Little Monsters by Kara ThomasLittle Monsters by Kara Thomas

Little Monsters

byKara Thomas

Hardcover | July 25, 2017

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about

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 amongst 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.

Praise for Little Monsters:

"Thomas creates 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
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 f...
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Title:Little MonstersFormat:HardcoverDimensions:336 pages, 9.44 × 6.5 × 1.15 inPublished:July 25, 2017Publisher:Random House Children's BooksLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0553521497

ISBN - 13:9780553521498

Reviews

Rated 4 out of 5 by from Impressive I didn't know what to expect before reading this but I was definitely impressed. Great book!
Date published: 2017-08-31
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Impressive I didn't know what to expect before reading this but I was definitely impressed. Great book!
Date published: 2017-08-31
Rated 4 out of 5 by from I was really impressed with this! The mystery kept me guessing the entire book and any theory I had had to be thrown right out because I was completely wrong. I blew through this in a couple sittings, as it's quick-paced, with increasing tension. Kacey, the main character, really annoyed me a bunch with her actions. It's basically a given that in a mystery/thriller-type book the characters are going to do a couple things they absolutely shouldn't do because it would be ~SUSPICIOUS~. Even though it's one of my least favourite things, I understand it's needed to move the plot along. However, it seemed that was literally all Kacey would do and then she's wondering why the police were taking such an interest in her. Very frustrating. But besides Kacey being dumb, I quite enjoyed myself and would definitely recommend it if you're looking for something quick and twisty!
Date published: 2017-08-11
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Creepy, Chilling and Goosebumps Holy smokes what did I just read?!? Little Monsters has the hair on the back of my neck standing up. The whole story had me on edge. I've heard Kara Thomas writes the best thrillers and now I've seen it with my own eyes. Be afraid. Little Monsters weaves a tale of lies and deceit. The story starts off on very neutral grounds but gets darker and more sinister as time went by. The deeper we dug into the backgrounds, the more chills I got. The build up of uncertainties and eerie atmosphere really played a number on my nerves. By the end of the book I was super creeped out. Bravo. Ms. Thomas does an outstanding job peeling back each character. They were key. There was a lot more to them than meets the eye. Seriously. A. Lot. Chapter by chapter we learn a little more; we get a better look at who or what's at play. As more pieces fell into place the more urgently I felt I needed to see the whole picture. I had theory after theory in my head and while some of my suspicions were right, nothing compared to having the truth laid out in front of me. Somebody hold me. There was no romance in Little Monsters. In this case it's definitely a plus because there was no room or really any time for distractions. I loved the sibling bond. It was endearing and a source of strength despite the negativity surrounding their relations. In some ways it was also disheartening to see how it was used. Some love can be too all-consuming. Shivers. I feel like I haven't said much in this review but it's probably for the best. Little Monsters will have you guessing until the very end. It'll have you thinking about it. It'll stay on your mind. Read Little Monsters but be prepared for the chills that's sure to crawl up your spine.
Date published: 2017-07-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Early Review I got an ARC copy of this book a while ago and I LOVED it! It's dark and twisted and perfect for Summer thriller beach reading! I loved Thomas's first book The Darkest Corners and I LOVED this one. So read them both if you like your Summer reading time a little dark and disturbing.
Date published: 2017-06-26

