The Cheerleaders

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 31 Jul 2018

Member Reviews

There are no more cheerleaders in Sunnybrook, but that doesn’t mean anyone else is safe.

Every time that we encounter the words " the cheerleaders" we always come up with the meaning that it is about girls who cheers in a school. Girl who wears uniform. Girls who are beautiful and sometimes, girls who are bitchy.

The Cheerleaders by Kara Thomas is same with the connotation that is being said above. But little did every one knows that it is not your typical story about them. As the story don't have a happily ever after. 

The story is about Monica Rayburn finding who really is the suspect behind every accident that happen to the five cheerleaders five years ago. Also, whom her sister is one of the victims that causes the squad to be disbanded. 

The rising action of the story started when Monica found out some evidences that will leave her to know who really killed the cheerleaders. She found out her sister's old cellphone and even a boy who she didn't expect to be part of her sister's life.

The writing is fantastic. It takes you to an adventure of mystery where you enable yourself to think what really happen. It helps you to imagine and come up with different scenarios of what should happen and what could the flow of the story would be.

The most likable part of the story is when my predictions about the story is somehow true and sometimes it doesn't match what the story is all about. It takes us the reader to be amaze on how twisty and cliff hang the story is.

I love how some of my questions while reading the story is being answered at the ending. It's the kind of story where the readers are aware of what the story is.

To warp it all, the cheerleaders is not an ordinary story. It is a story that will take your brain in a roller coaster ride.
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I'm not having the best week over here. In fact, if anyone reading this could add me to their prayer list that would be great. I know God is with me now and forever. It's actually when the going gets tough that I realize how much I can rely on God. But moving forward...
I started reading The Cheerleaders by Kara Thomas over the weekend. It's a young adult mystery thriller set five years after the coinciding deaths of five cheerleaders. The little sister of one of the girls is now the same age her sister was when she killed herself. For five years Monica and the whole town has been settling with the easiest story to move past the tragic deaths until she starts questioning the events leading up to her sister's suicide. Her questioning turns to determined investigating until Monica has enough to piece together the clues. I started steering away from young adult books a few years ago, because the plots came across as juvenile, but the main characters in The Cheerleaders are serious even with the parties and drama around them.
I was interested in this book because the description depicted it as a page-turning novel that would hold me in suspense until I finished it. The entire book lived up to the enticing description. I was curious from the start to learn the truth behind the deaths of the cheerleaders. I rate this book a 5 out of 5.
To add to my thoughts on this book, I started watching "13 Reasons Why"on Netflix and even though the book doesn't center around the subject of suicide as much as the Netflix series does, it makes valuable points on how teenagers see themselves and what they have to deal with in high school. The book places a certain importance on self-love and how everyone has someone to love them. A memorable quote for me in The Cheerleaders is when Monica's mom tells her "Even at your worst, I love you more than life itself. "
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So… I went into The Cheerleaders with an expectation to get a story similar to I Know What You Did Last Summer or The Scream, but instead I got… something different.

I don’t know why I thought there will be a a killer chasing characters who’d fear for their lives, because that was not even promissed in the blurb. Anyway, because of my wrong expectations, the story for me was just… slow.

There was not much going on, but only discovering what had happened in the past.

However, don’t think this book is not good or interesting, because it is. It really is.

The story follows Monica who lives in a little town Sunnybrook. Five years ago, a huge tragedy hit the place. Five lives were lost. All five belonged to cheerleaders, one belonged to Monica’s sister Jen.
Monica is still hunted by questions and mystery around Jen’s death and she wants to find out what really happened.

This is my first time reading Kara Thomas‘ work and I really enjoyed her writing style. She was on my tbr for a while now, because I want to read her book The Darkest Corners since the day it came out, only I still didn’t have a chance.
Now when I read The Cheerleaders, I want to read it even more.

The story is written in two perspectives, one from Monica, written in first person, and second from Jen, written in third person.
I liked Monica’s chapters much more, but Jen’s were really important for the story.

This story touches some really important topics like statutory rape, suicide and abortion, but I wish more attention was paid to them. I feel like they were mentioned and that was that, the story moved on. I mean, their part of the story was huge, but they were almost… glossed over.

Since this is mystery, it’s purpose is to get readers involved, to get them try to figure out what happened before the end, and I feel like most readers will complete that mission successfully.
I had no problem figuring out the truth whatsoever.

