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Perfect Cover

(The Squad #1)

3.84  ·  Rating details ·  7,413 ratings  ·  379 reviews
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 ...more
Mass Market Paperback, 275 pages
Published February 12th 2008 by Laurel-Leaf (first published January 1st 2008)
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Average rating 3.84  · 
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 ·  7,413 ratings  ·  379 reviews

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I've just found out I almost died today.

From Wikipedia:

Death from laughter refers to a rare instance of death, usually resulting from cardiac arrest or asphyxiation, caused by a fit of laughter. Instances of death by laughter have been recorded from Ancient Greece to the modern day. The first recorded use of the alternative term fatal hilarity is from 1956.
Death may result from several pathologies that deviate from benign laughter. Infarction of the pons and medulla oblongata in the brain may cause pathological laughter.
Laughter can cause atonia anWikipedia:
In the course of this book, the heroine hated on/mocked/sneered at (constantly!) cheerleaders, pretty girls, cheerleaders, pop music, cheerleaders, Britney Spears, cheerleaders, Christina Aguilera, cheerleaders, make-up, cheerleaders, sequins, cheerleaders, the color pink, cheerleaders, happy people, cheerleaders, hot boys, cheerleaders, dating, cheerleaders, jocks, cheerleaders, looking good, cheerleaders, fashion sense, cheerleaders.... you get the message.

Stupidest book ever. And
Veronica Morfi
Feb 04, 2015 rated it liked it
Rating: 3/5

Toby Klein never expected that one little invitation to join varsity cheerleading squad would change her life completely. But as she soon finds out these cheerleaders are not your typical girls. They are undercover government operatives. Toby can't turn down the opportunity to join them and soon she finds herself with a makeover and doing things she never though she would, like breaking into the enemy's office and falling for a guy.

This was a really fast-paced
Sep 23, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: young-adult, spy
Perhaps I would have liked this book more if I hadn't read the Gallagher Girls series (Ally Carter.)

Similar idea - high school girls training to be secret agents. Except that in this book, it's all about perfection. Perfect hair, perfect accessories, perfect make up, perfect wardrobe. Complete makeovers and everything pink. Pulling off missions by flaunting their bodies and flirting. Cheerleaders are untouchable - head of the social hierarchy, vice principal obeying their every whim,
Actual rating: 4.5

Not all books need to be poetic works with deep meaning. Sometimes what you need is light and fun and trashy.
Mimi Valentine

I'm in daze of re-reading a bunch of books I previously enjoyed, and after going through the many JLB books I've already read, I decided to get on this series -- and it. Was. Awesome!

Basically, at Toby's school, the cheerleaders rule with their perky happiness and sociable intuitiveness, being called the "God Squad" for a reason -- which is why Toby is so surprised when she gets an invite to join. In code. Multiple codes, actually which the hacker in h
Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Jennifer Rummel for

Toby hates cheerleaders. She could care less about the God Squad, the most popular girls in school.

Then she finds two coded messages in her locker inviting her to try out for the squad. At first she thinks these messages are a joke, but then curiosity gets the better of her.

The first meeting is just an introduction to the squad, without practicing. At 5:30 the next morning, she attends her first practice. Toby is not a morning person
Dec 23, 2008 rated it it was amazing

If you'd told me at the beginning of sophomore year that I was going to end up a government operative, I would have thought you were crazy, but if you'd told me I was destined to become a cheerleader, I would have had you committed, no questions asked. At that point in time, there were three things in life that I knew for certain: 1)I was a girl who'd never met a site she couldn't hack or a code she couldn't break, 2) I had a roundhouse that could put a grown man in the hospital, and 3) I would
Kate (Bookish Hoard)
Ok, let me start this review of by saying that I actually really love some of JLB’s work - The Fixer and the Naturals series - which is why I decided to read as many of her books as possible. I was really excited for this series because the premise sounds great. I mean cheerleaders as government spies? Sign me up!

Sadly, I was disappointed.
Don't get me wrong, there were a few things that I liked.
Some of the characters (especially Lucy, Zee and Tara) were cool and their bas
Nov 10, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-in-2015
"Tasers and bulletproof push-up bras. In practically the same sentence. So wrong. So, so wrong."

