Title: The Cheerleaders
Author: Kara Thomas
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Publication Date: July 31, 2018
Page Count: 384
My rating: 4 1/2 stars
About the book:
From the author of The Darkest Corners and Little Monsters comes an all-new edge-of-your-seat thriller set in upstate New York about an eerie sequence of seemingly unrelated events that leaves five cheerleaders dead.
There are no more cheerleaders in the town of Sunnybrook.
First there was the car accident–two girls dead after hitting a tree on a rainy night. Not long after, the murders happened. Those two girls were killed by the man next door. The police shot him, so no one will ever know his reasons. Monica’s sister was the last cheerleader to die. After her suicide, Sunnybrook High disbanded the cheer squad. No one wanted to be reminded of the girls they’d lost.
That was five years ago. Now the faculty and students at Sunnybrook High want to remember the lost cheerleaders. But for Monica, it’s not that easy. She just wants to forget.
Only, Monica’s world is starting to unravel. There are the letters in her stepdad’s desk, an unearthed, years-old cell phone, a strange new friend at school. . . . Whatever happened five years ago isn’t over. Some people in town know more than they’re saying. And somehow, Monica is at the center of it all.
There are no more cheerleaders in Sunnybrook, but that doesn’t mean anyone else is safe.
The Cheerleaders by Kara Thomas is a young adult mystery that I’ve been anxiously awaiting having read this author before. Before I get too far into this review though I need to warn yet again that this one is going to be for the older crowd with a lot of darker content that may be disturbing to some.
As the book begins readers are introduced to Monica who is now in high school and battles the memories of her older sister every day since she’s been gone. Five years before Monica’s sister was a cheerleader at Sunnybrook High when tragedy struck the town in three different incidents. First an accident took two of the girls then a murder took another two leaving Monica’s sister who then took her own life.
As one can imagine it’s been a rough few years for Monica and now that she is in high school and on the dance team since cheerleading is no longer an option Monica lives with the memories every day. While searching for some pain medicine Monica finds letters sent to her step father insinuating there was more to the girls deaths than mere coincidence so Monica couldn’t help but begin to look into the past and try to find some answers.
It honestly did not take but a few pages for me to become completely engrossed in this book after I picked it up. Monica immediately became someone I needed to know more about when it became apparent this girl was bordering on spiraling out of control herself. A hook up with an older man has Monica recovering from an abortion so already the dark content seeped into the story and I became engrossed in getting to know her and learn her sister’s story.
The majority of the point of view comes from Monica but occasionally you get to also go back and learn Jennifer’s situation from her point of view as Monica uncovers just what happened five years before. Really, anyone that knows me at all can see a 4.5 star review for an almost 400 page book and know that it had to be pretty intense if I’m not complaining of the story dragging. Instead with this one I thought it flowed rather nicely with plenty of things happening to hold my attention so I’d definitely recommend checking this one out.
I received an advance copy from the publisher via NetGalley.
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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.