Narrator: Phoebe Strole, Brittany Pressley
Published by Listening Library
Published on 25 July 2017
Genres: Girls & Women, Thriller, United States, Young Adult
Source: my local library
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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 among 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.
After I read The Cheerleaders, I was pretty certain I’d enjoy other Kara Thomas YA mystery/thrillers, so I quickly found Little Monsters available on audiobook at my local library.
I was right. I did enjoy Little Monsters a heck of a lot.
Thomas has an awesome ability to realistically plot her mysteries to the point where I was still questioning pretty far into the book who did what and what the ending might be.
This book was quite different to The Cheerleaders though, because Kacey is still relatively new to the town and doesn’t have a bunch of established relationships like Monica did in The Cheerleaders. Because of this, Kacey sees her world through pretty rose-coloured glasses, even though she’s come from a pretty toxic home life previously.
I really loved the way Thomas unravelled the mystery, allowing us the readers to blunder ahead with assumptions and fall for red herrings. I love the way she slowly revealed the truth of things. I love the way she wrote about teen girl friendships: I’m kind of obsessed with them, because they can be so fierce and so toxic and so heartbreaking, and I absolutely was not let down by the insidious nature of this fucked up friendship. It actually reminded me of my own high school best friend who was also my biggest rival, a vicious backstabber who would gladly throw me under the bus to get what she wanted, but whom I thought I shared a deep, unshakeable bond with. Well, I did – until a boy came along… who had the audacity to like me.
I only wish I had been able to see more of Kacey’s relationship developing with her new step-brother and half-sister. As it was, most of the friendship there was developed off-screen, or summed up. I wanted to see more about why Kacey’s siblings felt so strongly about her, especially since she was essentially an intruder in their established house. Kacey’s relationship with her step-mother seemed really organic and realistic – it can’t be easy trying to parent and half-wild almost-grown teen girl from a difficult background when you’re not even her real mother.
As it was, this novel focused more strongly on the investigation and unravelling surrounding one of Kacey’s best friends, but I did find the lack of any romantic storyline quite appealing. It is absolutely possible to write a contemporary YA novel without romance but still with a focus on developing relationships, and I think Thomas absolutely nailed it.
As for the narrators, I found that the person reading for Kacey almost sounded a bit too innocent? Like everyone was trying to make out that Kasey came from a broken, domestically violent home, and she was a bit of a wild card, with purple hair and a pierced lip… but Kacey’s actions and the sweet voice of the narrator kept lulling me into this belief that Kacey was all good girl without a bad bone in her body. That’s probably just the prejudice of the other characters, though.
If you enjoy mystery/thrillers or are looking for a strong YA book that doesn’t have any romance, I recommend Little Monsters to you.