Thomas, Kara. Little Monsters. Fiction. Delacorte, 07/2017. 324pp. $17.99. 978-0-553-52149-8. OUTSTANDING. GRADES 8-12.
Kara Thomas’s (The Darkest Corners, 2016) second psychological mystery is a thrillingly menacing and atmospheric chiller in which none of the characters are quite who they seem to be. High school senior Kacey has only recently arrived in Broken Falls, Wisconsin, moving in with her dad and his blended family after one too many blow-ups with her single mom. She settles in and makes friends, becoming the third leg of “BaileyandJade and Kacey.” But when Bailey goes missing and the local police show little interest, Kacey and Jade start digging up evidence themselves, which points to a local boy with a grudge against Bailey. The author brilliantly evokes the milieu of a white working class town: Most of the highschoolers have no escape, and the lucky few can’t wait to get out. The heavy snow adds to the claustrophobic atmosphere, and the local tall tale about a murdered family piles on the eeriness. The plot is perfectly paced; layers are gradually peeled off the emotional lives of the characters exposing the depths of their pain and desperation, gradually leading to a wildly twisty denouement. Ideal for teens who like a side of creepy with their mysteries. Review based on an ARC.
Hayley Beale, San Francisco University High School