By Kara Thomas
Publication: July 31, 2018
Bang Bang Review
So I read this two weeks ago and I’ve forgotten a lot so you can probably see where this review is heading.
The Cheerleaders is about a cheerleader (I forgot her name and don’t care to look it up) who (highlight to see the spoiler) is recovering from an abortion from a much older man. She’s trying to get over a break up while the anniversary of her older sister’s suicide looms. Her step father was the lead investigator of her sister’s case and she accidentally finds her sister’s belongings in his office which sparks her belief that her sister was murdered.
The first problema is that there is no reason for the main character to be a cheerleader. Cheerleading does not impact the plot. These girls could have been on the chess team and it wouldn’t have made a bit of difference. A book like Exit, Pursued by a Bear nicely weaves cheerleading into the story; this book which is called The Cheerleaders-does not.
Problema numero dos- Thomas missed the opportunity to dive deep into the spoiler I mentioned above and the person it deals with. This book contains a very timely issue that not many YA books discuss and it’s unfortunate that it wasn’t explored.
Third-Thomas tried to make the dead sister an unreliable narrator but it didn’t work. The sister has her own chapters in the book that are set a couple of days/months prior to her death and she’s written as a virtuous virginal saint but in the MC chapter’s she paints her sister as a major bitch. There’s no way that this girl who preaches just-say-no-to-drugs to her friends and is seen by EVERYONE as pious girl can be so bitchy to her eleven year old sister. We don’t see it on the page; it’s just told to us by the MC. Sure the MC can have her own perspective but at no time do we see the dead sister being manipulative or devious to the MC so it’s difficult to set up an unreliable narrator if we don’t hate her at some point.
Finally, it’s supposed to be a mystery but the MC just looks for people who just info dumps the clues she needs. She barely finds info on her own. And the MC is not likable. She’s not unlikable either; she’s just there.
I enjoyed Thomas’ first book and even her second book was okay but this book-YIKES! If you are looking for a good mystery, I’d recommend The Fixer by Jennifer Lynn Barnes or Agent of Chaos by Kami Garcia.