I haven't read much YA in the genre since my foray into Pretty Little Liars, but the cover and blurb for Little Creeping Things sold me.
Cass is haunted by her past. Assuming the blame for a horrible fire that took the life of her best friend, scarred her brother, and almost killed her, Cass embraces the identity of Fire Girl, believing anyone who gets close to her is doomed to be burned. Unfortunately, she finds herself in a precarious situation when she overhears the murder of her sworn enemy. Spiraling deeper into the mystery and suspect pool, Cass must confront her demons to overcome her tormented history and solve the case before it's too late. Little Creeping Things was a wonderful blend of murder and mystery. As an MC, I really liked Cass. Her reflective nature and anxiety about the past was endearing. She never absolved herself from blame, and with the severity of the event, it made sense that something of that nature would follow her. A small town where everyone knew each other, it was interesting to see how the fire affected the rest of her life. From taunts to bullying, Ichaso did a superb job of structuring the plot so that the weight of responsibility she felt didn't seem hyperbolic or unwarranted. While I don't often care for romantic subplots, I found Cass' relationship with Gideon refreshing and adorable. Exploring the nuances of friendship, how childhood friendship can blossom into romantic entanglements, their friendship was never perfect or cut and dry. They fought, held differing opinions, attacked problems in two completely different ways, and yet when things got scary or difficult, their instincts were always to protect each other. I think the only thing that got repetitive was Cass' suspicion of literally every male character in the book at some point or other. She jumps from one to the next, producing "proof" for all of her rationale into why this person was *definitely* the killer. I wouldn't say she's an unreliable narrator, but you're supposed to question her ability to critically think about the information she's giving to us as the reader. I had to suspend some disbelief on this part, one because she's a teenager inserting herself into a murder investigation, and two, I didn't understand how she was so sure of everyone else's guilt; but, comparing it to a show like House or, yes, Pretty Little Liars, where all the wrong answers are exhausted before the truth comes to light, her approach to solving the mystery worked. I wasn't shocked by the ending, but I didn't dislike it either. Overall, I'd highly recommend this to anyone looking for a psychological YA thriller with a dash of romance thrown in. I really enjoyed this read. Big thanks to NetGalley and Sourcebooks for providing an arc in exchange for review consideration.