Between this book and The Naturals series, it's safe to say Jennifer Lynn Barnes has a little obsession with teenagers working for CIA/FBI (but The Naturals is waaaay better, just sayin').

Toby Klein is a sophomore student who doesn't fit in with anyone else. She's her own persona and doesn't follow highschool "rules". Until she's invited to join the Cheerleader team... a group of people that To
Sep 04, 2016 rated it did not like it
I was really disappointed with this book. I practically had to force myself to finish reading, just because I hate leaving books unfinished.

The biggest problem I had with this book was the main character Toby.
She was constantly complaining throughout the novel; like yes, we get it you're sooooo special because you aren't a cheerleader and you're constantly acting salty about anything and everything girly. The premise of the novel and the idea was good, and I thought the idea of having a spy se
priya kumar
I really tried with this one. I kept thinking, if I just got through a few more cliches, stereotypes, horrendous world building, repetitive snark, and self-righteous brats, a kick ass plot would make up for it. I was wrong.

And Toby, I kept hoping for the badass computer geek I was promised, but all I got was this bratty brat face who thought she was the shit because...
a) she didn't know her bra size
b) she was almost ubiquitously disliked
c) she's never worn makeup
d) she
May 13, 2015 rated it liked it
The heroine's persistent bad attitude was super tiresome, but apart from that this was a fun read. So onboard with the concept of cheerleading spies. Will be picking up the sequel, but I'm not in a particular hurry.
Jacquelyn Simon
Jan 19, 2019 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kami Dodson-Perry
Jun 03, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I did not know what to expect from this series but I have read the 1st 2 books of Jennifer Lynn Barnes "Raised by Wolves" series and really loved them.

This series is about cheerleaders who are also government operatives. This peeked my interest. I am not a girly girl and hated the cheerleaders of my high school but that helped me relate to the main character Toby in this series.

Toby is quick witted, stubborn, tough, and all around tom boy. Toby's plan in life to this poin
I liked The Squad and I guess I have to -begrudgingly- agree with the people out there saying it was shallow, because it was (a little but it was obvious by the summary that is was going to be at least a little shallow.

But whatever, I though it was good!

I liked the different look on cheerleaders; I mean, think about it.. when was the last time you read a YA book when the cheerleader wasn't the evil-(ahem)-witch? I personally can't remember.

So yeah, this was a nice refreshing book that really pevil-(ahem)-?
May 30, 2013 added it
I was surprised by how hilarious I thought this book was. Very witty and sarcastic, but usually not overtly so. I'm not sure how that will translate into the second book (if I'll get tired of the voice), but it worked well here.

Toby's attitude and voice literally made me laugh out loud more than once. It's not as "young" as some other spy novels like the Gallagher Girls series (more references to bullet-proof bras, butt photocopying, some swearing, etc.) so I probably won't be giving it to my n
Y. C.
Aug 30, 2013 rated it really liked it
"Cheerleaders and secret agents have more in common than you might think."

If you want to read a book about a group of kick ass high school girls that are secret spies as well as beautiful cheerleaders that can keep their clothes, nails and hair perfect after a mission then this is your book.

Ann aka Iftcan
Mar 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
I'm going to admit right up front--the reason that I read this was because it had a geek/nerd as the MC--one that had to turn herself into a cheerleader so that she could become a spy. Loved the idea, and enjoyed the action and the snark. Probably because I didn't have to go to school with any cheerleaders. The wonders of attending embassy schools and then an American High School where we went split shift (6 am to noon for the first shift, 12:30 to 6:30 for the afternoon shift) and all the jocks ...more
Apr 17, 2017 rated it liked it
I liked the book and then stumbled upon the last paragraph of the acknowledgements which made me do a retake on the thought the book stands upon; and it made me appreciate the book more than I would have done otherwise. From what I saw in the book, I appreciated the parody the books makes of the society that is only concerned and satisfied with what is visible on the surface: be it a person or a squad or an idea.
Jun 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
A fun, fast read. The premise is : who would be a better CIA operative than a cheerleader? People will always underestimate your intelligence, so you will never be suspected....
Nov 24, 2017 rated it liked it
A fun quick read. Ever wonder how CIA operatives disguise themselves? Cheerleaders! 😂 Thanks for the loan Lesa.
May 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
Actual Rating: 3.5 stars

