by: Kara Thomas
5 years ago a series of back-to-back tragedies involving the deaths of 5 cheerleaders shocked a town shocked a small town. Now Monica Rayburn- the younger sister of the last cheerleader to die that year discovers a series of strange warnings and finds her sisters old phone all of which makes her start to question what actually happened.
Who really killed the cheerleaders?
This was my first read by Kara Thomas and definitely not my last. (Hell- I’ve already picked up Little Monsters.) Monica is an interesting character mostly likable. She starts off recovering from a big old mistake and stumbling upon the clues quiet by accident.
Not only was her sister Jennifer one of the dead cheerleaders. Her stepfather was a cop that worked on the case. Two of the cheerleaders were killed in a car accident, two were murdered and one was a suicide. It’s the murder that attracts Monica as she begins to doubt the guilt of the so-called perpetrator. She and Ginny- a schoolmate who thinks the girls deserved better- begin to unravel the clues.
Meanwhile we also get flashbacks from Jennifer’s point-of-view. As we see normal high schoolers. Partying. Fighting. Losing their grip on friends. Moving on. Trying to understand that, each other and what they want as we, the readers, know they’re all headed for tragedy. Which gives the flashbacks a very moving, very sad tinge to them.
I liked and felt for Monica (and really everyone) even though there’s some questionable decision making. At least she recognizes that and feels guilt over some of her actions.
I really didn’t know where it was going.
The only thing I’m very slightly iffy on is that very last chapter. At first reading it I thought the placement was a little off but I have to admit even know it’s growing on me.
Warnings for: Suicide, murder, assault, rape, child abuse. And also two very sad mentions of pets left behind which always breaks my heart.
Recommend: Yes. It’s a great YA thriller. Also while I recommend it whenever the book does take place during Homecoming in both timelines and it could be fun to read in the Fall when it gets dark earlier and you want to curl up with hot chocolate and a great thriller.