Little Monsters

336p. Delacorte. Jul. 2017. Tr 17.99. ISBN 9780553521498. POP
Gr 10 Up—An eerie and masterly psychological thriller. Shattered from living with her unstable mother for years, Kacey arrives in Broken Falls, WI, to live with her father. She rebuilds her life, surrounding herself with new family and tight-knit friends Bailey and Jade. One night, in the deep of winter, the girls and Kacey's half sister, Lauren, hold a séance to summon the spirit of the legendary ghost rumored to lurk in the forest. Their botched ritual precedes the sudden disappearance of Bailey, who fails to return home from a party the next night. As the investigation ramps up and clues are found, secrets about the girls seep into the town's rumor mill. Excerpts from Bailey's journal reveal a consuming jealousy and deceit she disguised as friendship, further shrouding her disappearance in mystery. Blame shifts from person to person to ghost and culminates in a shocking and disturbing ending. Thomas expertly captures the pointed nuances and the fickle, manipulative bonds of adolescent girls' friendships. A fast-paced plot develops characters just enough to pique readers' suspicions. The book is descriptive yet concise, deftly folding in layers of mystery, a ghost story, and realistic dialogue to propel the narrative forward.
VERDICT A compelling and vivid thriller that even the most reluctant of readers will devour.

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