‘Little Monsters’ adds fresh voice to Young Adult thrillers


The cover of the “Little Monsters”.

Bianca McCarty, Assistant Editor

Not much was expected from Little Monsters when I wrote it on my Christmas list. I’d simply seen the synopsis around the internet and I thought it seemed interesting. To my surprise, I greatly enjoyed this all to familiar story of a girl gone missing. 

Little Monsters is a young adult thriller novel by Kara Thomas that follows main character Kacey Young after she moves in with her stepfamily in Broken Falls, Wisconsin and gets wrapped up with in a missing person case, especially since the missing person is her best friend, Bailey. As the case unfolds, Kacey discovers the horrifying secrets of her town and learns that Broken Falls isn’t as sweet and innocent as it seems. 

I’m not a person who generally enjoys thrillers. I don’t enjoy the feeling of being afraid, one reason I’ve never really understood the enjoyment of horror movies and books. But when I devoured this book over Christmas break, I finally understood the appeal.

The plot is phenomenal, to put it lightly. It’s so unpredictable, it’s almost impossible to talk about this book without spoiling anything. There are twists and turns like nothing I’ve ever read. When it comes to plot twists in the mystery/thriller genre, they tend to fall into two categories: predictable, or completely coming out of left field. The plot twists in Little Monsters are the perfect middle ground. They are shocking and fun to read, but in the context of the story they are plausible. 

The events of the story are woven together expertly. Nothing can be disregarded, as trivial as it may seem. Scenes from the beginning of the book tie into the end seamlessly, leaving the reader awestruck, wondering how they could have missed it. 

With all the twists and turns of the story, the reader quickly realizes that there is no character you can trust. All of the characters are complex and likable in their own way, but they are as untrustworthy as they are trustworthy. Even the most inconspicuous characters cannot be completely written off, even the girl gone missing. Almost every person in Broken Falls has a motive to hurt Bailey, and you feel as if you never know the full story, even as you read the epilogue. It sets you on edge as you turn the pages, keeping your eyes glued to the pages and in my case, causing you to loose needed sleep. 

At one point, the author even leads you to mistrust the reliability of Kacey, our main character and narrator. Kacey is a very well done unreliable narrator. She has a troubled past and problems with her mother that results in mental health issues. She describes having blackouts in the past, and reading to much into things that aren’t very important. She is desperate to stay with her stepfamily that’s she’s grown to love within her time staying with them. Kacey doesn’t trust herself, leading the reader to wonder if she had more to do with Bailey’s disappearance than she lets on. 

The tone of the book is especially eerie, because the setting is all too familiar. Broken Falls is painfully normal. It could be any town in America. A small, but not that small, middle class town with seemingly nothing to hide where everyone knows everyone. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?