Hey there, Literature Lovers!
For the month of October I decided to check out a few thriller/spooky books in order to get the mood for Halloween. I’m not normally someone who gravitates toward these types of stories because I am easily scared, but thought it would be worth stepping out of the comfort zone and giving a new genre a try. The first book I decided to test out was The Cheerleaders by Kara Thomas.
The Cheerleaders is a young adult thriller that follows Monica, a high school junior who is on her school’s dance team. The school is planning a memorial to honor the cheerleaders who died five years before, including Monica’s older sister Jen who committed suicide after the murder of her two best friends. While searching for something in her stepfather’s desk, Monica stumbles across some letters that question whether the police really caught the man who killed her sister’s best friends. The rest of the novel focuses on Monica and her friend Ginny piecing together the story of what happened five years ago.
The overall concept of the cheerleaders dying was interesting and kept me intrigued, although I did feel like the ending was a bit obvious. I’ve never seen the Pretty Little Liars show, but it felt like this was a story that could have happened on that show. Alongside the murder mystery, the author was trying to tackle some very serious topics, but I don’t think in the end that they were handled the right way.
Spoilers Below: (trigger warning for statutory rape and abortion)
Monica hooked up with an older guy named Brandon over the summer and got pregnant. She does not tell anyone about this except her mom, although she excludes the identity of the father, and gets an abortion. This is never explictly said, but most of the early chapters heavily allude to this. Brandon is suddenly employed by the school as the track and field coach and Monica is left wrestling with her lingering feelings for him and knowing that it was wrong. In the very end it is discovered that she is not the first high school girl Brandon has taken advantage of. What annoyed me was that this was an important storyline throughout the book and a pretty defining thing for Monica, and in the end she does not blame him for being a monster who used her. Instead she says that she used him too. No, Monica. Just no. I think that the author had shown some great growth for this character and then did not follow through.
My favorite character was Ginny. She was nice, helpful, and just seemed like the kind of character you would want to give a big hug. Everyone else felt flat for me, including our main character Monica. I also enjoyed the scenes that were flashbacks of Jen from five years ago. It was interesting to see what was actually happening with her and getting a better understanding of who she was at the time of the deaths.
This was just an okay book to me.
Rating: 2 out of 5 Stars.
Have you read The Cheerleaders? What did you think? Sound off in the comments below!
Thanks for reading!