Bite-Sized Reviews | Lying, Con Artists, & Missing Girls

Oh, look, Series II in “Mikaela Catches Up On Reviewing All The Books She Read In December” edition!

But, really, today I’m here to review three of my most anticipated releases in YA thrillers last year! Clearly, you were all waiting for my thoughts on these highly anticipated releases obviously. Enjoy my extremely late thoughts!

Genre: Thriller, Mystery, YA

Series: NONE

Rating: 2 🌟


Pay close attention and you might solve this.

On Monday afternoon, five students at Bayview High walk into detention.

Bronwyn, the brain, is Yale-bound and never breaks a rule.

Addy, the beauty, is the picture-perfect homecoming princess.

Nate, the criminal, is already on probation for dealing.

Cooper, the athlete, is the all-star baseball pitcher.

And Simon, the outcast, is the creator of Bayview High’s notorious gossip app.

Only, Simon never makes it out of that classroom. Before the end of detention, Simon’s dead. And according to investigators, his death wasn’t an accident. On Monday, he died. But on Tuesday, he’d planned to post juicy reveals about all four of his high-profile classmates, which makes all four of them suspects in his murder. Or are they the perfect patsies for a killer who’s still on the loose?<<<
ryone has secrets, right? What really matters is how far you would go to protect them.

  • I really enjoyed the characters. It was super nice to see characters have these set sort of stereotypes and tropes, and then overcome them! Especially in regards to Addie, who was probably my favorite of the bunch. I’ve always enjoyed it when authors flip tropes on their head, so it was interesting to see it happen here.
  • It was super addictive. This was actually the first book I read after a six-month reading slump, and it put me right back into the reading game! I finished this one in two days (!!!), which is my normal reading time, so I’m happy about that. I mean, I needed to know who killed Simon, damn it!

  • I couldn’t really distinguish between the point of views. I mean, this was like Allegiant all over again where the only way I could tell the difference between Tris and Tobias was the names at the top of the chapters. I mean, everyone basically sounded the same except they swapped out the names who pertained to certain characters.
  • I wasn’t into Bronwyn and Nate’s relationship. Oh why oh WHY does there have to be a romance in every single YA thriller? WHY? I did not care for the “good girl/bad boy” dynamics of their relationship. I just really didn’t. Thankfully, it wasn’t extremely in your face, but I felt there was way too much put into it, especially in the epilogue. I DID NOT CARE.
  • I hated the conclusion. I mean, it reminded me of Missing, Presumed – the book was so good, and then the ending happened. Like, what? At first, I thought it wasn’t the real ending, but then it actually was, and I was like, “That’s it? That’s who did it?” WHY MUST THIS BE.

Genre: Thriller, Mystery, YA

Series: NONE

Rating: 4 🌟


When ten-year-old Daniel Tate went missing from one of California’s most elite communities, he left no trace. He simply vanished.

Six years later, when he resurfaces on a snowy street in Vancouver, he’s no longer the same boy. His sandy hair is darker, the freckles are gone, and he’s initially too traumatized to speak, but he’s alive. His overjoyed family brings him home to a world of luxury and comfort he can barely remember. In time, they assure him, he’ll recover his memories; all that matters now is they’re together again.

It’s perfect. A miracle. Except for one thing.

He isn’t Daniel Tate.

He’s a petty con artist who accidentally stumbled into the scam of a lifetime, and he soon learns he’s not the only one in the Tate household with something to hide. The family has as many secrets as they have millions in the bank, and one of them might be ready to kill to keep the worst one buried.

  • I loved “Daniel” as character. I mean, he was a con-artist/anti-hero, WHICH IS DEFINITELY MY THING. Some authors attempt to have an unlikable character at the helm, but the character is just that – unlikable – without any redeeming factors. But the fact that “Daniel” is a character you can easily sympathize with, especially as he tries to figure out what’s going on with the real Daniel Tate.
  • It was very addictive. I thought I would actually not like the fact that this had no chapters since I rely on chapters to move me forward, but it actually made it way more fun to read because I didn’t want to put it down. You reach a certain point in the book AND YOU JUST HAVE TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENS. And it only goes up from there.
  • The casual diversity was great. Yeah for sexual orientation and race being normalized! Nicholas is gay, and it’s basically not a big deal and Ren, “Daniel’s” love interest, is Asian (if I remember correctly). Also, I appreciated the fact that people of color and white people had their races explicitly mentioned when described, since most books tend to only mention race when someone isn’t white (implying that white is the standard). A nice touch!
  • An ending I appreciated! Woah! Is Mikaela not complaining about the ending of a thriller? WHAT IS THIS? But, seriously, I loved it. Everything wrapped up nicely, and it managed to shock me, but also make sense with clues (also, I totally guessed an aspect, but then disregarded my theory because I thought it was too weird. I KNEW IT!).

