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3.29  ·  Rating details ·  493 ratings  ·  116 reviews
This darkly comic debut novel by an award-winning playwright is like Mean Girls meets Heathers with a splash of Bring it On.

Jenna Watson is a cheerleader. But it’s not some Hollywood crap. Cheerleaders are not every guy’s fantasy; they are not the “popular girls” or the “mean girls” of Marsen High School. They’re too busy for that. They're literally just some human females
Hardcover, 249 pages
Published March 12th 2019 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux
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Average rating 3.29  · 
Rating details
 ·  493 ratings  ·  116 reviews

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Dannii Elle
Sometimes you just need a YA contemporary to cleanse the palate and this did the job, perfectly.

Despite not residing inside my usual genre, my fascination with cheerleading led me to pick this quick audiobook up and it proved exactly what I was looking for. What begins as a story of toxic teenage friendships and bitchy, back-stabbing antics turns into an inclusive, diverse, and wholesome story of finding yourself on the cusp of adulthood. I can't say much about the accuracy of the cheerleading a
Cortney LaScola - The Bookworm Myrtle Beach
The first half of the book had a lot of promise, but the second half didn't deliver. Still a decent book, but the main conflict between Jenna and Raejean was never really explained. Why did their friendship fall apart? Wasn't that the basis of this entire book?

Quick and easy read, but definitely deserving of it's 3.3 overall rating.
laurel [the suspected bibliophile]
3.5 stars, rounded up

Cheerleading. Best friends. LARPing. Falling in and out of relationships. All in a sophomore year, right?

Holy moly do I have feels about this book. I'm so torn.

For the purposes of talking freely about this book and my feelings, I'm going to put the rest of this review into spoilers.

(view spoiler)
Feb 17, 2019 rated it it was ok
I really liked parts of this novel and other parts I just totally couldn't relate with. Overall if wound up being not for me. The writing is good, but the plot could use some work. I don't read a lot of contemporaries, but I felt drawn to this one and really enjoyed it for a while, but then it just got too depressing to read. I'm sure plenty of people would love it, but it was just NOT for me. ...more
Mar 08, 2019 marked it as to-read
If you think I want to read this because the author has the same name as me, and it comes out 6 days before my 26th birthday... you would be right.
Stay Fetters
Jan 22, 2020 rated it it was ok
"I’ve never been bullied. Not really. But it turns out no one has to shove you into a locker to make you want to die. All they have to do is aggressively not care about you."

I was really excited to read this book. The synopsis kind of reminded me of Mean Girls and Bring It On and I was so ready. But you really can’t enjoy a book when you absolutely despise the main character who made a lot of selfish decisions.

Hmm.. where do we start? Jenna Watson is an asshole of a person and that annoyed me t
Jul 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobooks, fiction
4 Stars for Squad (audiobook) by Mariah MacCarthy read by the author. This was a fun story of teenage angst. I was a little surprised that the transgender character didn’t have a bigger role. The author did a good job of narrating.
May 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
I need more! This ended so soon and I want more PLEASE! In Squad, we follow Jenna Watson, a cheerleader who lately can't do anything right. Her best friend, Raejean, has been avoiding her to hang out with Meghan Finnegan. Jenna also feels apart from the rest of the squad, could the small insults be real or is everything in her head. After revenge gone wrong, Jenna decides to quit the cheer team and reinvent herself through LARPing with her brother.

I liked Jenna's character for the most part, but
Mar 20, 2019 rated it it was ok
I feel like you could easily read either too much or too little into this but I’m taking this at surface value and just want to say that you need to have been a teenage girl to be here for it

I’m sure we’ve all had bouts of vindictiveness and I feel like this story nailed that experience of passive aggressive exclusion without much more melodramatics

the plot and tone abruptly shifted at the “larping and romance” point and again at the end for the quick wrap up umm it was strange

again strange bu
Mar 01, 2019 rated it liked it
I don't know what I was expecting when I requested this book; I think I thought this would be a darker book, but instead we got your classic coming-to-age story. I'm happy I read it, but it's not something I would have picked up on my own. The story followed Jenna who was quickly dropped by her cheerleading group and best friend and had to find herself again. There was a trans romance which I enjoyed, but it was also a by-the-numbers story. Jenna was a "popular" girl so she found herself in a ho ...more
Lost in Book Land
Jun 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
Hello Again!

