- Hardcover: 384 pages
- Publisher: Delacorte Press (July 31, 2018)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1524718327
- ISBN-13: 978-1524718329
- Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1.2 x 8.6 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 92 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #15,452 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Cheerleaders Hardcover – July 31, 2018
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Praise for The Cheerleaders:
A Goodreads Best Young Adult Book of the Year Nominee
“Sharp, brilliantly plotted, and totally engrossing. Every time I thought I had it figured out, the story twisted again. Kara Thomas should teach a master class in suspense.” —KAREN M. MCMANUS, New York Times bestselling author of One of Us Is Lying
“A little bit Riverdale and a little bit Veronica Mars, The Cheerleaders is a twisty page-turner that will have you doubting every character you meet—and everything you think you know.” —RILEY SAGER, bestselling author of Final Girls
"A crafty, dark, and disturbing story, but in Thomas's masterful book, the real crime is how dangerous it is to grow up female. The Cheerleaders is a riveting read."—KATHLEEN GLASGOW, New York Times bestselling author of Girl In Pieces
“At times eerie, exciting, and even frightening…this deliciously deceptive thriller and provocative drama is a must-have.”—SLJ
“Keeping the audience guessing until the very end…[The Cheerleaders is a] satisfying, whodunnit with a solution as complicated as its premise.”—Kirkus Reviews
“Thomas builds her novel around an appealingly gruesome case…beset by herrings, and it keeps the pace moving at a solid clip….A solid pick for mystery fans.”—Booklist
Praise for Little Monsters:
A Junior Library Guild Selection
"A disturbing portrait of how bad news and gossip can curdle when mixed together."-Oprah.com
"An eerie and masterly psychological thriller...[that] culminates in a shocking and disturbing ending. Thomas expertly captures the pointed nuances and the fickle, manipulative bonds of adolescent girls’ friendships."-SLJ
"Taut and suspenseful...this gritty page-turner will easily hook a broad range of readers"-Booklist
"An intense psychological thriller that all but ensures the lights will be left on between dusk and dawn."-Publishers Weekly
"Gritty and realistic...this mystery will leave readers in awe."-VOYA
"A twisted story of obsession and manipulation, Little Monsters captivated me right up to its surprising conclusion—and left me wondering how well I really know my friends."-CHELSEA SEDOTI, author of The Hundred Lies of Lizzie Lovett
"A brilliant, well-written masterpiece, full of unreliable narrators, suspense, and plot twists that will leave you at the edge of your seat."-Inah P., The Bibliophile Confessions
“A twisted and evocative tale of teenage friendships, obsession, and family dynamics all wrapped up in a mystery that is as compelling as it is dark.”-Liz, Liz Loves Books
"The ending left me staring slack-jawed."-Leah Lorenzo, Bumble Bee Books
“Little Monsters was absolutely amazing. It pulled me in and now that I am done with it, I am going to have such a major book hangover....Every time I thought I was close to having [the mystery] figured out, Kara Thomas would throw something at us and it would change EVERYTHING!”-Stephanie Torina, Reading is Better With Cupackes
Praise for The Darkest Corners:
An International Thriller Writers Award Finalist
An ABC Best Book for Teens
A Junior Library Guild Selection
"Gripping from start to finish, The Darkest Corners took me into an underbelly I didn't know existed, with twists that left me shocked and racing forward to get to the end."-VICTORIA AVEYARD, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Red Queen
“A tight, twisted thriller, full of deft reversals and disturbing revelations—deeply, compulsively satisfying!”-BRENNA YOVANOFF, New York Times bestselling author of The Replacement
“As dark as Gillian Flynn and as compulsive as Serial…Kara Thomas’s mystery debut is intricate, chilling, and deeply compelling. Unforgettable!”—LAURA SALTERS, author of Run Away
"You'll be up all night tearing through the pages, gasping through the twists and turns."-Bustle
"[It] will have you questioning the lies young girls tell, and the ripple effects they can have."-EW.com
★ “Thomas carefully crafts the suspense, leaving present-tense narrator Tessa—and readers—to doubt even those she loves the most…An unsettling story of loss, lies, and violence lurking in the shadows of a small town.” —Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review
★ "On the heels of Making a Murderer and The Jinx comes a psychological thriller strongly rooted in the true-crime tradition...Expertly plotted with plenty of twists and turns—never mind a truly shocking conclusion—this gritty thriller is sure to find a wide audience among teens and adults alike. Equally concerned with a quest for the truth and the powerful motivation of guilt, this compelling novel won’t linger on the shelf." —Booklist, Starred review
★ "Thomas keeps it real with a jaded heroine from the have-nots societal segment who holds onto her humanity, and a frank illustration of failure in the justice system. Hand this one to older teens who love dark mysteries or fans of Netflix's Making a Murderer."—Shelf Awareness, Starred review
"Clearly drawn…[and] alive until the twisty end."—Bulletin
"Strong character development and thrilling reveals…this novel is a sure bet."—SLJ
About the Author
Kara Thomas has written for everything from her high school newspaper to Warner Bros. Television. She is a true-crime addict who lives on Long Island with her husband and rescue cat. She is the author of The Darkest Corners, Little Monsters, and The Cheerleaders. To learn more about Kara and her books, visit her at kara-thomas.com or follow @karatwrites on Twitter and @kara_thomas on Instagram.
