The Cheerleaders by Kara Thomas
Publication Date: July 31, 2018
There are no more cheerleaders in the town of Sunnybrook.
First there was the car accident–two girls dead 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 his reasons. 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’d 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.
ARC received from Random House Children’s via NetGalley for an honest review.
I loved both of Kara Thomas’s previous books so I went into this one with pretty high expectations and I wasn’t disappointed. I still have some questions though about some of the story, but overall it was a very satisfying read that was very hard to put down.
Monica is a very easy character to like, she has dealt with a lot in her life and she has become tough because of it. She does make mistakes, and some of them were quite huge. Like having an affair with an older man and having to deal with the consequences from that, such as his being the new soccer coach at her school. Her sister’s suicide also weighs heavily on her, and her mother and stepdad won’t discuss it with her. The five year anniversary is the breaking point for her, and she becomes determined to find out some answers. Her journey into what really happened has many twists and turns and lots of suspects, but ultimately she comes face to face with what really happened and it is quite frightening.
Ginny, Monica’s new friend, is also a very interesting character. She is a little bit quirky, but likable. I often wondered why she was so willing to help Monica find out the truth, and was quite surprised at the end when we find out a bit of her past. That was a twist I didn’t see coming. Ginny is a survivor and a good influence on Monica.
Most of the book is told from Monica’s point of view, but we get some glimpses of her sister’s last few days in short chapters from her perspective. Jen’s perspective didn’t shed a whole lot of light on the murders and accident, but she did offer a way for us to learn what was going on in the girl’s lives before everything that happened to them. I wanted a little bit more from Jen, I didn’t think we got a complete picture of why she committed suicide, but that was the only flaw in the story.
Another riveting and fast paced thriller that will keep you reading and wanting more. If you haven’t read any books from Kara Thomas, pick one up, and then plan on spending many hours not being able to put it down.