Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Book Review: The Cheerleaders by Kara Thomas

Title: The Cheerleaders
Author: Kara Thomas
Genre: Young Adult, Mystery, Thriller
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.

My Review:
When I first read the synopsis for The Cheerleaders by Kara Thomas, I was intrigued. This book was high on my TBR list. When I got the chance to read it, I was ecstatic. However, I was left feeling a bit disappointed after finishing it.

The pacing for The Cheerleaders is a bit all over the place. Sometimes it would be really slow, sometimes it would be a decent pace, and other times, it would just be too fast! I will admit that the pacing got better during the second half of the book. Still, I did find myself becoming bored with the book mostly during the first half. However, most of the book held my attention long enough for me to keep on reading.

The world building was fairly believable although I did have a hard time believing the police would miss some of the more obvious things I won't go into due to spoilers. There's one thing that is described at the end that I wondered how that was never discovered. Maybe the police force in the town of Sunnybrook just aren't very efficient at their jobs. Anyway, the plot has been done before, but it was still fairly interesting to read about. After finding her dead sister's old cell phone and a note saying "connect the dots" on a photo of the 5 dead cheerleaders in her step-father's locked drawer, Monica starts doing some detective work. She doesn't believe her sister would have committed suicide. As she starts digging deeper, she finds out some things aren't what they seem. The plot had some twists. I do believe some of the plot twists were predictable while others were not. I did get the killer wrong though. I will admit that. One of things that felt out of place was the book starting off with Monica's abortion. I really don't see the point of it. It isn't really mentioned again after the first few chapters. Also, there's a paragraph of politics thrown in the book that I didn't know why it was in there. It was as if the author just wanted her audience to know what her political leanings were.

I felt like the characters for The Cheerleaders were all a bit two dimensional. The author tried to make them fleshed out a bit more, but they just felt a bit flat to me. I felt as if they were all a little conceited especially Monica, the main character, for my liking. There were so many times I rolled my eyes at Monica. I just did not and could not bring myself to like her no matter how hard I tried. I felt like she was a bit spoiled and selfish. I did like Ginny though. I just wish she was more fleshed out. I also would have liked to read more about Ethan. I find him to be an interesting character.

Trigger warnings for The Cheerleaders include swearing, murder, death, some violence, underage drinking, drugs (pill popping), abortion, kissing, talks of suicide, and implied sexual situations.

All in all, The Cheerleaders was just an okay read. Nothing really stood out, and I imagine I'll forget about this book soon which is a shame because it sounded really good going by the synopsis. The plot was somewhat interesting, and it did hold my attention for the most part, so it has that going for it. I'm on the fence about whether I'd recommend The Cheerleaders by Kara Thomas. Actually, I would recommend people to read it and come to their own conclusions.

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