Read from the Book

9780553521498|excerptThomas / LITTLE MONSTERSChapter OneThey fire off a round of texts at me five minutes after midnight:We’re coming.Get ready.They’re not threats, but my friends have a way of making even the simplest demands feel like ultimatums. Sneak out. I don’t have a choice: if I say no, they’ll make sure I’m fully aware of how much fun they had without me.But then again, it’s cold, and not the normal kind of cold. It’s Broken Falls, Wisconsin, Dead of Winter cold.No one warned me about the winters before I moved here. The books and movies are right that Christmas in Wisconsin is magical, with the barns glowing under white string lights, fresh-­cut Christmas trees visible through scalloped windows.But everything that comes after is just cruel. Wind-­whipped sheets of snow so thick you can’t move through them. Mornings where above freezing is the best thing you’ll hear all day. Layers of ice on your windshield that take ages to chip off.And February. February is just the biggest asshole.February makes you feel like you’ll never see the sun again.My plan was to go to bed early and avoid the inevitable texts from Bailey and Jade. Are you up? You better be up! My friends’ restlessness is in direct proportion to how miserable and gray it is outside.Tonight, though: tonight is so clear you can count the stars like they’re diamonds.I text back: guys I’m so tiredBailey: Stoooooop.Bailey: We’re doing the thing tonight.The skin on the back of my neck pricks. The thing. The thing was Bailey’s idea; almost everything is Bailey’s idea. I take a deep breath to slow my suddenly skittish heart. I could call them, tell them I’m not coming, but they’ll just make fun of me for being scared.There’s shuffling outside my bedroom door. The lamp on my nightstand is on. My stepmom, probably, coming to scold me for being up so late.“Kacey?” A tiny voice. Definitely not Ashley, whose voice carries over hill and sea. My stepmom’s constantly talking, sucking up all the air so my half sister can barely get a word in.I fire off another text to Bailey: I can’t come. Sorry.“You can come in,” I say. Lauren pokes her head inside the room. She reminds me of a doll: Dark, blunt bangs. Porcelain skin. Round head, a little too big for her body. We have the same eyes—­wide hazel ones that prompted a particularly nasty freshman at my old high school to call me that freaky Bambi bitch.I fluff out the comforter to make room for Lauren to crawl underneath with me. “You okay?”Lauren hugs her knees. She’s wearing fleece sock-­monkey pajamas. There’s something about my sister that makes her seem younger than most kids her age; she still cries when she falls off her bike and bleeds. Tonight there’s a raw pink strip over her upper lip from the cold.“Keelie is texting me pictures from Emma’s party,” she whispers.I want to fold my sister into a hug. Squeeze the sad out of her. Emma Michaels lives down the road—­she’s been Lauren’s best friend since preschool. But Lauren isn’t at Emma’s thirteenth birthday sleepover right now, because Keelie March told Emma not to invite her.Keelie is thirteen, like Lauren, but she fills out her leotards in a way that makes the dance dads want to wait in the car. I saw Keelie in the parking lot over the summer, when I went with my stepbrother, Andrew, to pick Lauren up from her Saturday-­morning class. Noticed the way Keelie watched Andrew from the corner of her eye as she lifted her leg onto the ramp railing in a perfect stretch. Sweat glistening between cleavage that even I didn’t have. It was sweltering out; Keelie was twelve going on twenty, staring at a seventeen-­year-­old boy like he was a Popsicle.“They’re drinking wine coolers,” Lauren says. “That’s why I wasn’t invited.”I think of the American Girl dolls still set up in Lauren’s room, arranged around a tea set like they’re waiting for a party that’s never going to happen. I know she won’t play with them because the girls at school have already packed theirs up and put them in the attic.Those girls are thirteen and drinking. I should call Emma’s house and tell her mother what’s going on in that bedroom. Then I remember the things that went on in my house when I was thirteen.“Do you want me to block Keelie’s number from your phone?” I ask Lauren.She shakes her head, sending a tear down her cheek. “I just really wish I was there.”I’m about to tell her fuck Keelie March and those other dumb girls, you have me, when headlights flash through my bedroom window. My room faces Sparrow Road, the outer edge of our cul-­de-­sac. It’s what Bailey and Jade branded the perfect loading spot for a sneak-­out. And it seems that despite my texts, they came anyway.Bailey flashes her high beams; then there’s darkness.Lauren frowns. “Who’s that?”“Just Bailey and Jade,” I answer, fumbling for my phone. I’ll tell them Lauren is awake. I definitely can’t come out now.