The Cheerleaders
There are no more cheerleaders in the town of Sunnybrook.First there was the car accident—two girls gone 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 why he did it. 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 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 Details

TitleThe Cheerleaders
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseJul 31st, 2018
PublisherDelacorte Press
ISBN-139781524718329
Rating
GenreYoung Adult, Mystery, Contemporary, Thriller, Mystery Thriller

The Cheerleaders Review

  • Chelsea Humphrey
    January 1, 1970
    "I am a victim, whether or not I feel like one."^ I wanted to include more of this quote, but it contains spoilers, so I'll let you experience the rest of what Monica has to say there when you read the book for yourself. ;)I know some readers like to write off any type of YA novel as cheap and unworthy of the same type of attention that adult literature receives, but I'm here to tell you that's a load of BS. I've always tried to review each genre of book that I read based on the target audience "I am a victim, whether or not I feel like one."^ I wanted to include more of this quote, but it contains spoilers, so I'll let you experience the rest of what Monica has to say there when you read the book for yourself. ;)I know some readers like to write off any type of YA novel as cheap and unworthy of the same type of attention that adult literature receives, but I'm here to tell you that's a load of BS. I've always tried to review each genre of book that I read based on the target audience that it's marketed toward, so when you see a review I've written for a book created for teens, it's those readers that I have in mind. That said, Kara Thomas has a way of taking YA thrillers and turning them into an experience that is appealing for both youth and adults alike, or at least those who are interested in reading about characters in that age range. I thoroughly enjoyed reading Little Monsters last year, so much so that I finished it in one sitting during our annual expedition to Alabama, and knew this writer has something special going for her. While I'm sure I could have read this one in similar fashion on our trip next week, I simply couldn't wait that long to dive into The Cheerleaders."I just have so many questions still.""I do too," Mrs. Ruiz says. "But after a while, searching for answers felt like grasping around in the dark. At some point, you have to choose to live in the light."Even though I flew through this book due to it's compulsive nature and easy readability, I feel it necessary to state that this story is anything but light and cheesy. It's heavy, it deals with real issues that plague teens currently, and absolutely nothing is sugar coated. {Content Warnings will be listed below in spoiler tag.} Most of the story is told from Monica's present day POV, but we also get some sections from 5 years prior narrated by Monica's deceased sister Jennifer. (Also, we have one section narrated by a character I'll leave nameless to wrap up one section, which was classic KT and absolutely brilliant. Tehehehehe.) The idea is that there are many working parts that come together in the end; think of the old saying of how a butterfly flaps it's wings and causes a tsunami halfway around the world. We have three separate mysteries here: the car accident that killed Bethany and Colleen, the murder of Julianna and Susan, and the suicide of Jennifer. It seems overwhelming at first glance but trust me, it works well. Clearly Jennifer's death is what drives Monica's initial investigation, but I adore how this rogue journey slowly brings Monica back to the land of the living. When the book starts out, she's not in a good place. We learn early on how she's spent her summer and what she's been going through, and my heart just broke for her. She makes a bosom buddy in Ginny along the way, and I love how the author chose to focus on this blossoming relationship without ruining Monica's other relationships; sure, they have to work through some things but it's refreshing to see an author choosing to build up female relationships with characters who overall support each other, rather than only showing us the backstabbing, catty nature of teenage girls. If you've enjoyed Thomas's books in the past, I can't see you feeling any differently about this one. I had pieces of this one figured out before the reveal, but man if Kara didn't get me on that last one. The tiny details she chose to use to connect various aspects were so clever and engaging that it's easy to see how much she grows as an author with each book she writes. Highly recommended! I'm off to grumble and complain about having nothing good to read until her next novel is published. All hail the queen of the YA thriller! Content Warning ---> (view spoiler)[Abortion, Suicide, Murder, Alcohol and Drug Use by adults and minors, Domestic Abuse (verbal and physical), Statutory Rape, Infidelity, Thwarted School Shooting, etc. (hide spoiler)]*Review copy furnished via the publisher.
