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3.82  ·  Rating details ·  157 ratings  ·  28 reviews
What happens when a family suffers a tragedy and everyone blames themselves?

The Dahl family is reeling from the shocking loss of their toddler Riley. His mother Jenny channels her grief – and secret guilt – into an obsession with getting pregnant. His teenaged sister Ella, a competitive high school cheerleader, seeks to atone by being the perfect adolescent for her parents
Kindle Edition, 222 pages
Published November 2018 by BookBaby (first published August 10th 2012)
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Average rating 3.82  · 
Rating details
 ·  157 ratings  ·  28 reviews

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Oct 14, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had this book in my library for awhile but had to work my way up to reading it because I knew it would hit too close to home. Since losing my little brother suddenly and then my mother 18 months later - I have read mindless suspense thrillers non stop to keep myself distracted. Every waking minute of everyday has to be focused on something -anything- or else I am overwhelmed with grief. I knew this would be a tough read but it was well worth it.

It was an accurate portrayal - too accurate at
Feb 27, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Easy to read though disturbing at times story about a family barely coping after an accidental tragedy affects their lives. Interesting look behind the scenes and into the psyches of each of the family members and how they perceive what happened to them, where they place the blame and how they react to this tragedy. Leslie does a nice job telling their story from each character's perspective. Being from the Bay Area, it was fun to read about all the places familiar to me. Congratulations to Lesl ...more
Sep 16, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

There is a time for everything and I believe it was time for me to read this book ...amazing how that happens sometimes .
Dec 01, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012
When I first started reading this book, I thought it would focus more on the world of cheerleading and the daughter, but it is a book that is not really about that at all. I was pleasantly surprised at this novel, and had a hard time putting it down.

The story of the Dahl family is written from three perspectives, the daughter's (Ella), the mom (Jenny), and the dad (Ethan). It starts off with you knowing something tragic has happened to fracture the family, and they are all looking for different
PinkAmy loves books, cats and naps
Two years after toddler Riley died, his parents Jen and Ethan, and his teenage sister Ella are still drowning in grief. Separately. CHEER is told from the first person POVs of Ella and Jen, and the third person POV of Ethan. While Ella's voice is slightly teenage-like, there was virtually no difference or distinct voice from the POVs.
From the beginning of the story, the first thing I noticed was an excessive amount of telling, rather than showing of the story. Ella's chapters were the most in d
Charlotte Lynn
Sep 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Jenny asks her teenage daughter, Ella, to watch her toddler brother, Riley. Ella doesn’t want to, but her mom leaves anyway. This small every day event leads to their whole lives becoming filled with guilt, grief, and blame.

Ella becomes a “perfect” daughter, student, and cheerleader, who secretly cuts herself to numb the pain. Jenny becomes obsessed with getting pregnant again, ignoring the rest of her families pain. Ethan, the father and husband, tries the hardest just to keep his family toget
Renny Barcelos
Oct 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is amazingly well written, with a great plot, well drawn characters, and gorgeous prose.

Each chapter follows one of the members of the Dahl family, which is still trying to recover from a tragedy that happened two years before. First person POV for the women, third for the man.

Each one of them - Ethan, the father, Jenny, the mother, and Ella, the teenager daughter - is trying desperately to find a way to cope with the grief. Unfortunately, they are all trying it alone, and the family i
Beryl Cost
Sep 21, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: drama
First let me say that this is not the kind of book i normally read. I normally hate anything where a child dies, especially a little boy. That being said, I really liked this book. It's very well written, and the different points of view added greatly to the story. I felt deeply each character's pain and guilt and empathised with all three of them, especially the mother. I understand the paralyzing affect that guilt can have on someone, even if it's not merited. I felt most sorry for the daughte ...more
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Cheer is the emotionally charged story about a family's journey through grief, guilt, and forgiveness as they struggle to adjust following the death of their young son. The book is well written and engaged me from the beginning quote. Gordon's characters are well developed, realistic and very easy to relate to. Although the subject is sad and the characters are flawed and deal with some major issues, but the book definitely left me with a sense of hope. I have alr ...more
Mar 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Having suffered tragedy and enduring grief in my own family, I could relate to some of the themes in this book. The details of Riley's death are slowly revealed, like layers peeled from an onion, and I found myself guessing and anticipating the heartbreaking demise.

The chapters are told from alternating points of view--daughter, mother, father, daughter, mother, and so on. The strange thing is that the mom and daughter chapters are told in 1st-person, but the dad's are all in 3rd-person limited
Aug 31, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a lovely book by a first-time author. I heard about this book on a podcast called 2 Knit Lit Chicks, and since it is set in the town I live in, I was curious.

