What is this about?: There are no more cheerleaders in Sunnybrook because the last team were all killed. And Monica, whose sister committed suicide, is sure of this. Now she just has to prove it.
What else is this about?: It’s about family, about the secrets they share and it’s about friends, the ones you make when you least expect it. It’s also about finding truths you just aren’t ready to hear.
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.
The Cheerleaders wasn’t what I expected, weirdly because I didn’t expect to like Monica so much. Weird, I know.
Monica and Ginny
Monica misses her sister, even though through this book is she straighforward and realistic about their relationship. When the book begins, I thought she was a quintessential high school student, but soon enough her strength, her determination and her desire for the truth about why and how her sister died begins to shine through.
Her observations of her life, her friends are mature, and illuminating and even more so when it comes to her relationships with her step father and her mother. Since her sister’s death by suicide, Monica has slowly been unravelling but she’s hid it enough that no one has really realised, until this book begins.
I think that’s why I like her so much — her grief, her desire to hold on to the different threads in her life and her desire to burn it all away because of her grief — is all easy to empathise with and invest in as she begins to investigate exactly what happened to the cheerleaders.
Ginny, a student at school, begins to help her. They are not supposed to be friends, and are from two very different ends of the high school spectrum. But Ginny becomes the only person that Monica can trust with the truth of what she is doing, and Ginny proves herself over and over — and becomes someone who has a different story here, but one that is no less interesting and compelling.
I know it’s weird guys, but honestly, I would watch or read about these two investigating all sorts of things because they’re just so well written.
But family is where it’s at for me with this book
Monica’s investigation encompasses all the cheerleaders’ deaths, because she thinks they’re all related. But, her step-father Tom, a cop that arrested the man that the town killed the cheerleaders — every one except Jennifer. To investigate and find a killer means Tom killed the wrong man, and Monica struggles with that as she pushes on.
Their relationship is complex, even as it’s clear they care so much for each other — and that Tom is hiding something from her.
But I liked her relationship with her mother most of all — she isn’t as present in the book as much as Tom is, or involved with the case, but her relationship with Monica in the wake of Jennifer’s death, is what got to me. Her mother doesn’t know why Jennifer killed herself, and she doesn’t know how to reach Monica, who she can see is heading down a path that isn’t going to be good for her. But through it all, she’s there, she’s trying to prove to Monica that she can be trusted, even though Jennifer didn’t trust her enough to tell her what she is going through.
Then there’s Jennifer, who is given a voice in the book. We understand what she was going through in school, with her family and how much her cheerleading friends meant to her and how much she lost without them. Readers are given insight into how she changed, and how her life began to unravel.
The way the author portrays this family, while weaving a mystery around their issues was utterly engrossing. I need to read more from this author in fact.