Published by Delacorte Press
Published on 31 July 2018
Genres: Contemporary, Thriller, United States, Young Adult
Source: my local library
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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.
I was so intrigued to read this book because it hinted that the deaths of 5 girls on the cheerleading team within a few months of each other was suspicious, and for some reason I was super keen to read about this mystery. I’m not normally into contemporary thrillers/mysteries, so I was surprised at how eager I was to read this.
As it turns out, this was a very good book and I read it over the course of one lazy day when I had no other responsibilities to attend to (a rarity for me!). I don’t recall the last time I devoured a book in one day.
So what exactly was it about this book I found so enjoyable?
I really loved the development of the beautifully written plot, the hint dropping, and the red herrings. I was still guessing right until the last few pages, which I loved!
I loved the brutally honest voice of the main character, Monica. I loved how she developed her relationships with the other characters, including delving further into the relationship with her dead sister. The friendship she developed with Ginny, who wasn’t her friend to start with, was really great, and I’m a sucker for strong female friendship. I love how smart Monica was, often realising things the same time I did, although I was never left behind in the progression of her investigation. I’ve not read many mysteries, so I loved watching her piece things together, and figure out the answers along the way.
I loved the fine balance between exploring some really dark issues with respect, with Monica not in any way being this perfect heroine, and very much still a teenager. I think it struck the right balance with the investigation part of the novel and the developing relationships. One thing I really liked was that rather than developing a romantic relationship, Monica developed this great friendship with Ginny.
I was surprised by how eagerly I devoured this book, and while the topics explored were a little mature for younger readers (abortion, suicide, statutory rape), I do recommend this for more mature YA readers.