Book Review: The Cheerleaders by Kara Thomas

The Cheerleaders by Kara Thomas

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Title: The Cheerleaders
Author: Kara Thomas
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Publish Date: July 31, 2018

from Amazon:
There are no more cheerleaders in the town of Sunnybrook.

First there was the car accident–two girls dead 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 his reasons. 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’d 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.

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Monica’s sister Jennifer died five years ago. Jennifer committed suicide shortly after four of her friends died… they were all cheerleaders. The town was upset by the loss of the five teens, and the school ended the cheerleader program. The deaths were all somewhat suspicious – car accident, murder, and suicide. Monica believes there to be more to her sister’s death, and that of her friends. In an effort to discover the truth, Monica enlists the help of her friend Ginny and they start digging into the past.

Most of the story is told from Monica’s point of view. She is a teen troubled by the loss of her older sister five years earlier. Monica is sixteen years old and facing typical teen issues, but also some not so typical issues. This novel takes on some difficult topics, such as abortion, depression, suicide, and drugs.

This is a dark, and sometimes depressing, mystery. The deaths were all suspicious. The first two cheerleaders to die were killed in a car accident, but there were some questions concerning the cause of the accident. The next two girls to die were killed by a neighbor. Unfortunately, the police killed the neighbor before a motive was ever determined. The last death was Monica’s sister, Jennifer. She killed herself, but Monica thinks there was more to that story than she was ever told.

I’m a fan of young adult novels, and since I’ve always been drawn to mysteries and thrillers, this one seemed like a perfect fit. I did enjoy some parts of the novel, but some parts didn’t pull me in. The overall story is complex and intriguing. I kept guessing as to who was behind the deaths, so the story did deliver in that area. Due to the darker storyline, this book is more geared toward older teens, but also an interesting read for adults. Complex, dark, and twisty.

I borrowed this book from my local library.

6 thoughts on “Book Review: The Cheerleaders by Kara Thomas

  1. Great, honest review Darinda. I saw some hype on this one when it came out, but for some reason it did not grab me. Too bad it was not what you had expected.

    1. Thank you! I heard the hype on this one too, but waited a little while before finally deciding to read it. I enjoyed a lot of the story, but I didn’t really connect with the characters.

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