“You can’t believe everything you hear… Girls are always whittling little weapons to stab each other with.”
– Kara Thomas, The Cheerleaders
Monica’s life came to a devastating halt when both her sister and the rest of the cheerleading squad died in horrific ways: a car crash and a suicide. While the rest of Monica’s community are blind to the coincidences of these deaths, Monica is certain of foul play and is dedicated to investigating her sister’s past to uncover the truth, one that could divide both her family and her town right down the middle.
The Cheerleaders begins with the inquisitive and heartbroken Monica, still suffering from her sister’s suicide that nearly broke her family. But everything begins to change for Monica when she makes a shocking discovery involving her stepdad that could lead her down a dark road towards the truth about her sister’s death — and maybe even to the real killer who may be lurking in the shadows. With the assistance of her newfound friend, Ginny, and a handful of unreliable witnesses, the search proves to be a rollercoaster of emotions — questioning the authenticity of each account, slowly putting the pieces of the puzzle back together.
Soon enough, Monica stumbles upon the darkness of her friends and family and the truths hidden within those closest to her. Nobody is innocent, and everyone is hiding something. But the real question is: Will Monica be able to find the person truly responsible for these killings, or will she have to accept the stories her stepfather continues to tell her?
At first glance, the premise seemed a bit cliche. The main characters are cheerleaders, and much of the story involves the popular crowd, which seemed a bit dull. But as the story continues, Kara Thomas develops characters, both endearing and sinister, that I couldn’t help but love. She constantly surprises and develops a story that is equally emotional and murderous; I loved every thrilling page. Like The Darkest Corners and Little Monsters, Thomas provides readers with a story that is not only a coming-of-age tale but also one that questions the limits we all have and the evil that lurks under all of our skin — leaving a chilling and haunting narrative about girls who are both broken and truly evil. There’s something so enjoyable about Kara Thomas’s books that can only be understood by reading her work. Disturbing, funny, heartbreaking, and spine-chilling, Thomas provides another thriller that brings to light everything that we should fear about humanity: the lengths we will go to cover the truth and to escape the past.
Monica is desperate to know what happened and to finally move on from the deaths that defined her youth. With the help of Ginny, she might just get all of it, but will the truth break her and what she knows about those she loves? The Cheerleaders thrills and will leave readers haunted, each page filled with dread and anxiety, making this read absolutely addicting. The Cheerleaders released on July 31st and is guaranteed to be one of the hottest summer reads in YA literature.