Title: The Squad: Perfect Cover (Book 1)
Author: Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Publisher: Laurel Leaf
Publication Date: February 12, 2008
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 cheer-leading squad.
But things are different in 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 handle the makeover, Bayport High may just have found its newest cheerleader.
Pretty, popular, armed, and extremely dangerous ---meet THE SQUAD.
This book was a TEN on the twists and turns scale. The ending was so unexpected. I thought I knew what was going to happen but I was wrong.
I couldn't help but notice it's kind of similar to The Specialists Series. In both books, each person on the team has a special skill. And it's kind of ironic how both series are in the perspective of a computer whiz.
I loved the characterization of Toby. She's sassy, sarcastic, and smart. But the zero to hero thing is a little unrealistic. In reality, someone like Toby can't be an insignificant nobody (no offense) one day and become an ultra-popular cheerleader the next day. It was a little cliché.
I was expecting more action in this book but it didn't have as much. It got a little boring in the middle. It wasn't as fast-paced as I wanted it to be, but oh well. The action that it did have, though, was flawless (the way it was planned). Everything made sense and everything was creative and original.
Barnes focused more on explaining (in Toby's POV) each and every team member's special skill and past. I enjoyed getting to know the other teammates and their sometimes not-so-great pasts.
The Bottom Line: The unexpected twists and a little hint of romance was enough to keep me wanting more. B :-)