Recently I finished reading two books! This is the second of those two books with the first being With the Fire on High (my review for that should already be posted). I was lucky enough to receive a copy of Squad as an ebook ARC through Netgalley a while back and honestly, I had not gotten to it due to illness but I am catching up on my Netgalley and I am so happy to be doing so!


Jenna is a cheerleader in her junior year of high school. Her friends are the other cheerle
Jay G
May 31, 2021 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Want to see more bookish things from me? Check out my Youtube channel:

*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review*

Jenna Watson is a Junior in high school and a cheerleader. Her squad has always been close, always watching out for one another. Until, they're not. When Jenna's best friend Raejean seems to turn against her, Jenna doesn't know how to react. She feels excluded and left out. When Raejean begins hanging ou
Brittany S.
Initial Impressions 7/9/19 & review posted on The Book Addict's Guide 7/22/19: SQUAD was a very quick and interesting read! There was a lot to appreciate here from diverse characters, sibling friendships, transitioning friend groups, and even a bit of geek appreciation. What I didn't love was that it kind of lacked direction in terms of tone and seemed to wander around a bit, and the plot followed suit in some places.

Overall, SQUAD is about Jenna and how her life completely changes when her fri
Apr 11, 2019 rated it liked it
I was really excited about Squad when I first heard about it because it was pitched as a mix of Mean Girls and Bring it On (which are both movies that I really enjoy)! When I picked the book up and started reading, however, I found that the tone of the main character, Jenna, and the atmosphere as a whole was considerably darker than in Bring it On and Mean Girls.

The three stories definitely share the common themes of cheerleading and girls bullying each other, but that is where I found that the
Kenzie Halbert
Apr 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I sat down to read something fun and light and stumbled upon a book that felt like it was written for me. I felt so completely transported back to my time on a team not unlike Jenna’s: the intensity, the fierce loyalty, the complicated friendships wrapped up in competition and sisterhood. Mariah absolutely nailed it. Authentic and full of feeling and a truly lovely romantic arc that is brimming with enthusiastic consent and so much goodness, highlighting complications within queer relationships ...more
Samantha (WLABB)
Mar 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya, contemporary, lgbtqia
Rating: 3.5 Stars

When I first saw the cover of this book, I thought this was going to be a story about cheerleading, but it's really a tale of one girl's struggle, when she loses her "squad".

Jenna couldn't figure out when or why it all began, but her teammates were icing her out. Between the in-jokes, the backhanded compliments, and the unanswered text messages, Jenna knew she was now on the outside looking in. All of this was very painful for Jenna, but the worst part was how her long-time best
Dec 02, 2018 rated it liked it
This was just alright for me. The book felt overly weighed down with cliches and stereotypes despite trying so desperately to be fresh.

A brief summary: Jenna is a cheerleader, but she wants you to know she isn't a stereotypical cheerleader. The story follows her as she has a mini-breakdown after the fallout with her former best friend, Raejean. Jenna has an identity crisis and doesn't even seem to know who she is anymore, but after initially losing herself and her best friend, she begins to find
Mari Johnston
Mar 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
This review and many others can also be found at Musings of a (Book) Girl.

The tone of Squad is one of the most authentic I’ve ever read. Everything, from the characters themselves to the way they talked, the situations they were in and the way they reacted to them, was all so genuine and real. Mariah MacCarthy did such an incredible job bringing us into Jenna’s head and helping us understand not just what she was feeling, but why, which is such an important factor that oftentimes gets missed.

Nat ⭐️
Jun 15, 2019 rated it liked it
This book was a solid 2/5 stars until it hit chapter 20, when the book has a huge tonal shift.

Warnings for mentions of self harm and frank discussions for suicide and death.