“Are you guys going somewhere?” I hear the hopeful lilt in her voice.“No—­we were just—­”Snow crunching outside my window. Bailey’s face, illuminated by the light from the phone under her chin. She makes a ghostlike bwahahaha noise and I jump, even though I’m looking right at her. Jade appears next to her. Adjusts the messy bun sitting atop her head and taps on my window with one finger.I dart over and raise the glass. Bailey mashes her face against the screen, makes a pig nose. “Ready to go?” she whispers.I cringe. Even when Bailey whispers, she’s loud.I think of nosy Mrs. Lao next door, probably perched in the armchair by her living room window with a Sudoku book. A small wooded clearing separates us from the Laos, but in the winter, when the trees are bare, the slightest noise from our house is enough to send Mrs. Lao’s Yorkie, Jerome, into a barking fit.Jade notices Lauren sitting on my bed before Bailey does. She nudges Bailey and flicks her eyes to me, as if to say, What the hell is she doing here?“She came down here because she was upset and couldn’t sleep.” I steal a glance back at Lauren. She’s picking at the pills on her fleece pants, but beneath her bangs, her eyes are on us.“Can we just go another night?” I whisper.“No,” Jade says. “Put your pants on. Live a little.” She wiggles her eyebrows at me and grins.But when I look at Bailey, she’s not smiling. I could swear that there’s a hint of fear in her face, and for a second, I think I’m off the hook. Then: “I have all the stuff. Don’t wimp out, Kacey.”Wimp out? I never agreed to this thing in the first place. ­Bailey’s eyes are focused on me. Daring me to say no. Her message is clear: if I come out tonight, I’m forgiven for all those times I stayed home.Across the street, there’s faint yelping. Jerome. Mrs. Lao must have let him out to pee.I turn to Lauren. “We’re just going out for a bit, okay? Please don’t tell your mom. You can stay in here, okay?”She looks down at her toes. “I won’t.”A bubble of relief. I exhale. Pull jeans on over my fleece PJ pants and throw on the jacket I left draped over my desk chair. The relief doesn’t last long when I see Lauren’s face. Crushed.She gives me a halfhearted wave as I pop out my screen and climb up on my windowsill and awkwardly out the other side into the cold night air. I pull the window down behind me feeling like the shittiest person ever, but I have to get rid of my friends before they wake my stepmom up and everything goes to hell.When I’m tucked in the back of Bailey’s Honda Civic, balled-­up Taco Bell wrappers under my butt as I fumble for the seat belt, Jade says, “Is she gonna rat us out?”“She won’t,” I say.Bailey looks over her shoulder as she pulls away from the curb. Turns front and slams on the brakes, letting out a little yelp.Lauren is standing in front of the car, her body illuminated by Bailey’s headlights. I nearly slide off my seat. She’s wearing her purple down jacket and she’s waving for us to stop. Bailey and I both lower our windows.“Can I come?” Lauren wraps her arms around her waist. “I won’t say anything. I promise.”My heart twists. Lauren coming along tonight is a bad idea in a million different ways. “You can come next time.”Jerome starts to bark again, obviously forgotten in the backyard. A light flips on from Mrs. Lao’s back porch.“Shit,” Bailey says.My stomach twists. If Mrs. Lao sees us—­“Just get in the car.”Lauren looks at the house, then back at me. “Really?”Bailey flips her headlights off, chanting shit, shit, shit under her breath. I lean over and throw open the back door for Lauren. “Yes! Just get in.”Lauren ducks and climbs into the backseat next to me. “Ride it like you stole it!” Jade hollers.Bailey accelerates, hitting the curve at the end of the cul-­de-­sac. My head knocks against the back window. Lauren’s breathless, like we’ve completed a heist.Jade lowers her mirror. Warm brown eyes winged with black liner meet mine; she’s pissed, but what am I supposed to do? They’re the ones who decided to drag me out.I feel the cold in my hands. The vents are pointed away from Lauren and me, concentrating all the heat in the front of the car. Bailey’s eyes meet mine in the rear mirror. I hope she can read what I’m trying to communicate: It’s not too late. We can go back.But she grips the steering wheel and looks straight ahead at the road. It’s covered in packed snow, the bare trees on each side bending eerily toward the center. Lauren pales when she sees where we are. “Where are we going?”I hesitate. “Up to the barn. You still want to come?”Lauren picks at the pills of fleece on her pants again. Lifts her head and nods.Bailey stops at the foot of Sparrow Hill and cuts the engine. “Let’s do this.”Lauren has my hand in a vise grip. We’re climbing Sparrow Hill, picking our way around the barren white spruces and trying not to slip on the icy patches of snow.There was a time when my brand-­new half sister was terrified of me. She’d sense me coming into a room and skitter out of it like a cat. Now I’m her sister. She won’t let anyone forget that, especially my stepbrother, Andrew. Her half brother.Now she trusts me enough to bring her to the creepiest place in Broken Falls—­Sparrow Kill. That’s what everyone calls it, because of what happened in the Leeds House before it burned down.Jade, already several paces ahead, looks back at us, a pinch of concern on her forehead when she sees Lauren’s face. “If you’re scared, you can go back and wait in the car.”