  • The romance was unnecessary. I swear, I say this for every review I write, BUT IT’S TRUE.
  • The resolution was a bit rushed. I feel like the entire book was actually building up really nicely, and then the final fifty or so pages were just ACTION ACTION ACTION ACTION, which threw me a bit. I still liked the ending, but I wish it had slowed down a bit.

Genre: Thriller, Mystery, YA

Series: NONE

Rating: 5 🌟


Kacey is the new girl in Broken Falls. When she moved in with her father, she stepped into a brand-new life. A life with a stepbrother, a stepmother, and strangest of all, an adoring younger half sister.

Kacey’s new life is eerily charming compared with the wild highs and lows of the old one she lived with her volatile mother. And everyone is so nice in Broken Falls—she’s even been welcomed into a tight new circle of friends. Bailey and Jade invite her to do everything with them.

Which is why it’s so odd when they start acting distant. And when they don’t invite her to the biggest party of the year, it doesn’t exactly feel like an accident.

But Kacey will never be able to ask, because Bailey never makes it home from that party. Suddenly, Broken Falls doesn’t seem so welcoming after all—especially once everyone starts looking to the new girl for answers.

Kacey is about to learn some very important lessons: Sometimes appearances can be deceiving. Sometimes when you’re the new girl, you shouldn’t trust anyone.

  • There was no romance. I LOVE KARA THOMAS; GOD BLESS THIS WOMAN. She’s the Queen of Not Writing Thrillers With Stupid Romances. I will forever worship her for this aspect.
  • I loved the examination of female friendships. Besides small towns, terrible female friendships are probably one of my favorite tropes in thrillers, and this was a great addition to my collection! The backstabby aspect of Kacey, Jade, and Bailey’s friendship coupled with Bailey’s diary entries was so interesting. I LOVE IT.
  • Very Gillian Flynn-esque. I mean, the combination of small town thriller with twisty female characters and a messy relationship between all of them reminded me a lot of the less intense/dark version of Sharp Objects. So, just putting that out there.
  • It kept me in suspense. This was actually a pretty slow-moving book, but it still managed to keep my interest. It was just quietly beautiful. I am her for these types of books.

  • I mean, nothing? I don’t have anything, so…yeah.
  • Buy the book, pls.

Have you read any of these books? What did you think about them? What are some of your favorite YA thrillers?


23 thoughts on “Bite-Sized Reviews | Lying, Con Artists, & Missing Girls

  1. Wow great reviews! I actually have One of Us is Lying and I heard mixed reviews so I might just try it out for myself! I really want to read Kara Thomas’ debut novel “The Darkest Corners” before picking up Little Monsters! I actually met her at a Book Fair over a year ago and I’ve been really wanting to read it! But yea I’ve heard some really great things! And Here Lies Daniel Tate sounds so good! These bite sized reviews are really fun to read! Hope you continue!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I haven’t read any of these books unless you count me reading the first 30 pages of Daniel Tate at B&N?? But you probably won’t (but Daniel Tate was so engrossing alksjfkdsjf i wish i bought it tbh)

    IT SUCKS THAT ONE OF US IS LYING IS DISAPPOINTING it got more hype than I actually thought?? and it was on the nyt bestselling list?? i really didn’t consider it a hyped book at first but whoa

    LITTLE MONSTERS sounds so good sldkfsdjk i was never really interested in it but i’ll probably check it out…. in the far future… because of your review!!

    Liked by 1 person


      Yeah, I’m shocked it did as well! I’m sort of glad since YA thrillers tend to not be as popular, so hopefully this means publishers will finally realize there’s a market for those types of readers! I heard it was optioned for a TV show as well, which I’m skeptical about since there is not enough material for this to be anything more than a mini-series since it’s a stand-alone. But we’ll see if it happens. 🤷🏾‍♀️

      Yeah, I hope you enjoy it! 😄

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m so happy you like Little Monster, but I’m sad you didn’t enjoy One of Us is Lying, it’s one of my most anticipated read. I’ve seen Here Lies Daniel Tate around, but until I read it in your blog, I didn’t really pay attention. I’m really curious now especially since it has a con artist as its main character, I’m adding this to my tbr!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Ooh, I love this. I’ve heard a lot of people reading One of Us Is Lying and everyone concluding with the same rating, so I’ve definitely thrown that out of my tbr months ago. I’m still on the fence with Daniel Tate because it doesn’t really sound like something I could get into, but I have been trying to get into different genres as well.

    Liked by 1 person

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