Jul 23, 2018

ARC Review--The Cheerleaders by Kara Thomas

There are no more cheerleaders in the town of Sunnybrook.

First there was the car accident—two girls gone after hitting a tree on a rainy night. Not long after, the murders happened. Those two girls were killed by the man next door. The police shot him, so no one will ever know why he did it. Monica’s sister was the last cheerleader to die. After her suicide, Sunnybrook High disbanded the cheer squad. No one wanted to be reminded of the girls they lost.

That was five years ago. Now the faculty and students at Sunnybrook High want to remember the lost cheerleaders. But for Monica, it’s not that easy. She just wants to forget. Only, Monica’s world is starting to unravel. There are the letters in her stepdad’s desk, an unearthed, years-old cell phone, a strange new friend at school. . . . Whatever happened five years ago isn’t over. Some people in town know more than they’re saying. And somehow Monica is at the center of it all.

There are no more cheerleaders in Sunnybrook, but that doesn’t mean anyone else is safe.

I received this ARC from an independent bookstore during the festivities of Independent Bookstore Day. My review is completely honest and voluntary; I was in no way compensated for this review.

After reading Kara Thomas’ two thrillers last year, I knew that this year’s thriller, The Cheerleaders would be just as terrifying and suspenseful as her previous ones. It definitely fit the bill for eerie thriller, though I wasn’t as creeped out as I had hoped to be.

Life the past five years for Monica has been hard, ever since her sister died, and her four friends died as well, things have just been rough. Two separate incidents killed four of her sister, Jen’s friends and when everything became too much for her, Jen took her own life. Now as the five year anniversary starts to roll around, Monica begins to question things. Starting with wondering why her stepfather still has Jen’s old cell phone.

Soon Monica and a girl from her class, Ginny, begin to look into the events that surrounded Jen’s friends’ deaths and even Jen’s herself. Tracking people down who knew Jen and the cheerleaders five years ago isn’t exactly easy, especially trying to see if they can remember something. All the while we watch as Monica deals with her own life struggles. She had an event happen to her over the summer that has pretty much left her shaken and has changed her whole attitude on life. She’s not quite the same person she once was, though since we didn’t know her then, we can only take that at face value.

Everyone always assumed that the accident involving two of the cheerleaders was just that, and that the murder of the other two cheerleaders was solved as they caught the man they suspected of being the murderer before he died. Case closed. Monica’s stepfather was one of the police officers who worked the case latter case. But something never sat right with Monica, hence all her digging and investigating.

This book kind of surprised me in some ways. The majority of Monica’s investigating was trying to figure out what really happened to the cheerleaders who were murdered and what Jen’s connection to it all was, that maybe she was murdered too for knowing something. She strives to find answers, but doesn’t expect a part of her past to catch up with her.

I feel like the pacing might have been a little different this time around than in Kara’s previous thrillers. It wasn’t overly slow with Monica’s investigating, but I felt like there was a definite change in pace to what I had initially anticipated. It was enough to keep me turning the pages though as Monica continued to get closer before hitting yet another brick wall. There was definitely a lot of tension to the story, especially as Monica struggles to keep her life from falling apart.

I felt like I wasn’t really able to devise my own speculations with this one. There was simply so much going on and I was trying to find that connection to all of it. When it’s finally revealed by the end, I knew there was no way of me having seen any of that! Lol! I enjoy being taken by surprise like that!

I really enjoyed Monica’s character in this one! Her struggles that she was dealing with felt very real. Granted some of her choices were so far beyond what I would’ve done, I still felt like the majority of her actions were very relatable and realistic. She’s definitely a heroine I could get behind and root for. What also made the story interesting was that every now and then, we would get a chapter’s worth of details from Jen five years ago before and during all the events that took place. These segments were well-timed and placed and became relevant to the part of Monica’s investigation and kind of let us know whether she was on the right trail or not.

The ending, as I said, was surprising! There was a lot more to it all than I had expected. Knowing the full scale of whodunit and all the whys wasn’t something I would ever get close to realizing. Maybe I got to part of the conclusion of the story, but definitely not the latter half! It never bothers me when that happens because I get so wrapped up in the mystery, I just sometimes forget to try and solve it!

The Cheerleaders was a most interesting thriller with quite the twisted string of mysteries! There’s more than one that will need to be solved and just when you think you might see a connection between them, be prepared to be turned in another direction! The Cheerleaders was rather twisted but in the most enjoyable of ways! Definitely a read to keep you guessing long before it’s over!


Overall Rating 4/5 stars

The Cheerleaders releases July 31, 2018 

1 comment:

  1. I have been lusting for this book since it was announced. Sounds like it was another solid book from Thomas.


Comments are an award all on their own! So my blog is an award free one! Thanks for any consideration though!