Hi there! Once again, I've been absent. My excuse is the same as everyone else's--we've been sick in our house, in a state of yucky, drippy, hacky misery that you really don't want me to describe, though, I suppose I just did.
Two words (okay, phrases): High school cheerleaders, secret agents.
Or as Jennifer puts it, "Part Charlie’s Angels, part Bring It On." I mean, really! Do you need to hear anything else? I want these books on my nightstand NOW. However, if for some reason you want more dets, here's the jacketflap razmatazz:
From the author of GOLDEN and TATTOO comes a new series about high school cheerleaders who are more than what they seem, and an outsider who must become one of them- to save the world. Part Charlie’s Angels, part Bring It On, THE SQUAD focuses on a group of government operatives who double as high school cheerleaders. Already optioned for television by The N, The Squad takes you behind the perfect smiles and too-short skirts to prove that there’s nothing more dangerous than underestimating a cheerleader… especially if she’s on The Squad.
THE SQUAD: PERFECT COVER
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.
But things are different at Bayport.
Bayport's varsity cheer squad is made up of the hottest of the hot. But this A-list is dangerous in more ways than one. The Squad is actually a cover for the most highly trained group of underage government operatives the United States has ever assembled. Athletically, they're unmatchable, though they make it all look easy on the field. Mentally, they're exceptional - but with one flash of their gorgeous smiles, you'll completely forget that. Socially, they're gifted, so they can command and manipulate any situation. And above all, they have the perfect cover, because, beyond herkies and highlights, no one expects anything from a cheerleader.
Toby Klein might not seem like the most likely recruit, but she’s never been one to turn down a challenge. If she can hand the makeover, Bayport High may just have found its newest cheerleader.
Pretty, popular, armed, and extremely dangerous - meet THE SQUAD.
THE SQUAD: KILLER SPIRIT
Saying Toby Klein is an unlikely cheerleader is like saying Paris Hilton might be into guys - understatement of the year. But the varsity squad at Bayport High gives new meaning to the phrase All-American, and Toby's double life as a varsity cheerleader and a government operative means balancing protocol, pep rallies, computer hacking, and handsprings.
Now something’s about to go down in Bayport, and the Big Guys Upstairs need to know what. The Squad is on the case, but it looks like this mission could put the "L" in lethal. And if the spy business doesn't kill Toby, it’s starting to look like Brooke, the team's captain, might. The nominations are in for homecoming court, and rumor has it that Toby is the unlikely frontrunner for queen.
Terrorist threat? Bloody mission gone wrong? Demented squad captain?
Bring it on.
Love it! And Jen, too, who stopped by for an e-interview:
Elizabeth: You walk into a bookstore and make a beeline to. . .
a) chick lit
b) YA lit
e) a big stack of gossip mags and a cappuccino
f) the ________ (please fill in) section
. . . and why?
Jennifer: I always make a beeline for the YA section. It's funny, because I didn't really start reading YA until right AFTER I graduated from high school, but now, I'm completely addicted, and there are ways in which reading YA has pseudo-ruined me for reading some adult books that I might have otherwise enjoyed, because YA books have really complex plots and characters, but shorter word counts than adult books, which means that- to me at least- they often feel like tighter reads.
Elizabeth: Tell me about your childhood, part 1: When you were a teenager, what young adult novel a) saved b) changed c) okay, made a big wallop on your life?
Jennifer: It's hard for me to pinpoint a single book. As a teen, I read absolutely everything I could get my hands on, but there was never just "one" book for me- and like I said before, I didn't really read YA much until my late teens- before then, I had skipped straight from middle grade to adult novels.
Elizabeth: Tell me about your childhood, part 2: If there was no such novel, what kind of book do you WISH you'd had to change/save/wallop your life?
Jennifer: I'm still looking for a really good novel about being an overachiever- there are tons out there with "overachieving" main characters, but I've never really read one where both the character and the environment rang true to me, and most books just don't seem to "get" the enormity of the pressures in high school life. The Overachievers by Alexandra Robbins is an excellent nonfiction book that really does seem to hit the nail on the head (probably because it's nonfiction), but I'd love to find a novel that does it just as well.
Elizabeth: Tell me about your childhood, part 3: Where did you grow up and what kind of role does that setting play in the books you write?
Jennifer: I grew up in Oklahoma, went to college in Connecticut, and recently spent a year living in England. Bits and pieces of all these places make their way into my books. My first novel, Golden, was set in Oklahoma, and even though I haven't specified a state for any of my other books, home always works its way in there somehow.
Elizabeth: What do you love about Toby, the star of The Squad?
Jennifer: I love that Toby's tough, and that even though she likes to think she doesn't need anyone else, once the books start, she can't help making connections with other people. She's fiercely protective of the people she cares about, and I love the fact that sometimes, this takes her by surprise.
Elizabeth: Finally, which Chick with Sticks are you? Feel free to take this handyquiz.
Jennifer: The Quiz says I'm Scottie!
Thanks, Jen! Can't wait to read 'em.