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  • Meredith
    January 1, 1970
    Page-turning mystery!5 cheerleaders in a small town die, in 3 separate incidents, within a month’s time. Is it a coincidence or is there something sinister going on in the town of Sunnybrook?“Some people say a curse fell over our town five years ago.” The Cheerleaders is a compulsively readable YA mystery with a strong, intelligent female lead. When Monica Rayburn finds her sister’s phone hidden in her stepfather's desk, she begins searching for clues about what might have led her sister, Jen, Page-turning mystery!5 cheerleaders in a small town die, in 3 separate incidents, within a month’s time. Is it a coincidence or is there something sinister going on in the town of Sunnybrook?“Some people say a curse fell over our town five years ago.” The Cheerleaders is a compulsively readable YA mystery with a strong, intelligent female lead. When Monica Rayburn finds her sister’s phone hidden in her stepfather's desk, she begins searching for clues about what might have led her sister, Jen, to commit suicide 5 years ago. No one in Monica’s family likes to talk about what happened to Jen, so she begins to look for answers on her own. As she begins to put the pieces together, not only does Jen’s death seem suspect, she realizes something is off about the deaths of 4 other cheerleaders. Told primarily from Monica’s POV, as she finds clues about the deaths of the girls, perspective shifts to Jen in the weeks that lead up to her death. Monica’s character is dynamic; she’s appropriately angsty but at the same time sincere. I thought Thomas did a good job of painting a realistic picture of a high school junior struggling to find out who she is and what she stands for, while at the same time capturing small-town dynamics. The Cheerleaders is a dark, traditional mystery that uses social media to enable Monica to gain a glimpse into her sister’s life before her death. This a tension-packed read filled with some inappropriate and creepy characters. I figured out some events early on, but I didn’t know the why of what happened. The ending felt a little a rushed and the final chapter had me groaning. For me, this would have been stronger if some loose ends remained unsolved. With that being said, I still recommend to those who love a good mystery! . I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley and Random House Children's/Delacorte Press in exchange for an honest review.
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  • bran (brandonthebookaddict)
    January 1, 1970
    This sounds so fucking legit and interesting wtf I NEED IT NOW.(like every book ever)
  • Jillian (bookishandnerdy)
    January 1, 1970
    HOLY CRAP. this was so good. so freaking good. i've heard so many good things about kara thomas and her books and this lived up to all that praise. the pacing was excellent and the reveals were so GOOD. ugh i can't wait to read more from her.*arc provided by delacorte press from yallwest 2018*
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  • Rachael
    January 1, 1970
    Review trigger warning: statutory rape, pedophilia mention, abortion mention Arguably my largest pet peeve when it comes to reading is when a book seems awesome but then it decides to do you wrong and include unchallenged problematic crap.This book was amazing for the first 75 percent. Maybe a tad heteronormative, but a person can forgive. The writing style was compelling and easy-to-follow, the characters were three-dimensional and relatable, and the mystery was original and had me at the edg Review trigger warning: statutory rape, pedophilia mention, abortion mention Arguably my largest pet peeve when it comes to reading is when a book seems awesome but then it decides to do you wrong and include unchallenged problematic crap.This book was amazing for the first 75 percent. Maybe a tad heteronormative, but a person can forgive. The writing style was compelling and easy-to-follow, the characters were three-dimensional and relatable, and the mystery was original and had me at the edge of my seat. It was gritty, dark, and dealt with real issues. and then it had to go on and rUIN IT and it makes me so angry because this book would have been so perfect six words: statutory rape. victim blaming. pedophilia culture. In The Cheerleaders, the main character, Monica, had a summer fling with a guy in his mid-twenties, and Monica gets pregnant. The book begins right after she has an abortion, and it’s causing her a lot of physical and emotional grief and trauma. The guy is a capital-D Douchebag.There’s a conversation between Monica and him that goes like this:”’This is a really bad idea,’ [he says].‘I know… I know. I’m sorry.’ [sic]‘What made you do it?’ he asks. ‘What you did. With me.’ [sic]‘Because I was sad.’[He] puts his head in his hands.‘I’m sorry,’ I say. ‘Why did you do it?’‘Because I liked you.’ [He] laughs. ‘And I told myself that you looked older, and you acted older, so it wasn’t as wrong.’‘But now you do think it was wrong.’