Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Title:        Killer Spirit [The Squad, book 1]
Author:     Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Rating:    ★★★★
Yesterday, I wrote about the first book in the Squad series, The Perfect Cover. Since I enjoyed it so much, I continued to read the next book with the same budding excitement. Alas, I ended up only giving this book four stars for a number of reasons.

The plot remained the same, with the same humor, same bantering between friends, although the romance factor between Jake and Toby considerably increased. The book had even more action and excitement than the previous book and had interesting twists and turns, even up to the end. It would have definitely been a five-star book in my list but my enthusiasm for it was dampened by the knowledge that it is actually the last book in the series – at least so far. Jennifer Lynn Barnes states it herself in her blog:

Is there a third Squad book? When does it come out?
There aren't plans for a third Squad book at this time. I wish there were! Those books were so much fun to write, and if there was publisher interest, I'd write another one in a heartbeat - but that's one of those things that's really out of my hands, and it doesn't appear to be in the cards at the moment. If that ever changes, I will definitely let you guys know.”

So that pretty much burst my bubble. Don’t you just hate picking up a fantastic book then finding out that there will be no other stories? And then you’re just left hanging. When this happens, I usually tend to just forget about the book because it just makes me sad :))

Anyway, what I really liked about the series is that it opened my mind to this idea that there may be more to cheerleaders than meets the eye. Hey I just remembered that Buffy the Vampire Slayer was in fact a cheerleader before she became a vampire slayer. But I digress. I enjoyed the characterization of the cheerleaders as very strong, very loyal, and very beautiful. They are used to following orders and they are physically fit, which makes them great operatives-in-training. Plus, I have to agree that (based on the movies) peppy, bright cheerleaders are usually not the ones suspected to be capable of such strong antics.

I would have rated this five stars, really, if there was more to be had in the next few books. However, since it is the last, we are left hanging with several questions. In the first two books, there was no growth in the characterization of the other cheerleaders such as Brittany and Tiffany, Zee, Tara, and Bubbles while the others – Toby, Brooke, Chloe, and Lucy – somewhat evolved. I would have loved to find out if Bubbles was all that she seemed or if there was more than meets the eye. Next, the budding romance between Jake and Toby was also not resolved; it did not leave us with the impression that all went well. After all, Toby still had a lot of suspicions about him AND Jake did in fact say that she deserved more than him. Lastly, what happened to Lucy and Toby’s brother? And why would she even date someone from the lower batch? It would also have been great to find out why Toby’s mom is so unflappable.

Alas, all my questions seem to remain just that – questions. Ah well, it was still an enjoyable read (I couldn’t quite put it down, in fact), so go ahead and give it a try :)