Girl Squad by Kim Hoover is a unique, sweet and captivating story set in 1970s Texas. Cal’s parents get divorced which is not heard of in the small town where they live. This already sets her apart from the rest of the kids in school. Luckily her best friend, Jane, lives across the road and has nothing but support for Cal. But Cal’s mother begins to act strangely and as Cal is leaving for bible camp she sees her mother get into a car with a man she doesn’t know.
At bible camp Cal and Jane meet the new girl in town, Rachel. Cal and Rachel are drawn to one another causing a bit of tension from Jane but the friendship is strong and will probably weather the burgeoning romance.
When they get home from camp two important things happen, Rachel and Cal grow closer and Cal’s mother disappears.
When Cal wakes up one morning her mother is gone and rather than stay with her father she runs away to Rachel’s place. Rachel’s folks are going out of town on business and Rachel and her brother have an understanding to stay out of one another’s business.
Rachel, Cal and Jane are left with Rachel’s credit card, a car and ample time to try and solve the mystery of where Cal’s mother disappeared off to. Their adventure takes them all over the place as they unravel an increasingly dangerous situation.
Kim Hoover weaves a thrilling tale of suspense and first love set in a time when kids were free to roam around by themselves but were not free to love anyone of the same sex.
Cal tells the story and Hoover did a masterful job of the first person narrative. Telling the story from Cal’s point of view allowed us to intimately experience her fears about losing her mother and her blossoming desires for Jane.
As the story progresses we see a little of Jane’s background and my heart broke for her while I cheered her on and loved her feisty outlook on life.
Rachel is the best friend everyone wants. She stands with Cal through a lot, she is kind and loves her friend no matter what. I suspect a lot of Cal’s inner strength comes from the fact that she does have such a kind close friend.
There are also a handful of memorable side character’s like Cal’s grandmother and her father.
The Writing Style
I can’t say that anything specifically stood out about the writing style other that I was hugely entertained. It was a smooth read and it kept me guessing all the way to the end. There were no glaring errors nor were there moments that made me stop to marvel at the awesome writing. But then again I don’t always need that.
I loved how fun and original the story was. I had no idea how it would end. It was a satisfying ending with a satisfying story and great characters.
Not a con but a heads up that there is a relatively graphic sex scene and it’s not suitable for people who are too young.
The cover is a violent pink. I am not convinced it will make people pick it up and they should!
I loved this one. It was not my usual thing and had I seen the cover I probably would have moved right along. Luckily I just read the blurb and gave it a go. What a great find. I am excited to see what Kim Hoover does next.
If you like YA novels with spunky heroines, a cute story and a sweet romance then this is a great find.
Just wear your sunglasses when you look at the cover.
Excerpt from Girl Squad by Kim Hoover
As we walked through the prayer garden, I heard someone coming up from behind and turned to see who it was. I caught my breath. Oh my god. That’s her. Jane. My stomach felt like I’d swallowed one of the nearby cacti. Why was I so nervous all of a sudden? My throat tightened up. I was dying for water.
“Hey,” she said.
“Hi.” My voice sounded strange and I just stood there, staring at her like an idiot.
“You must be Jane,” Rachel said.
“And you are?”
“I’m Rachel. She’s Cal.”
I noticed her clothes right away. They looked expensive and not like anything you could get in Dumas. I understood why the boys had been so loopy over her. She was different from the rest of us, that’s for sure. She was almost too perfect, even the way she stood there with her purse over her shoulder, her outfit put together just so, like someone you would see on the cover of a magazine.
“Where are you off to?” she asked.
“It’s time for roll call. Aren’t you coming?”
“Is that a Bible?” she asked, ignoring my question and pointing to my clutched hand.
Before I could stop myself, I said, “ Good News for Modern Man .” I could see she had no idea what I was talking about. “You know, The New Testament . In modern language?”
She stepped closer and held my eyes so long I had to look away. “Do you buy all that?”
I paused, backing up, thinking, maybe for the first time, about whether there was any choice. “Are you asking if I believe in the Bible?”
She sat down on a stucco bench and motioned for us to join her. She pulled a pack of cigarettes from her purse and lit one. I gasped and exchanged a wide-eyed glance with Rachel, shocked at how bold she was.
“Want one?” she asked.
I shook my head, looking around to see if anyone else was coming, my heart beating rapidly. Rachel just sat there with her mouth hanging open. We sat silently, me worried about her getting caught smoking.
“I’ve never been to a Bible camp before,” she said.
“Do you like it?” Why do I care? Don’t be such a geek.
She raised her eyebrows and leaned back against the bench, crossing her legs. Her thighs flexed at the hem of her skirt and I noticed how muscular her legs were. I must have stared a little too long.
“Soccer,” she said.
“I play soccer. That’s why I have these quads.”
“Oh, sorry. I didn’t mean to stare.”
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Bits and Bobs
- ISBN number: 9781642470444
- Publisher: Bella Books
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