‘I don’t know. It just feels like you used me to avoid your problems.’My throat tightens. He’s right – I knew what we were doing was wrong, and I didn’t care.” now hold on just one dang second. excuse me? EXCUSE ME???!!?!?!? can someone please explain to me how this situation is in any way Monica’s fault?? why tf is she apologizing?? she is sixteen!! the guy is twenty-freaking-seven. he got her PREGNANT, for pete’s sake. He is over here acting like this whole situation is Monica’s fault,,,, and she (and the narration) are going along with it,,,,, when,,, it really isn’t her fault,,,, and victim-blaming pisses me off to such extents I mean I was about ready to DNF right there.but, I mean, like, I thought that this was all going to be a part of Monica’s character development, and that she would eventually grow to realize that this whole situation is not her fault, that he was an adult that took advantage of a minor. but, like, silly me thinking that character development would be a thing in a book!!! like,,, what was I thinking? (okay and I swear that I’m not trying to take away from Monica’s character development because her arc having to do with depression and accepting her sister’s death is top-notch, but the internalized victim-blaming?? booooooo) There’s another quote a good 91 percent into the novel ”My pathological need for attention from guys is why I’m in this mess with [him].” I mean,,, like,,, there’s only like twenty pages left in the novel it’s getting a little too late for her to go through character development and realize it’s not her fault. Her “need for attention” isn’t at fault here because the dude is literally an adult who can make his own fricking decisions and KNEW she was a minor but still pursued a relationship and got her pregnant!!!! but what do I know?? All my hope was pretty much lost at this point, but then, hallelujah, (view spoiler)[the guy got outed as a pedophile at the end of the book and I was like, okay, so Monica, personally, doesn’t get rid of her own internal victim-blaming but, you know what, she’s gone through a lot and she’ll get to that point and at least everyone else realizes that this guy is a manipulative jerk, (hide spoiler)] but just when I was ready to bump my rating up to three or four stars, it does this crap A G A I N ”’You didn’t do anything wrong,’ Ginny’s voice is soft. ‘He used you…’‘I used him. I was tired of being numb and I wanted to prove to myself I could feel something.’” and I’m just like jfc I can’t freaking breathe without y’all shoving this victim-blaming crap down my throat can IAnd, I mean, the outward retribution just didn’t taste as sweet because at no time did the narration/Monica even begin to realize that she shouldn’t be apologizing to this guy’s manipulative, pedophile self. Until the very end, Monica is still 100 percent believing that her pregnancy and the statutory rape that happened to her was her fault and that just did not sit well with me. I didn’t like that. Instead of it making the book seem gritty with flawed characters who have gone through traumatic experiences, which is what I’m pretty sure it was going for, it perpetuated the wrongful blaming of victims of statutory rape. I’m not mad at Monica I’m mad at the book. lol.And maybe the external arc is enough for some people, but it just wasn’t for me.If Monica had more growth in this department, this would have honestly been a four- or even five-star read. It was that good. And that disappointing. Book Trigger Warnings: teen pregnancy, abortion, several non-graphic instances of throwing up, statutory rape, violence and some gore. Thanks to NetGalley for providing me with an eARC in exchange for a complete and honest review. All opinions and quotes are taken from an unfinished version.--Pre-review:not today satan!!!!full rtc (rant to come 😉😉)
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  • Aimee ♥ | Aimee, Always
    January 1, 1970
    "Everyone goes through shit, and there's always someone somewhere who has it worse. It doesn't make what you're feeling any less real or any less shitty." Reading The Cheerleaders made me both excited and scared at the same time. I mean, hello, a book about cheerleaders suddenly found dead days within each other? Anyway, safe to say, this book did not disappoint.🎀 The heroine? Raw and honest. She's not always very likable, but that's okay. She's lost; she feels like everything's falling apart, "Everyone goes through shit, and there's always someone somewhere who has it worse. It doesn't make what you're feeling any less real or any less shitty." Reading The Cheerleaders made me both excited and scared at the same time. I mean, hello, a book about cheerleaders suddenly found dead days within each other? Anyway, safe to say, this book did not disappoint.🎀 The heroine? Raw and honest. She's not always very likable, but that's okay. She's lost; she feels like everything's falling apart, and that no one has her back. But she's also driven, and determined, and won't stop at nothing to find out the truth.🎀 The family dynamics? Realistic. We have a few flashback scenes from her sister Jennifer's POV, where we find out that they didn't always get along--they annoyed each other constantly, like any other pair of siblings. They both love and are loved by their mother, who is genuine and caring. They also have a step-dad, who, unlike step-parents in YA, is involved and protective.🎀 The friendships? Truthful. Monica didn't want her friends to be involved in her search for her sister's murderer, to the point where she felt herself drifting apart from them. In fact, she felt more comfortable talking to her colleague, Ginny, with whom she forms a new friendship with. Ginny's sweet and soft, and we get why Monica opened up to her so quickly.🎀 The writing? Easy to get into. Take note that I'm not as big of a thriller reader as others might be, but I found Thomas's writing to be really smooth and natural. It kept me turning pages, never needing to stop in confusion (or, like in some other cases, irritation).🎀 The most important thing? You'll be kept at the edge of your freaking seat. I promise! You won't know who to trust. Who's innocent and should be handled with love and care? Who's the cold-blooded murderer you need to stab with a thousand pitchforks? Take a good guess--you could be on point, or you could be dead wrong.--More reviews and bookish madness:Book Blog | Twitter | Bookstagram | Pinterest | Bloglovin'