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Jennifer’s sister, Monica, living in the shadow of her perfect sister, is trying to move on, even though her life eerily mirrors her sister’s five years ago – she’s popular, has two best friends, and is a member of the dance team (the club that replaced the cheer squad). But the past won’t let her go, and upon discovering an ominous note citing a connection between all the cheerleaders deaths, Monica starts to unwittingly look into her sister’s past. But unravelling the truth, is a dangerous game, one she just might not survive!
Back in April, I was so impressed with ‘Little Monsters’ that I promptly pre-ordered ‘The Cheerleaders’, and then waited impatiently for the 31st July to roll around. And I’m pleased to report that this one was just as good – suspenseful, tense, shocking, and emotional. Have to say I was definitely led down the garden path on this one. The author did something different and clever that I totally fell for, that still has me thrilled.
Chapters were told in the present, from Monica’s POV, as well flashbacks in Jennifer’s POV. Timelines set five years apart meant there were two sets of students (since Monica was only in middle school when Jen was in high school) so there were quite a few characters to keep straight. But that’s what I love about Kara Thomas’s books, is that her characters don’t live in a bubble – they have parents, family, friends, acquaintances, frenemies, teachers, faculty, friend’s parent’s, parent’s friends – most only get a mention, or a small role, but this high calibre of attention to detail really bring her characters to life. And not just her characters, but the setting and lay-out of the town as well – like how every October the businesses on Main Street compete to display the best dress-up scarecrow, and when two characters walk into a cafe one mentions to the other that it’s just down the road from where her mother works – had me thoroughly engrossed in her fictional world.
Kara Thomas is now my top current author in the YA mystery/suspense genre, as well as the queen of the high school setting, and I will be racing to pre-order her next book.
Life the past five years for Monica has been hard, ever since her sister died, and her four friends died as well, things have just been rough. Two separate incidents killed four of her sister, Jen’s friends and when everything became too much for her, Jen took her own life. Now as the five year anniversary starts to roll around, Monica begins to question things. Starting with wondering why her stepfather still has Jen’s old cell phone.
Soon Monica and a girl from her class, Ginny, begin to look into the events that surrounded Jen’s friends’ deaths and even Jen’s herself. Tracking people down who knew Jen and the cheerleaders five years ago isn’t exactly easy, especially trying to see if they can remember something. All the while we watch as Monica deals with her own life struggles. She had an event happen to her over the summer that has pretty much left her shaken and has changed her whole attitude on life. She’s not quite the same person she once was, though since we didn’t know her then, we can only take that at face value.
Everyone always assumed that the accident involving two of the cheerleaders was just that, and that the murder of the other two cheerleaders was solved as they caught the man they suspected of being the murderer before he died. Case closed. Monica’s stepfather was one of the police officers who worked the case latter case. But something never sat right with Monica, hence all her digging and investigating.
This book kind of surprised me in some ways. The majority of Monica’s investigating was trying to figure out what really happened to the cheerleaders who were murdered and what Jen’s connection to it all was, that maybe she was murdered too for knowing something. She strives to find answers, but doesn’t expect a part of her past to catch up with her.
I feel like the pacing might have been a little different this time around than in Kara’s previous thrillers. It wasn’t overly slow with Monica’s investigating, but I felt like there was a definite change in pace to what I had initially anticipated. It was enough to keep me turning the pages though as Monica continued to get closer before hitting yet another brick wall. There was definitely a lot of tension to the story, especially as Monica struggles to keep her life from falling apart.
I felt like I wasn’t really able to devise my own speculations with this one. There was simply so much going on and I was trying to find that connection to all of it. When it’s finally revealed by the end, I knew there was no way of me having seen any of that! Lol! I enjoy being taken by surprise like that!
I really enjoyed Monica’s character in this one! Her struggles that she was dealing with felt very real. Granted some of her choices were so far beyond what I would’ve done, I still felt like the majority of her actions were very relatable and realistic. She’s definitely a heroine I could get behind and root for. What also made the story interesting was that every now and then, we would get a chapter’s worth of details from Jen five years ago before and during all the events that took place. These segments were well-timed and placed and became relevant to the part of Monica’s investigation and kind of let us know whether she was on the right trail or not.
The ending, as I said, was surprising! There was a lot more to it all than I had expected. Knowing the full scale of whodunit and all the whys wasn’t something I would ever get close to realizing. Maybe I got to part of the conclusion of the story, but definitely not the latter half! It never bothers me when that happens because I get so wrapped up in the mystery, I just sometimes forget to try and solve it!
The Cheerleaders was a most interesting thriller with quite the twisted string of mysteries! There’s more than one that will need to be solved and just when you think you might see a connection between them, be prepared to be turned in another direction! The Cheerleaders was rather twisted but in the most enjoyable of ways! Definitely a read to keep you guessing long before it’s over!
Overall Rating 4/5 stars
Within a month, two cheerleaders die in an accident, two are murdered and one commits suicide. Five years later, high school junior Monica has question about her sister Jen’s suicide. She suspects people, including her police officer stepfather, of lying and covering up the truth.
I love Kara Thomas’s books. Her main characters are complex, flawed, not always likable, but always easy to champion. She plots intricate mysteries with multiple plausible suspects, stories that I can read multiple times and find new angles. After finishing THE CHEERLEADERS, I’m going to reread THE DARKEST CORNER and LITTLE MONSTERS and THE CHEERLEADERS again, because I can’t get enough Kara Thomas. I can’t wait to see what she writes next.