The Cheerleaders | Book Review

11.27.2018

Beautiful. Talented. Popular. Dead. There are no more cheerleaders in the town of Sunnybrook.


Title: The Cheerleaders
Author: Kara Thomas
Publication: July 31st 2018 by Delacorte Press
Pages: 384
Genre: YA, contemporary, mystery, thriller
Standalone / Series

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 centre of it all.

There are no more cheerleaders in Sunnybrook, but that doesn’t mean anyone else is safe.


Review

★★★★

Trigger warnings: mentions of suicide, abortion, domestic violence, depression, murder, statutory rape, pedophilic man, underage drinking, drug use

This book is a real hit or miss book. Luckily, it was a hit for me. Kara Thomas's books do that to me every single time. It wasn't what I expected when I started reading the book, but still, the plot-line was absolutely amazing. I haven't given any of the Young Adult Thriller/Mystery books that I had read 5 stars, so since I gave this 4 stars, this book was one of the best YA mystery I have ever read. This book brought me out of my reading slump, so yes, it was a good book. If you have ever read her other books before, The Cheerleaders is the best out of all YA mystery she had written.

The narrative is the usual narrative voice of any good YA book and it was really easy to get into. In this book, we primarily see the story from Monica, the main character's point of view. There are also some chapters from Jennifer's point of view a few weeks leading to her death. Since Monica is a teenager, the narrative is very YA-ish; with the teenage angst, immaturity here and there but also full of determination to find the truth. 

What I really loved about this book was, of course, the mystery aspect. It was really hard to put this book down because of the mystery. I kept guessing on who the murderer was, but I the next chapters made me question my guess. The way the story started also creeped me out, I had to stop reading at 1.30 AM, I don't usually get scared reading YA thriller. It kept me on the edge majority of the time I was reading and when any mystery/thriller book does that to you, it means that the author did well in writing the book. 

Another thing that I absolutely loved about this book was how YA it was (yup I just made it an adjective). Out of all the books Thomas had written before, this is the most YA; with all that Jennifer went through before her death and what Monica went through. Friendship issues, mental illness, problematic love relationships. My heart broke on several chapters. 

I hiccup. Gulp for air. My mother says my name again; she grabs me and holds my head to her shoulder. She rocks me like a child and lets me cry. "I hate who I am. I hate myself so much." "Monica," she says, still cradling me. "Even at your worst, I love you more than life itself."

Right there, the sentence that is in bold. I FELT THAT. I did feel that for a lot of personal reasons but it also felt so good seeing Monica showered with love after everything she went through. Although the is still a big room for improvement in the family dynamic, this part has shown a huge development since the first chapter.

For character development, there wasn't a huge development. The characters mostly developed through friendship, especially for Monica and Ginny. I love how their friendship grows and how Monica changed after she became friends with Ginny. I adore Monica and Ginny in action; it reminded me to Betty from Riverdale (guilty pleasure, anyone?). It was realistic for them to investigate using Facebook, yearbook and library since they are just two teenagers. I also loved that while Monica and Ginny's friendship is blossoming, Monica's friendship with her other friends wasn't hugely affected. I hate when that happens in YA.

There are a lot of characters that have a huge potential to be more in this book though, making me give this book 3 point something, close to 4 stars. It wasn't just the characters, there were a lot of parts from this book that can be developed into more but nonetheless, the plot was well done by the author.

There are some other quotes that I really love from this book:

But after a while, searching for the answers felt like grasping around in the dark. At some point, you have to choose to live in the light.

Everyone goes through shit, and there’s always someone somewhere who has it worse. It doesn’t make what you’re feeling any less real or any less shitty.

Overall, this book is a great YA Thriller/Mystery for everyone who enjoys reading YA and is in need to read a light mystery/thriller book. There wasn't any fluffy romance subplot so if you enjoy reading a romance-free book, this book is a book for you😊

Join the conversation!

  1. uuuu i love the cover. sometimes i buy books because of the cover. but this looks good.

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    Replies
    1. before I see the author's name, I thought of buying it solely for the cover too lol😂 but then I see her name so I thought I was definitely bought it. and I bought it hahaha.

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