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  • Danielle
    January 1, 1970
    I've read other books by Kara Thomas and I've been eagerly awaiting a new release by her. The Cheerleaders has met and exceeded my expectations.It was really hard to put down this book. I wanted to keep reading as Monica, the main character, unwinds the mystery to what happened to her sister and her friends five years ago. Monica is far from perfect, she does some majorly questionable things in the novel but I still rooted for her. I think the mystery aspect was done really well. I had no idea w I've read other books by Kara Thomas and I've been eagerly awaiting a new release by her. The Cheerleaders has met and exceeded my expectations.It was really hard to put down this book. I wanted to keep reading as Monica, the main character, unwinds the mystery to what happened to her sister and her friends five years ago. Monica is far from perfect, she does some majorly questionable things in the novel but I still rooted for her. I think the mystery aspect was done really well. I had no idea what the end result was going to be and I love when that happens.Highly recommended if you're in the mood for a good YA thriller.*Book received through the Amazon Vine program*
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  • Dennis
    January 1, 1970
    3.5/5 starsFirst, I'd like to thank the lovely Chelsea for providing my copy of The Cheerleaders . Chelsea knew that I needed this book as soon as it was being publicized. I've never read a book by Kara Thomas, and although I am hesitant with YA novels, I have heard amazing things and was excited to give this book a try. In Westchester, New York, there resides a town called Sunnybrook. Five years ago in Sunnybrook, a tragic series of accidents took place with the school's cheerleading team. Two 3.5/5 starsFirst, I'd like to thank the lovely Chelsea for providing my copy of The Cheerleaders . Chelsea knew that I needed this book as soon as it was being publicized. I've never read a book by Kara Thomas, and although I am hesitant with YA novels, I have heard amazing things and was excited to give this book a try. In Westchester, New York, there resides a town called Sunnybrook. Five years ago in Sunnybrook, a tragic series of accidents took place with the school's cheerleading team. Two girls were killed in a horrible car accident, followed by another two murdered in cold blood. Police reports claim that the two homicide victims were killed by the neighbor next door, but he was shot in a police apprehension and is now dead—unable to speak for himself. Sadly, days later, a fifth victim (Jen) in the cheerleaders's saga commits suicide after her struggle with depression. Current day Sunnybrook has disbanded the cheer squad, while memorializing the five women annually. Jen's sister, Monica is still having trouble coping with Jen's suicide and the suspicious turn of events leading to five deaths in such a short period. One day, after dance practice, Monica stumbles across documents that detail the town's tragedy. This leads Monica on suspicions that things aren't quite what they seem. As Monica begins investigating, she finds Jen's phone. Why is Jen's phone still active? Even more so, why was there a seventeen minute phone conversation right before her apparent suicide with a random number that nobody knows of? The cheer squad's five year old mystery is about to be reopened, but does Monica want to know the truth?Alright folks, let's be clear—I generally destroy Young Adult novels in my reviews. Its rare for me to actually enjoy a YA story, because it's usually campy and unbelievable. The Cheerleaders is anything, but campy and unbelievable. The story dives right into topics of statutory rape, suicide, depression, and teenage growing pains; and it covers these topics so respectfully and articulately. Romance in this story is kept at a minimum, thank the Lord almighty! Never once did I feel that the story was handling controversial topics in a demeaning or unbelievable way—it was raw; it was real. The Cheerleaders is more of an investigative murder mystery, and although I binge read it (I love binge reading, eating, and drinking), I urge you to take your time with this book. As the story develops, Kara Thomas tries to immerse you into the story by getting you to know and understand the characters. As I was binge reading this, it just felt like a lot of fluff to me (hence why this rating is 3.5). This is a good writing tactic for many slower paced readers, because it pulls you into the emotions of the characters. For me, it just left me a little bored, but that's because at this stage in my life, I've been reading so many mystery novels and can't be bothered with fluff. If you're not as psychotically obsessed with thriller novels as I am, you should be bothered with fluff! It's going to immerse you into the story and hold you until the end. Overall, The Cheerleaders is a solid YA mystery novel, and it's definitely opened my eyes into pursuing Kara Thomas's previous works. I heard Little Monsters is a great story, would you recommend it to me?