“So she can get snatched by some creep?” Bailey says. Something rustles past our feet. “Shit! Something touched me.”I feel Lauren’s hand tense in mine.“It was probably just a chipmunk,” I say. I look down at my sister, drop my voice to a whisper. “You really don’t have to do this. We can walk home.”She nods. I can see the wheels turning in her head. Keelie March wouldn’t be brave enough to climb Sparrow Kill. “I want to.”My foot catches a slippery spot and the ground disappears from underneath me. I fall, taking Lauren down with me. Pain shoots up my tailbone.Bailey and Jade whip their heads around. See us on our butts. Bailey starts to laugh—­a full-­on belly laugh that rises into the night, skimming the tops of the trees. I start to laugh too, and then so do Jade and Lauren. We laugh as loud as we want; the nearest house, the Strausses’, is more than half a mile away.It’s okay, I tell myself. We’re laughing. Everything will be okay.Jade extends a mittened hand and helps me up. Snow seeps into my socks, through the tops of my boots.Without the moon to guide us, it’s too dark to spot the barn. Bailey reaches into her bag and digs out a flashlight—­one of those small ones with the name of her dad’s plumbing company on it—­and illuminates a shallow path for us. “I think it’s to the right.”We move together, the crunch of our footsteps in sync. When Bailey stops short in front of me, I know she’s spotted it.The barn has a face. They took the door off its hinges years ago, leaving a gaping hole for a mouth. Two windows, high up, form the eyes. Those are broken, too. I know it’s probably because of some kids who came up here to dick around, throw some rocks, but it’s still creepy.The house is gone, but I’ve seen it in pictures. A red-­and-­white Scandinavian-­style house set behind wrought-­iron gates. The scalloped windows reminded me of the dollhouse in my mother’s baby pictures, the one my grandfather built her.I never found out what happened to the dollhouse. Everyone knows what happened to the Leeds House, though: it burned down.What no one knows for sure is who set the fire. By the time the fire marshal arrived on Sparrow Hill, there was nothing left of the house but ash and the gnarled bodies of the five children who lived there. Outside, sitting upright on a bench, was Hugh Leeds, the children’s father. There was a rifle next to his body and a single gunshot wound to his head.His wife, Josephine, was never seen again.The town fought for years to tear the barn down, raze the entire property and sell it, but without Josephine’s body, they couldn’t prove she was dead. So the barn stayed, belonging to the Leedses by law. They cleared the wreckage of the house and planted trees around the scorched earth.Depending on who you ask, Josephine Leeds is still here, walking up and down Sparrow Kill, her white nightdress bloody and filthy at the hem. People call her the Red Woman, and they say she can only be spotted at night.That’s why we’re here. To see for ourselves.To scare the shit out of ourselves. Because what else is there to do during a Broken Falls winter?“You first.” Bailey jabs me between my shoulder blades.Jade snorts. “Are you actually scared?”Bailey ignores her and steps up to the entrance. Holds up her phone, casting a pale glow on the barn floor. “This is maaaaaad creepy.” It comes out as if the breath has been sucked out of her.I walk through the mouth of the barn, feeling Lauren’s sharp inhale as I step away from her. Bailey, never one to be outdone, snaps out of her fear and follows me.There’s hay scattered over the ground, accompanied by the occasional glint of a condom wrapper or beer can. A loft looms on the other end of the barn, its floor beveling under the weight of its age and neglect.The scraping of feet, and then Lauren and Jade come up behind us. “So now what?”Bailey sits. Removes the tea light candles from her bag and arranges them in a neat row. Jade tosses Bailey her lighter and smirks. “Do we cut our palms and make a blood oath?”