I don’t know what it is about murder and cheerleading, but they are a surprisingly good combination. In her newest novel Kara Thomas managed to write one of the most compelling murder mysteries I’ve read so far this year.
Five cheerleaders in a small town die, in three separate incidents, within a month’s time. Is it a coincidence or is there something sinister going on in the town of Sunnybrook? Our protagonist is Monica Rayburn, the sister of one of the cheerleaders that died. When she finds her sister’s phone in the desk of her stepfather, she begins searching for clues about what might have led her sister, Jen, to commit suicide five years ago.
The story is primarily told from Monica’s point of view, but occasionally shifts to Jen, showing us what happened in the weeks that lead up to her death. Monica’s character is dynamic and realistic. She is appropriately angsty for a sixteen year old, but also sincere while finding out who she really is.
What I loved most about this book was how intricate the mystery was, making me shift from one suspect to the next. You know those thrillers in which every single person could have done the crime? And you just don’t know? This is exactly one of those books. As the reader, you want to crack the case as much as the main character. And while Monica is flawed and not always likeable, that makes you want to root for her anyway.
It honestly didn’t took long for me to become completely engrossed in this book – I finished it about 24 hours after I bought it in the book store. This is a dark story full of twists and turns, and with a bunch of creepy characters as well. The Cheerleaders deserves a fair trigger warning for domestic abuse, mention of statutory rape, suicide, abortion and murder. I have read in some reviews that people found the book a little too slow moving or long, but to me it flowed rather nicely.
This was my first Kara Thomas book, but definitely not the last!