Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The Squad: Perfect Cover by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Title: The Squad: Perfect Cover
Author: Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Average Price: $6.99 U.S. ($8.99 CAN) Paperback
Publisher: Laurel-Leaf
Publication Date: February 12, 2008
Number of Pages: 275

Bayport High operates like any other high school - jocks at the top, outsiders at the bottom, and everyone else in between. Enter Toby Klein, a sophomore computer hacker who doesn't play well with others. She has zero school spirit, a black belt in karate, and what her guidance counselor calls an "attitude problem." She's the last person you’d expect to be invited to join the varsity cheerleading squad.

But things are different at Bayport.

Bayport'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. Athletically, they're unmatchable, though they make it all look easy on the field. Mentally, they're exceptional - but with one flash of their gorgeous smiles, you'll completely forget that. Socially, they're gifted, so they can command and manipulate any situation. And above all, they have the perfect cover, because, beyond herkies and highlights, no one expects anything from a cheerleader.

Toby Klein might not seem like the most likely recruit, but she’s never been one to turn down a challenge. If she can hand the makeover, Bayport High may just have found its newest cheerleader.

Pretty, popular, armed, and extremely dangerous - meet THE SQUAD.

When I cracked open the hot pink cover of "Perfect Cover" I was expecting a lot after reading some pretty good reviews on Amazon. Maybe if I read this book without expecting anything I would have liked it better. Or not.

This story started off well enough: the main character, Toby Klein, is sent a mysterious note form the cheerleaders asking her to come try out for the squad. At first, she flat out declines but then changes her mind when she finds a secret message cleverly woven into the note. So Toby decides to try out by going to the first meet.

Um, boring. By the time Toby goes to the first meeting I was yawning (and not only because I started this novel in the evening!). The amount of action in the beginning of this book is atom-sized. Sure, Jennifer Barnes layed out the story very nicely but what about the main ingredient in a good novel: conflict? There was almost no conflict in this book!

However, I thought the author created very believable characters considering the main ones were all cheerleaders. All of the girls on The Squad had personalities - even Bubbles. The main character's voice was also funny and believable.

Even though there was not a lot of action in this book, the spy missions that The Squad went on were, in a word, perfect. The missions themselves were not flawless (mistakes were made) but the way they were planned out and the cool gadgets that were used was brilliant.

In the end, this was a good book that even had a little romance in it, but it was deeply lacking suspense and action (until the end) so I think it deserves a C+.


miss cindy said...

sounds like something i might enjoy :) great review!

Jen said...

Sounds like a fun read! Great review!

Laina said...

Is it just me or do the covers of these remind anyone else of Francine Pascal's Fearless series?