The Cheerleaders - Kara Thomas

Being a cheerleader at Sunnybrook High is a deadly assignment, Monica knows this all too well since the last cheerleader to die five years ago was her sister. She's always thought there was more to her death than she was told and when new information comes to light Monica finds herself in the centre of a town-wide mystery.

'The Cheerleaders' was one of those books that sat on my Amazon Wishlist for months and months, I couldn't bring myself to order it, there was always something better. But thankfully, Amazon drops it's prices often and puts a lot of YA thrillers into their "2 for £7" deal and the day came when this book became a worthwhile order. YA thrillers always sit well with me, they're never too confusing and tend to have a strong lead character with a determination to make the world see the truth. Monica was no exception to this, she definitely wanted to get to the real answers behind her sister's death and those of four other cheerleaders but that was all she seemed to be about. There wasn't a side-plot or deeper characterisation that allowed the reader to fully connect with her and she felt very one-dimensional.

Investigation into the deaths was set at a good pace and kept me engaged enough to read this in one sitting, it was captivating and twists were genuinely shocking, I didn't see them coming and was pleasantly surprised with the progression. Connections between the five deaths were initially hinted as being connected by a single event but as the book went on it became clear that although there was a secret surrounding the deaths it wasn't the same one. This felt slightly disappointing as a conclusion, it wasn't entirely how the book was sold and I would have just liked to have seen a stronger plot that actually did connect the deaths.

Whilst the overall conclusion was disappointing I did thoroughly enjoy the big twist ending, the build-up left me guessing and it was beautifully revealed. Thomas clearly knows how to write a twisty-thriller, I'd have loved to see a bit of a clearer connection as mentioned above and potentially some deeper characterisation. I appreciate that this novel and the characters were written for a specific story, but the characters don't seem realistic outside of the world in Sunnybrook High, I couldn't picture their full personality which is often how I connect to a story. However, I know some people really appreciate a no-frills approach to characters, they don't care about the events that made them how they are or their little quirks, in which case, this would be an ideal quick thriller without the frills.

Any book I can complete in one sitting is going to be one I recommend, even if it's not your favourite book by the end you can still appreciate the engaging writing that the author has utilised.

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