“If you don’t take it seriously, it’s not going to work,” Bailey scolds. She flicks the lighter and lets the flame hover over the wick on the first candle.I sit next to Bailey. Next to me, Lauren dutifully lowers herself to the ground, eyes wide, and I lean over and whisper in her ear: “Nothing is actually going to happen. It’s not real.”But when Jade sits, I see her shiver. Bailey catches it and raises an eyebrow as if to say, See?Jade wraps her arms around her middle. “It’s freezing. Can we just do this and go home?”Outside, the wind picks up. A draft flows through the door; the flame gutters out. Bailey frowns, tries again. We fall silent, watching her finger skate across the trigger of the lighter.Finally, a flame. Bailey’s eyes are fixed on the candles as she lights them, but I see the quaver in her hand.The last candle flickers; the flame jumps to life. Bailey sits back. A satisfied look comes over her face. She slips something out of her back pocket: a silver pendulum, a daggerlike blue crystal at the end.Bailey’d found it in her attic while putting away the Christmas ornaments in January. She’d opened a box of her mom’s old things by mistake.Now, Bailey inhales and holds the pendulum over the circle formed by the candles. A gust of wind passes through the barn, causing the chain to sway.“How are we supposed to know if it’s working?” I ask. “The wind is so strong.”Bailey looks at me and holds her free finger to her lips. The chain goes still; the crystal at the end of the pendulum stops swinging.Bailey’s voice comes out in a hush: “Is there anyone here?”Our eyes on the crystal, we’re silent, until:“I farted,” Jade says.Bailey leans across the circle and slaps Jade’s thigh, hard. Lauren erupts into giggles.Bailey actually sounds angry as she glares at Jade. “You killed the energy, jerk.”“Oh, whatever.” Jade rolls her eyes. “You’re the only one who believes this garbage.”Next to me, Lauren hugs her knees to her chest. She’s still in those sock-­monkey pajamas. Her eyes are on the candles. I won’t betray her, reveal that Bailey isn’t the only one who believes this garbage. Andrew, my stepbrother, told me that Lauren couldn’t sleep for days when her friend Chloe said she spotted a strange ball of light on Sparrow Road.A gust of wind picks up. Something slams against the outside of the barn, drawing a yelp out of Bailey. Jade sits up straight, turns to the noise.The thrumming in my body zips up to my brain. Just adrenaline. “It was only the wind.”Then: the crunch of snow. The wind rises again, howling, tak­ing footsteps outside with it. Running. Someone—­something— ­running away from the barn.Bailey jumps. “What the hell was that?” Lauren’s arms shoot around my middle.Jade stands. “I’m going to check.”I roll onto my knees. Jade shouldn’t go alone. “I’m coming.”“Don’t,” Lauren cries out. “What if someone’s out there?”“There’s more of us,” Jade says. “It was probably an animal, anyway.”I don’t ask what kind of animal other than a human would be spying on four girls performing a séance in the middle of the night. Bailey sits back on her heels, frozen.I look from Bailey to Lauren. “Stay with her, please?” I don’t know which one of them I’m talking to.Jade is already out the door; I’m at her heels. “This was a stupid idea,” she mutters, picking her way through the dark. Her own feet barely make a sound on the snow. She shouts into the trees: “Hey, dickhead! We’re going.”I pull my scarf over my face, leaving Jade to shout into the wind, and make my way around the barn to the wall where we heard the slamming. The snow is packed solid. No footprints. No animal, no human.I make my way back to Jade. “There’s no one out here. You can stop yelling.”The wind picks up again, nearly knocking us backward.That’s when the groaning starts. I whip around just in time to see the snow on the roof of the Leeds Barn sinking.Lauren.I take off running, shouting: get out get out get out.A body collides with mine: Bailey. She’s got Lauren by the hand. I steady myself, grab on to both Bailey’s and Lauren’s arms as a crack splits the silence. We watch as one half of the Leeds Barn roof falls, hitting the ground with a thud.That’s when Lauren starts screaming.Bailey’s voice is breathless: “We need to get the hell out of here.”I grab hold of Lauren. “Hey. It’s okay. It was just the wind.”Lauren’s eyes are on the barn. The sound coming out of her is shrill enough to carry over half a mile.Jade is at our side in an instant. “Shut her up. Seriously. Or we’re all screwed.”“Come on.” Bailey grabs Lauren. “Let’s just get her in the car.”Before I turn to follow them, I poke my head inside the barn. It’s dead still, a gaping hole in the roof letting in the light of the moon. On the floor, all five candles are out.

Editorial Reviews

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 CupackesPraise for The Darkest Corners: An International Thriller Writers Award FinalistAn ABC Best Book for TeensA 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.com "[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