Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Title:        Perfect Cover [The Squad, book 1]
Author:     Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Rating:    ★★★★★
Wow, it’s been quite a while since I last posted a review. I’ve been so busy with work and my online classes, I barely had time to sleep. Last week, I was reading Liz Carlyle’s Fraternitas Aurea Crucis series. The books were pretty good, but I don’t exactly rave about them. But last night, to unwind after my 13-hour work day, I started browsing through my unread books and saw The Squad by Jennifer Lynn Barnes. I have read Tattoo by her before, and while it was interesting, it just didn’t hit the spot for me. I wasn’t left raving about it…unlike The Squad series, or at least Perfect Cover did.

The Squad is about the varsity cheerleaders in Bayport High.The squad is composed of the most beautiful, perfect-looking girls – the ‘IT’ girls in campus. But underneath their gorgeous looks (and seemingly empty brains) are cunning, dangerous CIA operatives in training. After all, who would suspect cheerleaders to be capable of such a thing?

If you’ve been reading my other reviews, you’ll probably notice that I’m a huge fan of female protagonists – especially those who kick butt. This one is a resounding five-star book in my list because aside from ass kicking, they look good while doing it too. Despite their superficial appearances, they can actually hack the world’s secure systems, do hand-to-hand combats, and all other spy ‘stuff’ and still look good doing them…and act like perfect cheerleaders.

Cheerleaders have always had that ‘ditzy’ rep, and this book plays to that very well. Sure, they’re always shiny and they sound so cheerful and so beautiful – make no mistake, they are THAT – but it would be a mistake to underestimate them.

For example, the twins Brittany and Tiffany are the resident fashionistas and the ones in-charge of improving a new recruit into ‘cheerleader’ material. They’ll provide you with a new wardrobe if you’re really clueless and even give you tips on how to take care of yourself. Man, I’d love to have some friends like that @_@ At the same time, they’re knock-out gorgeous and can just about make any guy turn into mush at their feet. While they look (and sound) ditzy, they are actually very nice, funny, and great at diversion.

At the start, you’ll probably dislike some of them and be carried away by the sentiments of Toby Klein – the epitome of ‘anti’ cheerleader who managed to hack the Pentagon’s website at such a young age. But in time, with the help of Zee, the child prodigy turned high school cheerleader, the characters become somehow endearing, even Chloe, who seems to be anti-Toby.

Now, I’m no expert in all legal matters and all things spy, and while I do love the book, I do wonder about this in the plot: They’re in high school and they’re already CIA operatives-in-training. Is that even legal? I thought working underage is a big issue in the US? But I never know, maybe that really happens hehe.

The Perfect Cover has some light humor with a hint of romance for anti-social Toby as well as action, friendship, drama, and just the right amount of girly-meets-femme fatale. If you’re into strong female protagonists, give this one a go. :) (I actually started reading the next book, Killer Spirit, this morning when I woke up. I’m hooked.)

Ciao! Smile