Thursday, April 1, 2010

Review: The Squad: Perfect Cover by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

The Squad: Perfect Cover
by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
YA, chick lit
273 pages
published: 2008
3 of 5 stars


Bayport High’s Varsity cheer squad is made up of the hottest of the hot. But this A-list is dangerous in more ways than one. The Squad is actually a cover for the most highly trained group of underage government operatives the United States has ever assembled. They have the perfect cover, because, beyond herkeys and highlights, no one expects anything from a cheerleader. -- from Goodreads

More directly, it is about Toby, a rebel black belt, combat boots kinda gal who hates school and school spirit and obviously cheerleaders. That makes it especially difficult when she becomes the next recruit.

I'm almost embarrassed that I read this. But a while ago I read someone's review and died smiling. How?? Could there be anything more ridiculous?? And so of course, I wanted to read it. During a recent library trip, with a goodreads to-read list in hand, I scanned the shelves and found it available. After The Book Thief, a good cheerleader spy novel sounded just right. (I'm wondering if I've ever written a more improbable sentence.....that would be yes...but I was serious this time....)


Here is the first paragraph, which I read out loud to my husband while waiting for seats at a restaurant after our library date trip, and after rendering him speechless by reading the back: 

If you'd told me at the beginning of sophomore year that I was going to end up a government operative, I would have thought you were crazy, but if you'd told me I was destined to become a cheerleader, I would have had you committed, no questions asked. At that point in time, there were three things in life that I knew for certain: (1) I was a girl who'd never met a site she couldn't hack or a code she couldn't break, (2) I had a roundhouse that could put a grown man in the hospital, and (3) I would without question chop off my own hands before I'd come within five feet of a pom-pom.

My first thought? I like her!

I smiled nearly the whole time I was reading this one. It requires a large suspension of belief, but suspension is good. It was fun. And I enjoyed that all those horrid cheerleaders where not flat characters - they had problems and depth and talents and even brains. Well, most of them. And there really was spy stuff in there.

I wasn't crazy about how "feminine wiles" really could solve anything. I mean, there are a few men out there with a brain (in their head) right?? And I actually started spacing out during some of the spy stuff. But that only reflects my interests. I never have picked up a spy novel becuase I knew it wouldn't be my thing...and I was SO right. I found myself thinking (and this blows me away) that I wanted to get back to the girly-cheerleader-love-interest crap. (Anyone who knows me will now know how much I truly boring I find spy stuff.)

So. This wasn't the next great thing. I doubt I'll end up owning it unless I find it at a used book store. But I enjoyed it. You'd probably enjoy it too.

One more quote:

...I became the owner of a limited-edition hot-pink cell phone identical to one owned by innumerable vacuous celebrities. Mine, of course, came equipped with a variety of special features, ranging from my very own electron wave accelerator to the world's teeny-tiniest hard-core hard drive, but that didn't make it any less pink.

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