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Friday, May 22, 2009

The Geek Girl's Guide to Cheerleading by Charity Tahmaseb and Darcy Vance

The Geek Girl's Guide to Cheerleading by Charity Tahmaseb and Darcy Vance
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Genre: Contemporary, Young Adult
Length: Full
Heat: Sweet
Rating: 4.5 Books
Reviewed by Viscaria

When Bethany — self-proclaimed geek girl — makes the varsity cheerleading squad, she realizes that there's one thing worse than blending in with the lockers: getting noticed. She always felt comfortable as part of the nerd herd, but being a member of the most scrutinized group in her school is weighing her down like a ton of textbooks. Even her Varsity Cheerleading Guide can't answer the really tough questions, like: How do you maintain some semblance of dignity while wearing an insanely short skirt? What do you do when the head cheerleader spills her beer on you at your first in-crowd party? And how do you know if your crush likes you for your mind...or your pom-poms?

One thing's for sure: It's going to take more than brains for this girl genius to cheer her way to the top of the pyramid.

I thoroughly enjoyed this modern, teenage take on Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from this novel, as I haven’t read a Young Adult novel in quite some time. I did however get snagged by the title. The rest of the book kept my attention from the first chapter to the end.

Bethany is… well she’s a geek! And she’s proud of it, which I loved about her. So often we hear about young women who just want to be someone else. Bethany was perfectly happy in her geekdom… well, except for having to run The Gauntlet. Nope, not gonna tell you, you’ll have to read to find out what I’m talking about. When Bethany’s best friend Moni, a fellow geek, convinces her that the two of them should try out for the Varsity Cheerleading Squad she is willing to go along for the ride, all in the name of supporting her best friend. Thinking that they’ll be denied a spot on the squad she is a bit stunned when they both make the squad. What follows is a rather funny, and emotional journey into another world… at least for her.

Bethany was a rather interesting girl, who didn’t always understand what was going on around her. While perceptive to a point, she was a bit unsure of how to deal with changes in the familiar as well as behaviors of her friends. Let’s face it, that’s not something we magically grow out of, at least this young woman is smart enough to admit to herself when she has no idea what is going on. I felt for Bethany as she navigated a completely alien territory with quite a few stumbles, and even some bruises, but she came out on the other side a better person, and amazingly a pretty good cheerleader.

Jack is the star of the high school basketball team and he has a reputation… for never dating. It didn’t matter what “type” of girl she was, he doesn’t date her. My feeling was that he wanted to be with someone who could be themselves and who he could be himself with. He just hadn’t found that person, so he waited and just didn’t date. He seemed like a sweet enough kid in my opinion and we are eventually given a lot of backstory as to what has happened in his life to mould him into the person he was. I saw hidden depths in him, and it’s not always easy to find depth in a teenaged boy.

This book deals with some issues that are unfortunately things young people have to deal with. When does the desire to be cool and one of the in-crowd lead to completely undesirable situations? What can one person do to change things and take a stand? Sadly, these things do happen in your average everyday high school. Some issues brought up were peer pressure--to laugh and make fun of others in lesser circumstances, but the hot one was underage drinking. I will make it known right now that I was pretty proud of the way Bethany handled it. Other than that issue, which greatly added to the story, I can’t think of anything that would give others pause.

This dynamic duo of authors display a dry humor that had me snorting out a laugh on more than one occasion. Each internal monologue was thoroughly believable, and I could see myself (at that age at least) thinking the same thoughts, or saying those same things. I liked that Bethany was a relatively responsible young woman. I know that it can be hard to step forward and say something, even when you know that it probably won’t change anything.

Again, let me say, that I loved this book. I would recommend it to any youth and parent (and I already have recommended it because I enjoyed it so much) in the market for humor, a sweet bit of romantic courting and the desire to revisit that world again. Aside from a minor slip, these two main characters had me laughing out loud one more than one occasion. A great read, and I highly recommend it.