Author Interview & Review: The Cheerleaders by Kara Thomas
I met Kara Thomas when she toured to SF on a panel with Jeff Zentner and Julie Buxbaum. All three of them would go on to become authors I adore so I was thrilled when Kara indulged me on a few questions. Check out our interview below and my audiobook review, too! Thank you to PRH Audio for the opportunity to review The Cheerleaders!
Category: Young Adult, Contemporary, Thriller
Publication: July 31st, 2018; Delacorte Press
From the author of The Darkest Corners and Little Monsters comes an all-new edge-of-your-seat thriller set in upstate New York about an eerie sequence of seemingly unrelated events that leaves five cheerleaders dead.
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.
Author Interview: Kara Thomas
Let’s talk about Monica, the central character in The Cheerleaders. What would she carry in her bag on a regular basis?
Monica is both girly and no nonsense, so she would carry around practical stuff, like dry shampoo and a nail file. She’s always got her Nalgene on her to stay hydrated for cheer practice, and her charger, because let’s be honest–she can’t deal with a dead cell phone.
You’re three thrillers deep now, What’s been the most terrifying scene you’ve had to write?
Writing the final scene in The Darkest Corners creeped me out, just because of the way the idea for the twist came to me. Without giving away the ending for those who haven’t read, I started thinking about what it would be like to be in that situation, and it was pretty terrifying to imagine!
If you were to pair your main characters in each of your books alongside classic teen horror movies, how would you pair them?
Monica from The Cheerleaders with Max from The Final Girls
Kacey from Little Monsters with Sarah from The Craft
Tessa from The Darkest Corners with Julie from I Know What You Did Last Summer
If this interview hasn’t convinced you to grab all three of Kara’s thrillers, maybe her cat, Felix, can shame you into it. Just look at him. Try to deny him.
What I love about Kara’s books is that they’re realistic thrillers – they are situations you might turn on the news and see. As I began reading The Cheerleaders, I already had this creeping, sinking feeling of dread, which never ended until the story did. And then the ending just kills you so yeah.
Two murders, two accidents, and one death by suicide….or was it? This is one of those books where you really have to pay attention. There’s so much going on at once, with flashbacks and storylines spanning 5 years. I frequently found myself rewinding and analyzing what I heard – not that I ever figure thrillers out but I try to give myself a fighting chance! There are three separate events unfolding to the present day, and each has it’s own mini-mystery ready for you to discover. While this might sound confusing, it’s not. Kara makes it all happen very seamlessly.
I’m really feeling these books that match the feeling of listening to a true crime podcast!