopath who did this knowingly and coldly? The end seems to me to imply that with the last sentence. I SO wanted to know. I felt a bit frustrated because there were so many unanswered questions.

I'd love to see a part two or even a prequel. I also would have LOVED to see a POV from Jade or Laura. Maybe a chilling diary entry from one of them as the last chapter! In other words, the book was to good to end when it did...and with SO many questions. I was fascinated and really wanted to know more. I also wanted to know how Jade got to Laura and convinced her. We are told not shown and I wanted to be shown not told.

But I would really recommend this to YA mystery fans of brooding and moody mysteries. This one was creepy, it was fascinating and makes a great first read for 2021. 3.5 stars from me.
Profile Image for Fafa's Book Corner.
510 reviews297 followers
April 1, 2018
Mini review:

It's honestly been so long since I read this and I don't remember that much. And I really don't want to waste my time typing a full ranty review. Mini review it is.

Literally no one was likable. Save for the sister and brother. The mystery was definitely not what I expected but not in the good way. I personally found Kacey to be really dumb. And the two other girls to be obsessive, possessive, manipulative, and truly evil. I would take The Plastics (Mean Girls) any day over these girls.

The diary entries were helpful and sent chills. Like so creepy. I do have to get the author credit for writing these girls as twisty and nasty as she did. The ending was very bitter sweet and left me in chills (again).

Overall I didn't enjoy this at all. Do not recommend.
Profile Image for Mary  Carrasco.
63 reviews220 followers
August 8, 2018
From start to finish, Little Monsters, felt liked being trapped in the worst aspects of high school. The characters were despicable, full of petty jealousy, ugly gossip, backstabbing and self-depreciation. None of these characters were happy...ever! The plot was lost in all of the drama and the ending fell flat on it's face. Ouch. Damn me for being too stubborn to put a book down even when I sense that it's going south. From time to time, I find YA novels that I truly enjoy. This was not one of them. I'm off now, in search of powerful antidepressants and hopefully a better book.
Profile Image for alice.
268 reviews335 followers
August 2, 2017
You can read this review and others on my blog, arctic books.

I don’t read many thrillers, but I’m always excited to pick one up. I had heard so many raving reviews for LITTLE MONSTERS, such as those from Alex @ Fiery Reads and my IRL friend who loved Thomas’s first novel, THE DARKEST CORNERS. LITTLE MONSTERS is one of the most game-changing novels I’ve read this year, filled with twists and turns I didn’t expect.

LITTLE MONSTERS follows Kacey as she tries to figure out what happened to her friend Bailey after she goes missing. The investigation into Bailey’s disappearance was incredibly interesting and compelling, and I loved the inclusion of Bailey’s journal entries and how those entries followed her thoughts and her later actions.

One of the little things that stuck out to me was that Kacey’s step-family was not vilified. Kacey’s step-family had some rocky instances, but I found that Kacey’s positive relationship with her siblings was something that I usually never see in young adult fiction.

I don’t want to spoil anything, but my mind is still reeling from the ending of the novel. I’m incredibly impressed by Thomas’s creativity, and I love the red herrings that Thomas gave the readers in trying to solve Bailey’s disappearance. Overall, if you love twisty, dark psychological thrillers, I definitely suggest this one! I’m looking forward to reading THE DARKEST CORNERS and Thomas’s next works.

Thank you to Delacorte Press & New Leaf Literary for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for ℨαrα .
173 reviews157 followers
February 2, 2018
This book actually started off well enough, but as it progressed it became apparent just how messed up EVERYONE is. I found the characters to be very dramatic too. I also saw the ending coming from miles away. So unfortunately, this one was a letdown.
Profile Image for Tammie.
215 reviews55 followers
October 17, 2018
I really enjoyed this one-solid 4 stars. Kacey is new to Broken Falls-after having issues with her mother, she moves in with her father, step-mother, step-brother and half sister. Kacey likes her new life-her family life is stable, Broken Falls is a nice small community and she makes two really good friends-Bailey and Jade. Things aren’t always as they seem though and after a party that Kacey wasn’t even invited to, Bailey goes missing. Thus the mystery begins.
Little Monsters is well-written and I really enjoyed the family dynamics in this book. The ending though-never saw it coming! Recommended to fans of YA, mysteries and darker theme books.
Profile Image for Elle G. Reads.
1,479 reviews687 followers
June 2, 2018
Release Date: July 25, 2017
Genre: Young Adult Mystery & Thriller
Actual Rating: 5 stars

WOW! This book went beyond my expectations. Kara Thomas SLAYED Little Monsters. I am so glad I decided to give it a chance because I didn't much like her first novel, The Darkest Corners. Anyway, this book is perfect for fans of young adult mysteries and thrillers. This one gives us a juicy look at jealousies that go on in high school and how such jealousies can lead to murder!

I have always been a fan of reading about teens turned murderers because seeing inside their heads and what makes them tick is interesting. Most of these kids who kill do it because of boys or resentment towards their peers. They take hard life lessons personally and ruin the rest of their lives by doing something stupid because they can't see the bigger picture and what lays beyond the horizon. So reading about them really catches my attention. Little Monsters slowly but surely PROVES this in this delightfully twisted tale.

I love how Kara Thomas slowly reveals everything that goes on in this story. She doesn't give readers too much information as to what is going to happen which makes the shock of everything so much better. Even more, she doesn't spoil the fun of finding out who the killer is by leaving subtle hints for readers. Some may not like this because they love figuring out the "who-dun-it" prior to it being revealed, but I don't. I love a surprise revelation and this is exactly what I got in this novel. So, if you're going into the book and wanting to know all the fine details before it ends, don't read it. Kara Holds everything back until the end!

I don't want to give away too much plot because I fear it would ruin the story for those who want to read the novel, but I will give you a small taste. This is a story about 3 teenage girls. One goes missing. Ones a suspect and the other sitting on the sidelines. This is a story of teenage obsession. Teenage hate and rage. And a murder in a small town. It is an incredible novel of suspense and has a lot of twists and turns. I very much recommend it to fellow readers.
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