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  • Katie McNelly
    January 1, 1970
    This is a thrilling YA masterpiece. I could not wait to get to the end to see how it all resolves - it was finished within 24 hours. In fact, it was finished in more like 6 straight hours of refusing to leave my bed on a Saturday. The thrill is a slow burn; it feels natural without feeling forced or fake. It seems realistic - like this could actually happen in any small town. The high school scenes are relatable as well; all too often I read stories set in high school that don't involve characte This is a thrilling YA masterpiece. I could not wait to get to the end to see how it all resolves - it was finished within 24 hours. In fact, it was finished in more like 6 straight hours of refusing to leave my bed on a Saturday. The thrill is a slow burn; it feels natural without feeling forced or fake. It seems realistic - like this could actually happen in any small town. The high school scenes are relatable as well; all too often I read stories set in high school that don't involve characters that make choices that I would have. Those characters are impulsive and confident. Monica is not. Monica is unsure, self-conscious, and when she fakes confidence, the consequences are dire.I did feel that some parts are forced; there is an immediate conflict in the beginning from which Monica is recovering that seems added honestly just for shock value. It doesn't need to be in there, and doesn't come back after the first couple of chapters. It's easy to decipher what happened, but something so heavy, in my opinion, shouldn't be used as just a shocking plot device.I also read an ARC, which had several continuity mistakes, including one character's name and backstory. I hope this is remediated by the time it goes to publication; it made reading very confusing, and I'd hate for such a masterful thriller to be tarnished by technical errors.
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  • Daughter of the Book City
    January 1, 1970
    Rating - Four starsQuite hontestly, i didn’t think i’d like this book at all.But i ended up loving it like a lot. Now i know. I have to read more kara thomas. That’s established.FULL REVIEW TO COME.Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for providing me with an advanced reader’s copy of The Cheerleaders by Kara Thomas. All opinions are my own.
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  • Jenny
    January 1, 1970
    This one was not for me. It felt dated, even though it hasn't been released yet! I can see myself recommending this to my teen library patrons who love true crime and mysteries, though. I feel that Monica was, for the most part, a strong female character. A touch of Veronica Mars; all the teen sleuthing but none of the snark.Also, if you're going to have characters go to McDonald's for McFlurries (multiple times), please make sure to get your McFlurry details correct. One character uses a straw! This one was not for me. It felt dated, even though it hasn't been released yet! I can see myself recommending this to my teen library patrons who love true crime and mysteries, though. I feel that Monica was, for the most part, a strong female character. A touch of Veronica Mars; all the teen sleuthing but none of the snark.Also, if you're going to have characters go to McDonald's for McFlurries (multiple times), please make sure to get your McFlurry details correct. One character uses a straw! You can't use a straw on a McFlurry! Also, you can't get it made with chocolate soft serve. Finally, there is no whipped cream on a McFlurry. #recoveringMcDonaldsaddict
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  • Rachel Strolle
    January 1, 1970
    Holy f*cking sh*t
  • Ashley Lacy
    January 1, 1970
    Wow. I really enjoyed this more than Little Monsters. I couldn't put this one down!
  • Sierra
    January 1, 1970
    Content warnings (these ARE spoilers): (view spoiler)[Pedophilia/statutory rape, death of parent, domestic abuse, death of sibling (hide spoiler)]Y'all this book was a RIDE. A twisty, turny thriller that kept me guessing until literally the last page.
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  • Kit Frick
    January 1, 1970
    As a grim five-year anniversary approaches in a small NY town—five cheerleaders dead in three separate incidents—the sister of one of the dead girls finds that questions beget more questions, and danger is very much alive.If you fell hard and fast like I did for Kara Thomas's 2016 and 2017 novels (THE DARKEST CORNERS and LITTLE MONSTERS), or if you simply have grabby hands for your next favorite YA thriller, THE CHEERLEADERS needs to rocket to the top of your summer reading list. There's a multi As a grim five-year anniversary approaches in a small NY town—five cheerleaders dead in three separate incidents—the sister of one of the dead girls finds that questions beget more questions, and danger is very much alive.If you fell hard and fast like I did for Kara Thomas's 2016 and 2017 novels (THE DARKEST CORNERS and LITTLE MONSTERS), or if you simply have grabby hands for your next favorite YA thriller, THE CHEERLEADERS needs to rocket to the top of your summer reading list. There's a multi-layered mystery that spans two timelines, teens making hard and sometimes bad choices and growing as people, great character relationships, cheerleading and dance team (obv!), and a "ripped from the headlines" premise that drew me right in. After spending two years myself in the next town over from Dryden, NY—the real-life town whose string of grim murders and crime had a hand in inspiring Thomas's Sunnybrook, NY—I knew I needed to dive right into this world. THE CHEERLEADERS rocked me in the best way, and I'm still reeling.
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  • Stacey Kade
    January 1, 1970
    Dark, twisty, and AMAZING! You need to read this one!