Full Review:

I definitely had a lot of mixed emotions while reading this book. During the first few chapters, I honestly didn't like it very much at all. I wasn't really connecting with any of the characters (except the main, kind of) and the language is a lot. However, as I got further in, I finally started liking most of the girls. Toby actually reminded me a lot of Macy from Ally Carter's Gallagher Girls series and she made me laugh out loud so many times!

All-in-all, I'm/>Full
Nov 07, 2015 rated it really liked it
OMG! I haven't laughed this much in a while!

Here's the cover blurb:

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 cheerleading squad.
Jun 15, 2016 rated it liked it
This review is also posted at http://readingnookandcranny.blogspot....

Late June/early July has been a rather slow period for me with books, so I decided to dive into another one of Barnes's series since I just inhaled the new Fixer novel and am eagerly awaiting the next installment in The Naturals series.

Perfect Cover, the first novel in The Squad series, isn't quite up to par with Barnes's more recent novels. The plot was kind of bland. Toby gets a few mysterious and coded messages left for her, telling her
Aug 03, 2009 rated it liked it
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 unrealis
Aug 11, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya-fiction, fun-fluff
High school sophomore Toby Klein is not exactly cheerleader material. She wears combat boots, is a third degree black belt, and spends her spare time hacking into very secure computer systems. So when “the God squad,” as they are frequently referred to, sends her coded notes inviting her to try out, Toby is bewildered and curious, but has no intention of wearing a short skirt and sporting pom-poms. Then she learns that The Squad is a top-secret government program that trains and uses the girls a ...more
Mar 23, 2015 rated it liked it
This is one of those books with a great plot but horrible boring characters.
Cheerleaders who are secretly FBI agents?
Really interesting plot.
However as with many books by Jennifer Lynn Barnes that I have a problem with, the characters were so predictable and boring.
Toby is your typical "nerd" who spends her free time hacking websites of big companies and looks down the god squad for being "dumb". When she receives a crypted invitation to join the squad she is immediately intrigued.
Abby Johnson
Nov 18, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: blogged
Alias meets Bring It On in this great, funny novel about cheerleader espionage. Toby is surprised when she gets a note in her locker inviting her to try out for the varsity cheerleading squad. She'd think it was a joke except that there's a code hidden inside the note. And hacker Toby is just too intrigued to ignore it. Suddenly Toby is caught up in a world she couldn't have imagined... the varsity cheerleaders at Bayport High are actually a group of highly trained spies and they want her to join them. ...more
Jade West
Feb 18, 2015 rated it really liked it
Solid 4 Stars
I finished a while ago, but I remember I freaked. The plot is nice, I can relate to having to change but I wouldn't no matter the black mail. They have good points and funny times. I like the emphasis on the training cheerleaders have to go through and how people would find them stupid because they are 'pretty'. Real cheerleaders are from all grades, they are of all diversity, they actually EAT, and they have lots of training to do. They had a better concept of real cheerleade
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Jennifer Lynn Barnes (who mostly goes by Jen) was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma. She has been, in turn, a competitive cheerleader, a volleyball player, a dancer, a debutante, a primate cognition researcher, a teen model, a comic book geek, and a lemur aficionado. She's been writing for as long as she can remember, finished her first full book (which she now refers to as a "practice book" and which none ...more

Other books in the series

The Squad (2 books)
  • Killer Spirit (The Squad, #2)
“I'd sold my soul to get out of detention.” 14 likes
“At that point in time, there were three things in life that I knew for certain: (1) I was a girl who’d never met a site she couldn’t hack or a code she couldn’t break, (2) I had a roundhouse that could put a grown man in the hospital, and (3) I would without question chop off my own hands before I’d come within five feet of a pom-pom” 12 likes
More quotes…