Kara Thomas is one of our favorite authors. She writes exciting, chilling and gripping YA mysteries/thrillers. We’ve ranked her one series and four standalone books below. We’ll continue to update this post when Thomas releases new books. If you want to learn more about Thomas, check out our interview with her from summer 2021.
1. The Prep School Confidential series
The Prep School Confidential series is reminiscent of Gossip Girl but with murder. It’s easily our favorite from Thomas so far. Anne Dowling loves her privileged life in NYC— until she burns part of her school down and gets shipped off to a preppy boarding school in New England. Right after she arrives, her roommate is murdered and Anne finds herself pursuing the mystery.
Not enough people have read the Prep School Confidential series, which is full of twists and turns. Anne’s character growth from a spoiled socialite to a badass detective is fun to read. Combine that with a swoonworthy romance and a cast of interesting side characters and you have A+ series.
If you love a good mystery, you won’t be able to put this one down. You’ll be routing for Anne the entire time, even if she makes some bad decisions along the way.
2. The Cheerleaders
There are no more cheerleaders left in Sunnybrook, New York. Five years ago, five cheerleaders died within a few weeks of each other. Now, one of the cheerleader’s younger sisters, Monica, believes she doesn’t know everything about their deaths and is determined to find out what really happened. But, that would also mean a killer has been out there for years.
Follow this dark and twisted path with Monica as she can finally comes to terms with the tragic events that haunt her childhood. This amateur detective is determined to know the truth about her sister.
We loved The Cheerleaders because it had so many surprises. Plus, Monica was a great MC and never let anyone stop her from discovering the truth.
3. That Weekend
After a devastating breakup, Claire Keough plans to skip the prom and go away with her two best friends Kat Marcotte and Jesse Salpietro. Without telling their parents, the three sneak up to Kat’s parent’s house secluded in the mountains of Upstate New York.
But when Claire wakes up days later, she remembers nothing. Even worse, Kat and Jesse are missing. Between the stuck up classmates and the relentless press, everyone has a theory about what happened to Kat and Jesse…many of which include Claire. As Claire’s memory comes back slowly after she returns to Long Island and she starts to dig into what really happened on the mountain, things are worse than she ever expected.
We read That Weekend for our July book club in 2021 and everyone agreed that this book was thrilling, exciting and the perfect dark summer read. While it’s not our favorite from Thomas, we would definitely read this one again.
4. The Darkest Corners
Tessa Lowell hasn’t been back to her hometown of Fayette, Pennsylvania in years. When Tessa is forced to go back and stay with the Callie, Tessa’s former best friend, old wounds arise.
Right before Tessa left, Callie’s cousin was murdered and the killer sentenced to prison. But as more details of that night come back, Tessa and Callie worry they helped put away the wrong person. To make things worse, another killer is at large in Fayette when a teenager’s body is found.
With two possible killers out there, Tessa and Callie reluctantly have to work together to stop this insanity and learn the truth about that horrible night that also ended their friendship.
Like Thomas’s other books, we enjoyed the suspenseful mystery of The Darkest Corners. We found ourselves in the middle of an exciting plot with a layered mystery. The small town was creepy, the characters were dynamic and the reveals were unexpected.
5. Little Monsters
There is something spooky about the small town of Broken Falls, Wisconsin. Kacey moves to town with her dad and step mother and almost immediately, two girls named Bailey and Jade invite Kacey to be a part of their clique. One night Bailey goes missing and never returns. It’s up to Kacey to find out what really happened and learn that these so-called friends might have been hiding some dark secrets this entire time.
We didn’t connect with the characters in Little Monsters like we did in Thomas’s other books. While the ending completely shocked us, we weren’t too invested in Kacey’s life. It’s still a solid thriller and the small town in Wisconsin was a unique setting.