  • Claire
    January 1, 1970
    Woof. That was an intense read. Thank you Netgalley and Random House Children’s Publishing for an arc of this book. My views are entirely my own.Okay, let’s try this again. I wrote out a long, beautiful review yesterday, only for my computer to gobble it up. It has now disappeared into the nexus never to return again, and I doubt I will be so eloquent this time. I will try though!Let me start by saying that this is a fantastic book! It is moving, intense, heart breaking and gripping! You won’t b Woof. That was an intense read. Thank you Netgalley and Random House Children’s Publishing for an arc of this book. My views are entirely my own.Okay, let’s try this again. I wrote out a long, beautiful review yesterday, only for my computer to gobble it up. It has now disappeared into the nexus never to return again, and I doubt I will be so eloquent this time. I will try though!Let me start by saying that this is a fantastic book! It is moving, intense, heart breaking and gripping! You won’t be able to put it down, and even when you turn the final page, you’ll wish for more. The story follows Monica, the sister of one of five cheerleaders that died in quick succession five years before the story took place and all under mysterious circumstances. Driven by a sudden urge to get to the bottom of her sister’s death, Monica begins down the rabbit hole with a nose dive, discovering secrets that would have perhaps been better buried and forgotten.Author Kara Thomas quickly soars to one of my new must reads with her thorough and realistic examination of a teenager at the height of her high school career, and all it’s associated tribulations. Monica isn’t likable, and that is fine by me. Not only do women not have to be likable, they very rarely were in high school. Best of all? She’s also slightly a badass. I don’t want to spoil anything, but she gets whatever she wants done whenever she wants it to be done. Another character that stood out would be Monica’s departed sister, Jennifer, keenly felt through all-too-few flashbacks and the memories she left behind with Monica. Though I would have loved to see more of Jennifer, so too would Monica I’m sure, and the few glimpses into the departed cheerleader’s life were angst and heartbreak-filled enough to make the reader keenly feel the pain left in her absence. As for the overall mystery? Thomas deftly weaves a story that will keep you turning the pages long after the sun has set and risen again the next day. All I can say is that to, like Monica quickly learns, trust nobody you meet in this book. Just twisty and turny enough to keep the pages turning, building to a heart breaking and tremendous climax. Was the end satisfying? Was the mystery solved? Well to answer those questions would be a bit of a spoiler too! Trust me when I say that you won’t be disappointed, either way!lalionnedeecosse.wordpress.com/2017/1...
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  • Jaclyn
    January 1, 1970
    This was a good YA thriller, though I think I liked Little Monsters a bit more. I think the reveals worked really well in this book, it kept you reading. There were some unexpected things that happened that def. had me on the edge of my seat. I also liked how some things were revealed to not necessarily be anything crazy, without spoiling anything for you. The twists and turns didn't stop coming until the book ended, which is always appreciated. I think the idea, in general, is really creative. This was a good YA thriller, though I think I liked Little Monsters a bit more. I think the reveals worked really well in this book, it kept you reading. There were some unexpected things that happened that def. had me on the edge of my seat. I also liked how some things were revealed to not necessarily be anything crazy, without spoiling anything for you. The twists and turns didn't stop coming until the book ended, which is always appreciated. I think the idea, in general, is really creative. I like how we have 3 different tragedies that are connected and each has a different answer. I like that this was not full of girl hate and actually had a ton of positive female friendships. We had a ton of strong female characters. They aren't necessarily great people, but realistic people who had each other's backs. I liked how we got the chapters from the past, but I wish we got more of them or they were in 1st person. I think this would have made me connect with her more. I liked the snippets we got from her and just wanted to see more of her. There was something about the ending that felt a bit rushed and that I would have liked it to be a bit longer. Overall, a good thriller with an interesting character, a creative concept, and the right amount of twists and turns
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  • Nikki S
    January 1, 1970
    WHAT. THE. EFF. That ending I did NOT see coming! Kara Thomas, you have done it AGAIN!
  • Stacy Fetters
    January 1, 1970
    "But after awhile, searching for the answers felt like grasping around in the dark. At some point, you have to choose to live in the light."Wow, I honestly did not see any of this coming at all. It left me guessing right up until the end. This is the YA thriller that we all have been waiting for. The cover is what caught my eye initially. There's something creepy about this in an odd way and I love it. The storyline was stronger than her other books and I loved it. Every page seemed like a new m "But after awhile, searching for the answers felt like grasping around in the dark. At some point, you have to choose to live in the light."Wow, I honestly did not see any of this coming at all. It left me guessing right up until the end. This is the YA thriller that we all have been waiting for. The cover is what caught my eye initially. There's something creepy about this in an odd way and I love it. The storyline was stronger than her other books and I loved it. Every page seemed like a new mystery and I was intrigued. RTC
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  • JJ || This Dark Material
    January 1, 1970
    The two smart and (sometimes) unscrupulous high school girls who take it upon themselves to investigate what really happened to Sunnyvale's cheerleaders elevate this above your average teen thriller fare. There are a couple of minor plot holes that I expect will get cleared up in the final edits, but overall Thomas displays a sparkling knack for writing authentic and relatable young women, with a good mystery to go along with them. Full review coming 7/2018!