Overall, The Cheerleaders is an entertaining ya novel that will capture readers until the very end.
I would recommend it to lovers of contemporary high school fiction.
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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 enjoyed The Cheerleaders way more than I thought I would. I got sucked into the story line and the mystery pretty quickly and had a really hard time putting it down. I ended up finishing it in two days. 

Kara Thomas takes readers on a roller coaster of emotions and convinces the reader that numerous characters are exhibiting shady behavior, only revealing their true colors at the very end. The Cheerleaders is a really quick, easy, but suspenseful read that this reader would recommend to a friend.
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I received a digital copy of this book from Netgalley for an honest review.

Like Kara Thomas' other books, this was twisty, dark, and kept me guessing until the end. I had a little trouble keeping all the girls apart as it is spread over two timelines but besides that it was really well written, with an interesting conclusion. In fact, it makes me wonder about the theories of some unsolved true crime cases and how the truth may be simpler than one would expect.
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Holy shit! I didn't see that coming!! It took me around three weeks to finish The Cheerleaders by Kara Thomas, but that doesn't accurately convey how enthralled I was was with the story. In fact, the reason why I took so long to read it, outside of the fact that I read the hardback, was because I wanted to savor the story and not want to miss any detail so I can figure out who the killer was.

Spoiler alert, I still didn't figure it out. I took my time and I analyzed the story and I just knew that I had it figured out. The Cheerleaders had me questioning every characters motives and what was truly going on in their heads because it seems as if everyone has something to hide.

One thing that I particularly enjoyed about The Cheerleaders was getting a flashback to Jen's point of view, Moninca's sister. I loved being able to get in her head space and to see how things actually played out versus the hearsay that Monica was able to uncover on her own.

The story is a candid portrayal of grief and how everyone deals with or avoids the truth so they don't have to suffer. On the surface The Cheerleaders is about about girl trying to find out truly happened to her sister and her friends. If you take a closer in depth look you realized that this particular story was so much. 

The Cheerleaders is a visceral tale that will haunt me for books and years to come!
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Great read from Kara Thomas!  Monica's sister Jen and 4 of her fellow cheerleaders all die within a month of each other.  Is it a bad coincidence, or is there more to it?  Can Monica connect the dots and figure out exactly what happened without being the next victim?
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I’ve read all of Kara’s previous books and this was the most enjoyable so far to me. The main character is still grieving over her sisters suicide from 5 years ago. There was also a mystery between two people getting murdered and a car crash that basically wiped out the entire cheer squad. This was a solid mystery perfect for the fall time.
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Addicting, intense, and full of twists and turns! The Cheerleaders grabbed my attention right away, and I enjoyed the wild ride the book took me on.
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I really liked this book! I thought it had a great ending. The suspense was kept up throughout the novel and the mystery was built in a very interesting way. I would definitely suggest this!
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This was a rare suspenseful mystery for me in that I had no idea what was going on for most of the book. The author did a good job of throwing you off the scent multiple times until you just sort of throw your hands up and speed read to the end to see who did it. I read Little Monsters, so I knew this was going to be good, and it didn't disappoint.The characters were interesting, and for once the alternating viewpoints didn't throw me off. The subject matter might be a little heavy for younger teens, but my older ones will love it.
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I was intrigued by this story.  It definitely kept me on my toes.  I really enjoyed the style of writing and I look forward to reading more from this author.
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The Cheerleaders is a wild ride of suspense, who done it and questioning everything you thought was true. It left me guessing right up to the ending. 

This book switches pov’s between Monica and Jennifer. We read more of Monica’s pov than Jennifer’s. You see Jennifer died so we get a glimpse of what led up to her death. Within a month all 5 cheerleaders were dead and as Monica unravels the truth it may be more sinister than what we think. 

I could not put this book down. I needed to know what happened. I needed to see if my guesses were true which, btw, they weren’t. I was so engrossed in Monica’s and Jennifer’s stories that I even had a nightmare about them. To me that’s a great book if it stays in your mind and you dream about it. 


