Welcome to Forgotten Fridays. This mission of this feature is, twice a month, to review books that are more than a year old. And we review them TOGETHER! Most reviews have minor spoilers because it is hard to block them out in a back and forth dialogue about a book. So keep that in mind when reading, though we do try to not mention anything that would ruin a book for anyone.
Addy Hanlon has always been Beth Cassidy's best friend and trusted lieutenant. Beth calls the shots and Addy carries them out, a long-established order of things that has brought them to the pinnacle of their high-school careers. Now they're seniors who rule the intensely competitive cheer squad, feared and followed by the other girls -- until the young new coach arrives.
Cool and commanding, an emissary from the adult world just beyond their reach, Coach Colette French draws Addy and the other cheerleaders into her life. Only Beth, unsettled by the new regime, remains outside Coach's golden circle, waging a subtle but vicious campaign to regain her position as "top girl" -- both with the team and with Addy herself.
Then a suicide focuses a police investigation on Coach and her squad. After the first wave of shock and grief, Addy tries to uncover the truth behind the death -- and learns that the boundary between loyalty and love can be dangerous terrain.
The raw passions of girlhood are brought to life in this taut, unflinching exploration of friendship, ambition, and power. Award-winning novelist Megan Abbott, writing with what Tom Perrotta has hailed as "total authority and an almost desperate intensity," provides a harrowing glimpse into the dark heart of the all-American girl
Lyn: Since I am first to start: Fuck this book.
Kara: I fall somewhere in the middle again. I liked the writing, I loved the plot, but I had no emotional connection to the book, therefore I didn’t care that much. But. It was entertaining, so there’s that.
Bekka: I loved it. I had some problems with inconsistencies in the writing, but I felt very connected to the characters, probably because of my connection to cheer.
Lyn: I wish this book would have contained more cheerleading. I’m not talking about Sweet Valley High or anything, but a majority of it seemed like blathering about the ramblings of a girl trying to sound like a cheer Shakespearean character.
Kara: Yeah, my eyes glazed over during some of the writing. I really liked it, but I kept losing focus. I guess that was due to the style or something. I’m not sure what it was but I did feel like sometimes it took too long to get to the point and repeated itself a lot. That, and I knew who did it from like the moment the crime happened.
Bekka: I loved the writing. At first I wasn’t sure about it, because I felt a sort of disconnect – like, this is an adult book written from a teen’s POV, and reading YA so much, it skewed my perception. But I loved the voice once it found its stride and I loved the kind of feral quality it had.
Kara: I know what you mean. For me, that disconnect continued all the way to the end. So while I found it entertaining and I loved the mystery and cheer dynamics, I just never loved it. It never took off for me. And it wasn’t the characters, because I know they were all awful and I was FINE with that (I know we were supposed to hate them all), but some of it just fell flat for me.
Lyn: I’m just book shallow. No one was likable, and it was done for a purpose, but it is difficult to sit through reading about a complete fuck up for a wife, a coach and a mother and just let it pass. I just couldn’t stomach the coach. I should just sulk back to my rainbows and sunshine and fluffy pillows.
Bekka: I know the characters were easy to hate, especially Coach. But I looooved Addy. I’m just very, very tired of reading about mousy, meek, boring girls, and Addy was the opposite of all that. I loved that she was aggressive and angry. She had her problems with Beth but she totally let Beth have it there at the end.
Lyn: She should have beat the hell out of her. I would have liked it if she had plummeted her in her smug face.
Kara: Yeah, I was waiting for Beth to get hers. That definitely made me happy when Addy finally stood up to her. I couldn’t stand Beth and the entire time she treated Addy like crap, I was sooo pissed. It was difficult to read at times. I just wanted her to DO SOMETHING.
Lyn: It was an aggravating build up. It took too long to get anywhere.
Bekka: What did you guys think of the mystery? I pretty much had it figured out, but for a little while I was confused. I wish it turned out differently.
Kara: I mentioned it up there earlier, but I pretty much suspected the perpetrator from the moment the crime was committed. It just seemed very obvious to me based on how that character was behaving. Does that make sense?
Bekka: One more thing I want to mention: the editing was just a little bit lacking here. There were inconsistencies from one page to the next that bothered me, like Coach’s hair mysteriously growing like six inches in a week, or Beth’s phone being tossed in the toilet while Addy watched, and then Addy complaining that Beth won’t respond to texts. It’s little things like those that made me take it down a star.
Lyn: I thought that was me getting confused about the hair length. Good point.
Bekka: Haha, no. She came in with a bob, and then she had a French braid and a ponytail. These things are obvious and should have been caught before being published.
Kara: Someone needs to come edit for meeeeee. Hahahaha.
Lyn: *insert advertising*
Bekka: Okay, so how do you rate? I’m going with 4 stars for the pretty language and the cheerleaders.
Kara: I gave it a 3.
Lyn: 1 🙁
Kara: HAHAHAHAHAHA. Wahhh-wahhhhh.