Saturday, March 30, 2019

Book Review: "Little Monsters" by Kara Thomas

"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.

No comments:

Post a Comment