Without feeling forced, the story unfolds as a family is coping with grief from the accidental death off a young boy. The various points of view of the family felt real, and the ways in which the grief finds ways of expression felt real to me as a pastor.

Finally, it was only by the end of the book that I realized this story had touc
Aug 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved this book, featuring a "typical" Marin family that like everyone has secrets and sadness and joy. First time author Leslie Gordon draws a rich set of characters, and creates drama without being dramatic. Plus I found myself laughing out loud in some parts. Cheer kind of reminded me of early books by fabulous author Anne Lamott. Read this book. ...more
Mar 02, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Cheer" is a sensitive and beautifully written first novel about forgiveness and family by a promising new writer. Gordon tells this tragic story from three well-rounded perspectives, and through them, we understand what it is to be an adolescent, a parent, and how families try to find their way out of tragedies and heal. Looking forward to what comes next for this insightful writer.

Leslie Gordon
Aug 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)  ·  review of another edition
Readers, I loved writing this book -- and I'm eager to hear your thoughts and feedback. If you'd like your copy of Cheer: A Novel Kindlegraphed, visit this page:
Sep 23, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This wasn't a book I would normally read. It was a story about a very real family dealing with very real, and scary, issues. The character development was great, I really felt like I knew Ella, Ethan and Jenny. A great and very emotionally charged read. ...more
Julie Orman
Excellent debut. Excited for more by Leslie Gordon; her prose is in the same vein as Picoult and Mitchard
Sep 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012
I flew through this in just a couple days while on vacation. I got it free on amazon and would have easily paid for it. Very relatable & likeable characters.
Dec 30, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a mixed bag for me. Not at all light and cheerful, however incredibly insightful as a family grapples with the meaning of the death of a young son/brother and the personal repercussions of dealing with that death. I've never had a young death in the family, but I was young when my father died and so many of the emotions I had at the time came through in different ways through the narrative of this book. In that sense, it was well worth the read.

My only complaint is the relationship betw
Lee Fullbright
Sep 11, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Anyone who knows me knows I’d walk miles for a well-written litfic novel with equal parts mystery (in the beginning, in this case), multiple perspectives, and sympathetic characters. Lucky me, I didn’t need to walk miles. I just needed to click a few times, and Leslie A. Gordon’s finely wrought Cheer: A Novel was sharing a bed with me.

Sad? Yes, Cheer is sad, even downright heartbreaking in places (but so is life). I ached for Ella and Jenny. I had a harder time connecting with Jeremy, due to th
May 22, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
How does a family recover from the accidental death of a toddler? This book presents the perspective of the mother who blames herself, the older sister who also blames herself, and the father who dearly wants his family back. Each grieves in their own way and mostly in isolation from the others. While difficult to read the early chapters feel like an accurate depiction of how family members might feel in such a situation. Ultimately the daughter takes a drastic action and as a result the family ...more
Jul 21, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book reminded me of many of the Jodi Piccoult books. Several different voices tell the story of a dysfunctional family and a terrible tragedy. I thought it was quite well done and thought provoking. Does have some PG 13 rated scenes but still a good read.
Inge M. Thomas
Aug 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Taryn Thomas said she was a w d
Oct 03, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This was a depressing book from beginning to end. It took too long to understand what happened to Riley.
Tammy Davis
A little simplistic, but a pretty good first novel. Oh, the ripple effect of our actions, and the weight of that knowledge.
alisonwonderland (Alison)
I loved the irony of using the title Cheer and the activity of cheerleading as the backdrop for this novel about grief and guilt!
Nov 09, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I gave this one a 4 but nothing really stands out about it these months later
Oct 27, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Title not good because book isn't really about cheering. It's about a family tragedy. Really good book though! ...more
Oct 21, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book is like a "how to not" deal with loss. The mess the characters get into because of their grief, is the exact opposite of what my faith would lead me to do. ...more
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ChickLit Club's Review of Cheer 1 3 Sep 17, 2012 12:07PM  
First Book Blogger Review for Cheer 3 6 Sep 16, 2012 12:02PM  
Making Connections: 545. CHEER: A Novel by Leslie Gordon 1 17 Sep 16, 2012 06:29AM  

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Erin Gordon is a Bay Area native who graduated from UC Berkeley and Loyola Law School. After practicing law for three years, she earned a master’s in journalism at Stanford University and worked several years as a newspaper beat reporter covering law firms. Erin then spent more than 20 years as a freelance legal affairs journalist, all the while dreaming of becoming a novelist.

When not writing, Go

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“Parenthood doesn’t improve one’s character, it exposes it.” 21 likes
“That was the problem with grieving one child in a family with other children. In my despair over losing Riley, I’d lost my daughter too.” 1 likes
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