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 out of 5 stars