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  • Gaby (lookingatbooks)
    January 1, 1970
    After reading Little Monsters, I know this will be another masterpiece by Kara Thomas aka the queen of suspense
  • Ashley Supinski
    January 1, 1970
    It should go without saying that I loved this book so freaking much.  Perhaps it's because I wasn't aware of what True Crime story it was based off of (it's not, is it?).  Or that it was like reading a true crime narrative, but as fiction for young adults.  It was different, but in a really good way.   (And also similar to The Darkest Corners and Little Monsters, in the same genre/same tone.)Told through Monica's perspective, the story is a mystery.  Monica is searching for the truth of what rea It should go without saying that I loved this book so freaking much.  Perhaps it's because I wasn't aware of what True Crime story it was based off of (it's not, is it?).  Or that it was like reading a true crime narrative, but as fiction for young adults.  It was different, but in a really good way.   (And also similar to The Darkest Corners and Little Monsters, in the same genre/same tone.)Told through Monica's perspective, the story is a mystery.  Monica is searching for the truth of what really happened to her sister -- because she doesn't really think her sister killed herself five years ago.  Along the way, Monica makes friends with another dancer, Ginny, who definitely has Mega Web Sleuth skills happening at just 17 years old!  Monica is a great character.  She's a relatable teenager who's going through Some Shit.  (The book starts just after Monica has an abortion.) At 16 years old, Monica is trying to figure things out.  She's on the dance team, but doesn't really love it.  She's feeling distanced from her friend's.  She hasn't gotten over her sister's death.Monica shows a lot of signs of grief (very realistic).  She's also definitely Growing Up.  Thomas does this well in the character, having Monica come full-circle and really show that she has grown by the end of the novel.  I loved this about the character development.The plot -- TWISTS! -- is really strong.  Unlike when I read Little Monsters, I took my time reading this book (instead of speed reading and looking for connections to the Skylar Neese case...).  The plot kept me super interested.  It was tight, and all of the "loopholes" were cleared up by the end of the novel.  (This is also done well because, as she did with Little Monsters, Thomas has a few chapters that are from Jennifer's POV.)I did NOT see the end coming.  In truth, I wasn't sure what to expect -- maybe just a happy resolution?  But it was a SHOCKER.  And I liked it.  What's more, even after the Truth is Revealed, Thomas has one final twist for the reader.  So, don't be like I usually am and read the last chapter first.  Seriously -- save it.  You'll thank yourself.So, recommendation time:I loved it.  (As if I wouldn't, KT!)  And I'm going to recommend it to everyone I know.  And then probably buy it for them so they have a copy of it to haunt them until they read it.So.  Even though it doesn't come out until July 31...pre-order it RIGHT NOW.Read this and more over at After the Last Page!
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  • Niki
    January 1, 1970
    Here's the thing, I don't love YA thrillers. They just seem to always leave me disappointed. The best example of this that I can give is First We Were IV by Alexandra Sirowy. The premise of that story has a ritualistic killing and a secret society getting revenge on their corrupt town. Sounds great right? And a majority of it was, but then it falls into the same trap that other YAs fall into- they don't want to go there . It's like the authors want to write a dark book, but then because it's YA Here's the thing, I don't love YA thrillers. They just seem to always leave me disappointed. The best example of this that I can give is First We Were IV by Alexandra Sirowy. The premise of that story has a ritualistic killing and a secret society getting revenge on their corrupt town. Sounds great right? And a majority of it was, but then it falls into the same trap that other YAs fall into- they don't want to go there . It's like the authors want to write a dark book, but then because it's YA they think it can't be too dark and, oh yeah, boys and girls can't be in the same room without being in love with each other and their crushes have to be the real focus of the book- not the murdered people, obviously. But THE CHEERLEADERS not only goes there it does so at full speed and unapologetically. This novel is so different from other YA novels because it does a phenomenal job at avoiding being too linear. There are so many things going on and so many people involved so it's hard to predict where the story is heading, but it never feels overly complicated or hard to follow. The novel also, surprisingly, touches on a lot of complicated topics without coming off as preachy or like the main character is a "woke white girl savior". I read THE CHEERLEADERS in 5 hours. Every time I tried to put it down I had to pick it right back up because I could not stop thinking about it or wondering what was going to happen. Kara Thomas' writing in this novel reminds me of Riley Sager's in The Last Time I Lied (another book I gave 5 stars to). Both authors have this insane and rare talent of being able to tell intricate and layered stories with deceptively easy writing styles that will have you hooked addicted from beginning to end.I cannot wait to read more of this author's works.Be sure to pick up THE CHEERLEADERS when it releases on July 31st!