I went into this book expecting a story about a cheerleader being kicked off her “squad” and falling in love with a trans boy—and that’s ultimately what I got, but for a long time it’s a really sad look into mental health and a friend breakup. Books about being “dumped” by a friend are definitely important and necessary, but
Jan 11, 2021 rated it liked it
3.5 stars, so, the overall plot of this book wasn’t extremely original, but there were some details that kids set it apart. 1. She ends up dating a trans guy, 2. The ending isn’t perfectly resolved, 3. She Kidman’s of comes to her senses. This might be one of the only ya contemporary reads where the main character was told they were being an asshole. And she was. Jenna did get in my nerves at points but overall she was a pretty good character.
Belle Ellrich
Jan 20, 2019 rated it liked it

You know, I always thought that my cheerleading days were behind me. That I'd forgotten everything about tuck jumps, and toe touches, and high and low v's. But this book brought aaaalll of those memories back.

I almost felt attacked while reading this book. Mariah MacCarthy really hit the mark with the MC being a teen girl, and it was a little terrifying. They managed to capture the feelings, emotions, and actions of a teen girl perfe
May 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Wow. This book was so much more than I was expecting.
Jennifer Fatula
Apr 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
At first, I wasn't sure I was going to like this book but it grew on me. I read a lot of it in one sitting since it was a quick read. At one point I realized I was sort of uncomfortable while reading it and then when I thought about why it was because the author really made you remember those times in junior high/high school when you were uncomfortable in a situation/yourself because you were still figuring out the world. It was a really interesting time and feeling to be transported back to, so ...more
Sara Gregory
Mar 19, 2019 rated it liked it
Charming book about a teen girl that goes from self-absorbed to scrappy.
Matt Tynan
Dec 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I’m not usually one for stories about cheerleaders, but MacCarthy’s debut was engaging, authentic, and tender. I finished it in three days and could hardly put it down.

Jenna, a very human cheerleader, starts to feel a growing distance between her and her best friend Raejean. She tries desperately to double down on being besties, only to have it backfire and make things worse and worse. This sense of the friendship being a Sisyphusian boulder of hopelessness grows until Jenna snaps and decides to
Ashley Rogers
Jan 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I thoroughly enjoyed reading Squad. I think what I enjoyed most about it was McCarthy's ability to create really awesome characters and a plot that made me feel for Jenna, her plight, and how sometimes friends drift apart and the jealousy and lack of understanding we feel when this happens. McCarthy also tackles the anxiety of "Having to find a new friend group," and participating in new experiences (Vampire LARPing) really well.

I also just straight up loved James, and how, yeah Jenna is coming
Mar 15, 2019 rated it it was ok
I've never been bullied. Not really. But it turns out, no one has to shove you into a locker to make you want to die. All they have to do is aggressively not care about you.
Jenna Watson had the perfect life. She was a high school cheerleader and best friends with Raejean Winters. One day, Raejean became close friends with another girl named Meghan and stopped talking to Jenna altogether. While it was not explicitly stated in the book, Jenna's friendship with Raejean had a clear homoerotic s
Jun 27, 2019 rated it did not like it
Squad attempted to be a sort of Heathers-type story, especially considering McCarthy is a playwright and thus experienced in scriptwriting, but it definitely did not translate well to novel format.

The biggest problem with the book is that the narration did a fun little flip and turned "show not tell" into "make literally every paragraph an info dump about information we really don't need." There were so many long statements and sections made up of the narrator just telling us things. I can barel
Jun 29, 2019 rated it really liked it

Ok so grabbed this book off a display at Farmington Library too, thought it would also be some stupid light fluff I’d have issues with and yes ok it’s YA light fiction involving a high schooler and drama but like

It was GOOD


Omigod I did not expect to LIKE it

Ok I will now note down some disjointed thoughts (basically my “updates”)
First off I’m out here feeling the emotions and drama, they was well written, character rea
Sometimes I think cheerleaders get a bad rap. They're so often objectified and seen as Barbie dolls and potential sex objects or even the school's Mean Girls. While clearly some of those assumptions might be true in some cases, it isn't always the case as shown in this novel. Junior Jenna Watson is part of the cheerleading squad at Marsen High School. But she and her teammates are all about dance and acrobatic routines and staying in tip-top shape for competition. When the locals come to watch s ...more
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