I bought this book because of the cover. I have cheered most of my life and I was so excited to see a book that at least involved cheerleading at some level. So I was a little surprised to find that this book was about a girl who was raped. I was kind of afraid to read it because I was worried that it was going to be really heavy and dark but this book dealt with a very heavy topic in a good way. I was also afraid that it would be really graphic and it wasn’t in the least bit. It’s raw and honest, but not graphic. This book was a really good emotional read that has a lot to say about not just over coming rape but over coming any tough situation.
Hermione is the captain of her cheerleading team with her best friend Polly, it’s their senior year and sadly their last year to cheer. Hermione goes into her last cheer camp excited and ready to make the most of every last second. Camp is a blast and on the last Friday everyone dresses up and goes to a dance, unfortunately for Hermione someone slips a drug into her drink and rapes her.
Hermione fights to keep control and refuses to be a cautionary tale. With the support of her family and friends we get to watch Hermione as she takes back the control, heals, and wins.
The cover. Can we stop and just take a moment to gaze at this cover, seriously just look at it. It’s just SO beautiful and it relates to the story perfectly.
Descriptions. The descriptions in this book were excellent. There were times that I felt like I was actually in cheer camp. The day she wakes up in the hospital after being raped is full of emotions and I was surprised when I actually started feeling the panic and emotion.
Hermione. The way that Hermione deals with her rape is empowering. She refuses to let it define her and she doesn’t want to become known as the girl that helped make someone’s career. While she wants justice and to know who did it, it isn’t her main goal and there is something to be said for that. Because she doesn’t remember the rape she feels distant from it which makes her recovery a little more interesting. She is a strong, smart, ambitious women and she doesn’t let the fact that she was raped change what she is going to do. She deals with it and moves on with her life.
Polly. Polly is Hermione’s best friend and she is wonderful. She is just one of those friends you wish you had or wish that you could be for someone. She is always there for Hermione and is just great. If I start talking about her I might not stop.
Community. So most of the reviews I read talked about how the community rallied around Hermione and supported her, which they did (a lot more than most do). However, that doesn’t mean that things are easy for her. Rumors run like wild fire through the school and she is bullied online. I felt so bad for Hermione when she first comes back to cheer practice because the boys aren’t sure how to act around her and she calls them on it (which I liked). And I my heart broke for her parents because they aren’t sure what to do either. Also, I really liked her therapist.
Cheer. When I started reading this book I almost put it down before finishing the first chapter because I thought it was going to make cheerleading out to be like all of the terrible stereotypes but I kept on reading and was relived that it didn’t. Intentional or not I don’t know, but having Hermione be a cheerleader led to the most natural conflict. Hermione is a flyer which means that she has to be picked up and that she has to trust the boys on the team to keep her up in the air and catch her even when she isn’t sure how to trust guys in general at first. Especially since she doesn’t know that it wasn’t one of the guys on her team that attacked her.
Not so favorite things:
I could not stand her boyfriend Leo. He was a real jerk. He had a jealously problem and he didn’t even bother to text and check on her after she was attacked. In fact he would hardly even look at her. He treated her like it was her fault and that made me mad. He does get a little better towards the end though, so there is that.
On a more serious note I have kind of mixed feelings about how almost simple this book was. There’s conflict and things aren’t great for the characters but I just feel like every little problem is resolved quickly and without a whole lot of problems or difficulty. SPOILER ALERT skip the next paragraph if you are really worried about it, but it’s not a huge surprise.
Even her pregnancy is quickly resolved with no problems and little after thought.
The book just felt so perfect, everyone supported every choice she made and while I know this would be the ideal situation it just doesn’t happen that often. That being said I don’t hate the fact that everything worked out for her and that she had all of that support.
Another thing is that I just feel like I missed something with this book. All of these people are talking about the impact this book had and how it made them feel, and at the end I didn’t really feel anything. In fact I had a hard time gathering my thoughts for this book, I had to rewrite this review three times. I’m not sure why I am having such a hard time processing it. I cared about the characters and I was of course mad and upset for Hermione but… I don’t know. Maybe I need to reread it, I read it all in one sitting and I did enjoy the story I just feel like I missed something.
Some favorite quotes:
“Maybe this would be easier if I acted like I am broken. Then they’ll be able to fix me. You can’t fix something that doesn’t know it’s broken.”
“I forget that I am damaged and remember that I love to fly.”
“Polly will make sure you look perfect when you land, and I’m the one that will make sure someone is in the right place to catch you.”
There isn’t a whole lot of cursing, but the f word is used one or twice and there is some other minor language sprinkled though out.
Will you cry?
I didn’t cry, but I think most people that read this book do at some point. Especially if you or a loved one have had to deal with a similar situation.
Three out of five hedgehogs
I don’t know, I may change this later if I reread it but for now three is where I’m at.
E. K. Johnston who you can follow from the links below.
Do you think the cover is as perfect as I do? Do you feel like this book was too perfect as well?