Tuesday, May 26, 2009

A Review: Geek Girl's Guide to Cheerleading

“Some who have read the book, or at any rate have reviewed it, have found it boring, absurd, or contemptible; and I have no cause to complain, since I have similar opinions of their works, or of the kinds of writing that they evidently prefer.” - JRR Tolkien

“Prolonged, indiscriminate reviewing of books is a quite exceptionally thankless, irritating and exhausting job." - George Orwell

I don't normally do full blown reviews here, but today I am and I'll explain why.

A few weeks back, Charity Tahmaseb (published author *G*) sent me an ARC of her book. I was going to read and review it for the LASR site in preparation for the spotlight she and Darcy were having.

At the very last moment, I decided to let one of my other reviewers review it and bought her a Kindle copy. She did so here.

I passed off the book because I wanted to make sure she received a completely unbiased review. I feel like I can provide one, but would I really know?

But now... YOU guys get to hear me gab about it instead, because ... I really did enjoy the book.

Charity turned me on to YA a little while back when I was bemoaning my disenchantment with the romance genre. She gave me some unusual suggestions like "I Am the Messenger" by Marcus Zuzak (a fabulous book -- even my mom read it in ONE day and loved it), and got me to start browsing the YA section of the library.

So, when I had a chance to read "The Geek Girl's Guide to Cheerleading" I was thrilled. And I wasn't disappointed. The book contains a wide variety of kids-- geeks, jocks, cheerleaders, average joes--and they all have their place in the book. Each character was clearly drawn from our H/H (Bethany and Jack) down to the freshmen wrestling team (whom I loved!!).

The plot isn't a new one, but Darcy and Charity made it fresh. Geek girl tries out for cheerleading on a whim and, shockingly she makes it! Now what? No one quite knows what to do with her. Her geek friends feel betrayed by her defection, the popular girls snub her and she's lost her place. Where does she fit in?

But then... be still my heart... the guy she's been crushing on forever TALKS TO HER. Maybe there is something to this cheerleading gig after all.

Still, even though she can now make it through the gauntlet (what's that? Read it to find out!) relatively unscathed, that doesn't mean the popular girls aren't out to make her life miserable. And she suddenly has to juggle worries and responsibilities she never had to before, such as: what do you do when someone dumps beer all over you?

The book addresses so many important things: underage drinking, the importance we place on external looks (and how that affects the girls), sex, peer pressure. It doesn't glamorize any of them, but presents them realistically and without apology. Bethany is a good example for girls because, while she is frequently frustrated and confused, she has a good moral compass and lives by it. She's not a goody-two-shoes or holier-than-thou, she's just a good kid trying to make it through high school.

Charity has talked about the difference between YA romance and adult romance with me before, in the context of the "Happy Ever After" vs. the "Hopefully Ever After" and it's reflected in this book. Does geek girl end up with popular jock? After many mishaps and misunderstandings, of course she does (and no, I don't consider that a spoiler -- it's much like saying that in a standard romance the H/H end up together. We know they will, but read it for the journey). But, she's a kid and still in school... it's not as though the book will end with a proposal, or even an "I love you, move in with me." or just a simple "I love you." It doesn't work that way. And, even though my brain realizes this, my heart wanted a little bit more. An epilogue that shows that they made it in the end, because the two of them have a lot of obstacles to overcome.

And the fact that I wanted this only shows how wrapped up I became in the characters. I loved them all and want to continue following them on their journey through life. I sighed when the book ended and wished for more. And, if that isn't the mark of a satisfied reader, I don't know what is.

It's a good book for adults AND for your teenaged daughter. I can't wait to see what the authors come up with next (and I hear Bethany and Jack might make a cameo in one or more of the upcoming works... WOOT!).



Allie Boniface said...

I'll have to get a copy for the bookshelf in my classroom!

MomJane said...

Sounds just great. How nice to have books like that for younger readers. They really need stuff like that to reassure themselves they aren't weird and/or different.

Brandy said...

Sounds like one that I'll have to get for my Daughter.
I hope your day is going well.

Charity said...

Aw, thanks so much, M! Yeah, I know the HEA thing can frustrate a romance reader. Instead of happily ever after, maybe you can think of it as happily to the Valentine's Day dance?

Ceri Hebert said...

Sounds fantastic! Funny, I was reading my journal (which spanned from 1981 to 1983) and thought that there had to be a story in there somewhere. I will have to pick this book up for my daughters

HockeyVampiress said...

I will have to check this out and let my sons friends know about it

Charity and Darcy said...

Thanks so much for the review. I was really, really worried about what you might think. I was particularly stressed over how you would perceive it as a mom. When you said, "She's not a goody-two-shoes or holier-than-thou, she's just a good kid trying to make it through high school" I couldn't have been happier. That's exactly what I hope people will see when they read about Bethany.

Sorry we couldn't give you an HEA -- you deserve one for this, and everything else!