Review: The Cheerleaders

Review: The Cheerleaders

The Cheerleaders by Kara Thomas

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My Rating

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Official synopsis

There are no more cheerleaders in the town of Sunnybrook.

First there was the car accident—two girls gone 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 why he did it. 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 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.


Review

Bloody pom-poms and hormonal teenagers - this was definitely an interesting read.

I haven't read many YA mysteries so I expected something a little less darker than what I'm used to with thriller/mystery books. But damn, this was disturbing, heavy and dark. I was surprised by the murders, suicide, abortion, death, rape and sexual assault that all took place or was mentioned in this - definitely wasn't expecting all of that.

Monica seemed so natural and real, her thoughts and pain and sorrow coming across so truthful and raw that it was a little jarring at first how little she thought of herself. But then I got it - it was her way of grieving and expressing her pain. I could relate to her friendships and the ups and downs of being a teenage girl with so few people to confide in. I was initially suspicious of her friendship and Ginny but warmed up to the girl as quickly as Monica did, enamored by her fearlessness and genuine personality.

I appreciated how real Monica and her family dynamic came across. In my teenage years, I definitely experienced a lot of the resentment and hostility but deep down love for family that she did. Her back-and-forth relationship with her sister is something that I could relate to as well, myself being a younger sister with a large age gap - I could see myself through her eyes, wondering what was going on with my own sister, not really understanding or knowing but aware.

I would have loved to have read more from Jen's perspective. I thought she was the most compelling character of the entire story and I sympathized with her and her state of depression. I appreciated those flashbacks for providing insight on not only her friendships and daily life but her frustrations with her life and everyone's perception of her.

Overall I felt like it could have been a little bit shorter and gotten to the point a little bit quicker but I appreciated the detailed explanations and covering all loose ends. The big reveal to me wasn't as "OMG" as I like them to be and so I was a little bit underwhelmed by it.

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