I went into this book with the memory of how much Thomas's previous novel, The Darkest Corners, wowed me and while I really enjoyed this book, I think having loved that book put my expectations a little too high with this one. It's a great book, but just not quite as good as I thought it would be.

Hello everyone!

I am back with another book review, today it is Little Monsters by Kara Thomas. Thanks so much to NetGalley and the author for providing me with an e-ARC of this book for an honest review as a Little Monsters Street Team member. As always, all opinions are my own.

The book follows Kacey, the new girl in town. After a fight with her mother, Kacey ends up living with her father, someone she only knew from the cheques she got on her birthday, and his family, including a stepmother, a stepbrother, and a half sister. She finds herself wedged into the duo that is JadeAndBailey and their two becomes three. But after Kacey is snubbed on the night of the biggest party in Broken Falls, she begins to wonder what their relationship is really all about. The next morning, Bailey is discovered to have not made it home after the party. Questions get asked and fingers are pointed, everyone in Broken Falls knows that anyone from their tight-knit town isn't capable of murder, so what happened to Bailey?

I only knew a brief synopsis of this book going in, I was pretty much on board with anything Thomas wrote. Once the plot started going, I was nervous that this would become another one of those stories. You know the usual "my best friend is missing, these small town cops don't care, etc." And there is a little bit of this going on. But, I stuck with it, because I just KNEW Thomas had something up her sleeve, and boy, oh boy, did she ever.

I won't get into a lot about the plot or the mystery specifics because that would be a spoiler and ruin the story but I will say that this book definitely has more than a few twists. What I love about Thomas's story writing, in both this and her previous book, is that she doesn't use the old one red herring and then real ending trick. She will throw a bunch of things in there and you just have to wade through the suspects. She plays her cards close and doesn't reveal anything until the very end. I found this was a refreshing way to liven up a well-used genre.

Family is also a major element of this book, both just in general and in the mystery. I think Thomas does a really good job of writing the family dynamic as well as avoiding the plot holes that often go along with blended families. Kacey's stepbrother, Andrew, was from his mother's first marriage before his dad died. Then Kacey's stepmother, Ashley, and her dad got married and had Lauren, Kacey's half-sister. While I've read plenty of books with blended families, this one just felt really, real I guess. The siblings accepted Kacey as if she had never been apart of the family and Ashley wasn't a horrendous stepmother.

I can't speak to the comparisons to Pretty Little Liars because I am not familiar with the show/books. But I do think from the general knowledge I have about it, it's a decent jump. This book has a twisted group of friends and secrets that run deep. I think that there are some similarities once everything is explained but I don't want to spoil anything.

As I briefly mentioned before, I think the only reason that I didn't love this book as much as I wanted to was that I absolutely loved her previous book and I had unrealistic expectations. Don't get me wrong, I loved this book too, but I just felt like it was missing something that TDC had to push it over the top for me.

Overall, a refreshing take on the usual small town missing teen trope that I highly recommend!