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  • Kelsi
    January 1, 1970
    Just what I needed. This one kept me guessing and the drama was CRAZY. I was hooked from the first two lines and that last chapter was perfect-I love creepy endings! Gonna have to pick up more of Kara Thomas' books now.
  • Katherine Moore
    January 1, 1970
    When I first heard about this book ‘The Cheerleaders’ from Liberty on Book Riot, my ears perked up at it being a new thriller from Kara Thomas (plus Liberty said it’s awesome). Then I saw the amazing bare-bones cover with the cheerleading skirt, and that absolutely convinced me. A thriller with cheerleaders? Bring it on!!Cheerleaders have been an iconic feature in American culture since the sport of cheerleading became popular for teenage girls in high schools and colleges (rather than it previo When I first heard about this book ‘The Cheerleaders’ from Liberty on Book Riot, my ears perked up at it being a new thriller from Kara Thomas (plus Liberty said it’s awesome). Then I saw the amazing bare-bones cover with the cheerleading skirt, and that absolutely convinced me. A thriller with cheerleaders? Bring it on!!Cheerleaders have been an iconic feature in American culture since the sport of cheerleading became popular for teenage girls in high schools and colleges (rather than it previously being a male sport) in the 1950’s. There’s really no mistaking what a cheer uniform represents in terms of status when one is donned; the cheerleaders in high schools seem to occupy their own certain bewildering stratosphere in the hierarchy of school cliques, and it’s hard to describe the ‘cheerleading effect’ (although it’s done really well in the hilarious movie ‘Bring It On’). Cheerleaders have long made perfect fodder especially for movies (particularly of the horror variety), TV, and books, because of the stereotypes that befall girls who become them.In this book,'The Cheerleaders' of Sunnybrook have either been killed, or they’ve had to become the not quite as high-flying dance squad, so there's not much cheerleading going on. After the deaths of five cheerleaders (two dead from hitting a tree in a car crash, two brutally murdered by the man who lived net door to them, and one by suicide, the squad is disbanded. Monica, whose sister Jen died by her own hand, is now on the dance team, and even though it's five years on, she doesn't have the answers she needs about her sister's death, especially after she comes across her sister's cell phone in her stepad's (the cop) desk. She also has a new friend at school who really pushes to find out what really happened, and to see if the deaths are connected.Now there's a lot about this novel that I really loved: a seasoned writer like Kara Thomas means the reader gets to enjoy clear voice for our protagonist Monica, who is surrounded by friends and family, but still seems rather lonely, having lost her sister Jen some five years prior (and we have some chapters told from her perspective too), and she leads us through this thriller/mystery. Opening with what clearly is her having to deal with the aftermath of an abortion, thanks to an unplanned pregnancy, this is something pivotal to the plot, and something that may turn a few readers unnecessarily away (Thomas isn’t afraid of that though). Quickly though, the reader is given the back story about how the cheerleaders died and why Monica becomes so adamant on finding the truth. But this is also where I find the major flaw: I really did want more ‘cheerleaders’, and more action than just at the end (the twist is still good, although a few times I’d got bogged down in too many details, and got lost in the information given). The book gave me an entirely sad feeling as a takeaway; after ‘solving the mystery’ I came away with such a profound sense of loss for these characters, which I didn’t expect. There’s some closure but it doesn’t balance how much I wanted a bit more of a bloody thriller, much like the blood splatter on the cheerleader skirt on the cover suggests, instead of a sad mystery.This is a solid mystery from Kara Thomas, well-written and with an unexpected twist. Just very sad, and with a lot of amateur sleuthing (instead of cheerleading).
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  • Erica
    January 1, 1970
    Kara Thomas does an exceptional job at giving readers what they need. The Cheerleaders has mystery, action, and makes the reads so curious they have no choice but to find out what happens. Emotional at some parts, yes, but I give this book 5 stars for a reason.
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  • Hannah Martian
    January 1, 1970
    What an absolute GEM this book is. It's twisty and thrilling and my heart was actually racing as I read the last thirty or so pages. I loved the main character, Monica, from the very first page, and the book kept me enthralled throughout. There wasn't just one mystery in the book, but rather several that kept me guessing at every turn. Definitely one of the very best YA mysteries I've ever read!
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  • Marochka
    January 1, 1970
    7/10
  • Stacie (Shy Book Nerd)
    January 1, 1970
    I liked it but felt it lagged a little bit. I was hoping for more on the murder conspiracy. Sadly, that’s not exactly what I got. However, I did not see a certain part coming and didn’t realize until the last second who the murderer was. Overall I liked it and it was a pretty good mystery.
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