The only reason this book is getting a 4 is that I didn’t like how it ended. It could’ve been included in the story and had a better ending. Other than that I loved it! Plus that cover!! 😍😍😍
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A fantastic read for teens wanting dark thrillers and enjoy unravelling mysteries. Not as dark as Thomas' 2017 novel Little Monsters, but still a compelling mystery about the questions that surround the deaths of five cheerleaders within a single semester of school. Told through the eyes of one of the dead cheerleaders sisters who is trying to make sense of the tragedy five years later. Give to teens who enjoyed Little Monsters, One of Us is Lying or The Lies They tell.
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This was such a good YA thriller! I had SO MANY theories going the whole time I was reading and I'm happy to say I was wrong on every single one of them. I honestly did not see the twists and turns coming, and this really was a twisting and turning novel. I do have to say I had no connection to any of the characters, but that's fine with me. I found some of the characters in this novel to be borderline unlikeable, and a bit out of touch. They had sort of an untouchable or unreachable quality, I'm not sure how to describe it. I love thrillers, I love a good character based thriller and I love a plot based thriller, and this was definitely a plot based thriller. If you need to feel something for your characters, whether it be a connection to them or fear for them, or even just concern for their everyday lives, this is not for you. This is a thriller that just kind of throws you into a town that is just moving on from a terrible tragedy and the family that is left behind. Relationships are already established so it's hard to understand them and care for them, and the tragedies all seem to be solved, so it makes you feel like everything is wrapped up neatly, until our main character goes poking around in the past. This really was a fun thriller. I loved it and I flew through it, and I would absolutely read this again to see what clues I missed. If you love a fast paced, plot based thriller than don't hesitate to pick up The Cheerleaders. It really does take a completely unexpected turn.
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Five years ago, a tragedy struck the small town of Sunnybrook as there were Five cheerleaders and best friends and by the end of the year, all five would be dead.  Now five years later, the school are wanting to do a memorial to the five girls and Monica is being asked to talk as her sister was one of the five.  As Monica though starts to do some research about what happened as she can't believe that her older sister would commit suicide - she knows something else going on. Monica along with new friend Ginny will start to unravel and bring some truths that someone wants to be hidden from five years ago to light and casts a further shadow on what really happened to all five girls and Monica if she's not careful might end up in the ground like her sister , as she discovers that she has been close to one of the killers from five years ago . I liked how the story and each of the deaths interwove and found that it wasn't such a conspiracy but a range of freak accidents that ended up having all five girls dead by the end of the year.  I have to say when I finished the book, I felt for the character of Monica and Ginny and what they have had to put up with and hide for the past five years.  This was a good read and written in the same way that the fad of late 90's early 2000's high school horrors trend. Think a 2018 version of I Know What You Did Last Summer and Scream, and you have The Cheerleaders by Kara Thomas.
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Originally posted on Forever Young Adult on 2018 July 31

BOOK REPORT for The Cheerleaders by Kara Thomas

Cover Story: Something Rotten
BFF Charm: Let Me Love You
Swoonworthy Scale: 0
Talky Talk: What We Have Here Is A Failure To Communicate
Bonus Factor: Teen Horror
Relationship Status: ID Network Binge Buddy

Cover Story: Something Rotten

I love a good blood-spattered cover, and nothing says “teen horror” like this one. When you think of classic high school clichés, cheerleaders and jocks are always at the top of the list. Add a little blood, and you’ve got an eye-catching design that takes me straight back to my days of devouring Christopher Pike, Richie Tankersley Cusick, and Lois Duncan books.

The Deal:

Five years ago, Monica’s older sister was the last of five cheerleaders to die a sudden and horrific death. The tragedies were so shocking that Sunnybrook High no longer has a cheerleading squad, to escape the reminders of the girls they’d lost.

Something doesn’t add up, though. Monica has the distinct sense that people know far more than they’re saying—including her own stepfather, a police officer, and her new friend, Ginny, who knew Monica’s sister. When she starts digging, pieces of the puzzle surface: old letters, mysterious texts, a long-dead cell phone. Every fiber of Monica’s being is screaming that there’s more to the story, but she seems to be the only one who cares…except for, perhaps, the killer themselves.                                                       

Trigger Warning: This book contains incidences of statutory rape, abortion, murder, suicide, and references to school shootings. (Christopher Pike has nothing on Kara Thomas.)

BFF Charm: Let Me Love You

Oh, Monica, you have had a rough go of it. Losing a sister—and all of her friends—would be horrible under the most benign circumstances, but not having any answers had led Monica to indulge in some seriously self-destructive behavior. I just wanted to give her a hug, make her go to therapy, talk about her sister’s memory, and help her apply to colleges. Does she do ridiculous, impulsive things that would make any parent of a sixteen-year-old choke on their coffee? Oh, yes. But she also comes from a place of being the “baby of the family,” who never got any sort of satisfying resolution to one of the most traumatic experiences a person can deal with, and I can understand that.

