Monday, August 27, 2018

Book Review: The Cheerleaders by Kara Thomas

The Cheerleaders by Kara Thomas

Published: July 31, 2018

Genre: Mystery, Young Adult, Thriller

Hardcover Pages: 384

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 center of it all.

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

Thoughts: I wanted to like this book as much as I enjoyed One of Us is Lying, but unfortunately I didn't. I think I was expecting the story to be more heavily focused on the mystery and thriller elements, and though the mystery does play a central role in the story, I wouldn't say I would call it thrilling, really. The development of the mystery was pretty dang slow.

That's not to say that there weren't elements I enjoyed. Monica is a well-developed main character. She isn't perfect, but she's still relatable, at least for the most part. She has a problematic relationship with a teacher at her school that could maybe be explored a bit more. There was mention of a boyfriend who left before the book starts, but we never see her with him, how she acts with him to judge how she acts with other people. Does that even make sense?

Maybe the biggest question is - why now? Why only after five years? If Monica is supposed to be interested because of the anniversary and the special memorial at school, maybe that wasn't quite clear enough for me. Otherwise, it feels a bit like she just randomly decided to start investigating what happened. Could be I just missed what sparked her curiosity as I've been tired lately, but who knows.

Also - the ending. With mysteries, the audience wants to feel smart. It's fine to have a twist, but at least for me, I feel most satisfied when I at least saw the twist coming. Here it kind of came out of left field. Maybe there were subtle hints that I missed, but everything came together in the end very quickly versus the slow build up to that point, that the twist reveal of everything just wasn't that satisfying.

Was it bad? No. But did I enjoy it? Not really.

Rating: 3/5

Buy on Amazon

What I'm Reading Next: A Reaper at the Gates by Sabaa Tahir


  1. This is the type of book for which I wish I could just find a summary with spoilers. I'm intrigued by the concept and want to know the solution to the mystery, but I know I wouldn't end up loving the book and would be irritated by the amount of time I'd have to spend to get to the end. I've looked at this one a few times, but I think your review is enough for me to move on without reading it. Thanks for helping me decide!

    1. Yeah I was excited for this one because I do love a good mystery, but it just didn't quite live up to my expectations!