Swoonworthy Scale: 0

There aren’t any sexy bits in this book, which is both good (that seems exploitative for such a dark story), and bad (sometimes you just want a hot makeout session in between learning gruesome details about teenage girls being murdered. I mean, I personally don’t, but I wanted Monica to put her face on a nice and respectful partner’s face, just for a break in her horror-show life).

Talky Talk: What We Have Here Is A Failure To Communicate

Every self-destructive behavior that Monica exhibits is a direct result of her parents’ failure to give her some answers. Aside from the plot, which was like watching a well-written version of an ID Network show (that’s a good thing!), it’s such an interesting look at how adults think teenagers can handle horrible truths. (They’re at risk of getting brutally murdered every time they step into school and they know it; I think you owe your kid some answers about a major town tragedy which directly affected your family.) I know I’m not the only one who felt as a teen that the grown-ups were shielding me from the truth, and Monica’s frustration fairly leapt off the page.

Bonus Factor: Teen Horror

I don’t know why I love true crime, fictional horror books, Law & Order, and the ID Network. It’s morbid to plumb the depths of what human beings will do to each other, but then again, we live in an often-dark world. Books like this one are not only entertaining, but they also provide a safe way to explore some serious themes. I’ve been craving some good teen horror ever since I was grossed-out and delighted by Slasher Girls and Monster Boys, and The Cheerleaders makes me want even more.

Relationship Status: ID Network Binge Buddy

Book, our date kept me guessing the entire time, and when I finally got the answers I’d been — sorry —dying for, I couldn’t decide how I felt about them. In fact, I thought about you long after our date had ended. You stand out among your peers on the shelf, with your crisp writing and your depths of human darkness. I haven’t been on a date with a body count like this in quite a while…and now I’m hooked.
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So good! Kept me hooked all the way through. Perfectly paced, and unpredictable with bombs dropping until the very end. I wish we could have learned more about Jen's struggle in the end, but everything else wrapped up nicely.
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Rating: 3.5/3.75 While this book was definitely more of a mystery than a thriller I still overall enjoyed it. Its Kept my attention throughout with the pacing and was such a quick read for me. While the reveal at the end wasn't mind blowing it was satisfying in the "I knew it" kind of way. Honestly, there wasn't anything seriously unique about this story, I did appreciate the characters and how how smart their decisions were. There was no "I'm gonna keep this info to myself even though someone could probably help me" or "Yes, I think I will meet this random guy who is suspected as an unstable person by myself b/c he has info that may or may not be true." I also Loved the relationship between Tom and Monica. It was refreshing to see an actually health relationship b/t a parent and teenager. Overall, it was the perfect book to get me out of a book slump. 


I received an ARC of this book via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
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"Everyone goes through shit, and there's always someone somewhere who has it worse. It doesn't make what you're feeling any less real or any less shitty."


Reading The Cheerleaders made me both excited and scared at the same time. I mean, hello, a book about cheerleaders suddenly found dead days within each other? Anyway, safe to say, this book did not disappoint.

🎀 The heroine? Raw and honest. She's not always very likable, but that's okay. She's lost; she feels like everything's falling apart, and that no one has her back. But she's also driven, and determined, and won't stop at nothing to find out the truth.

🎀 The family dynamics? Realistic. We have a few flashback scenes from her sister Jennifer's POV, where we find out that they didn't always get along--they annoyed each other constantly, like any other pair of siblings. They both love and are loved by their mother, who is genuine and caring. They also have a step-dad, who, unlike step-parents in YA, is involved and protective.

🎀 The friendships? Truthful. Monica didn't want her friends to be involved in her search for her sister's murderer, to the point where she felt herself drifting apart from them. In fact, she felt more comfortable talking to her colleague, Ginny, with whom she forms a new friendship with. Ginny's sweet and soft, and we get why Monica opened up to her so quickly.

🎀 The writing? Easy to get into. Take note that I'm not as big of a thriller reader as others might be, but I found Thomas's writing to be really smooth and natural. It kept me turning pages, never needing to stop in confusion (or, like in some other cases, irritation).

🎀 The most important thing? You'll be kept at the edge of your freaking seat. I promise! You won't know who to trust. Who's innocent and should be handled with love and care? Who's the cold-blooded murderer you need to stab with a thousand pitchforks? Take a good guess--you could be on point, or you could be dead wrong.
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