The Falling Girls

Razorbill. Oct. 2021. 320p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780593114148.
Gr 10 Up–This young adult mystery/thriller is told by Shade, a junior in high school. Shade is great in gymnastics and has always been fascinated with cheerleading, but has never pursued her interest in it, mainly because of her fear of “The Three Chloes”—Chloe Orbach, the ringleader and cheer team captain; Chloe Clarke, the most talented on the team; and Chloe Schmidt, the meanest of them all. Shade is also afraid to tell her best friend, Jadis, that she wants to join the team; the two girls are inseparable, and neither fits the stereotype of a cheerleader. When Shade decides to join the team anyway and quickly gets drawn into the inner circle of “The Three Chloes,” her relationship with Jadis becomes strained. Things take a turn for the worse when one of the Chloes mysteriously ends up dead at a school dance. While trying to uncover what really happened, Shade begins to question whether her friend is to blame and whether joining the team was a mistake. The theme of this story is how serious, consuming, and even toxic high school girls’ relationships can become. It also focuses on the commitment and even the dangers involved with cheerleading and how these are so often overlooked. The book contains drug use and alcohol consumption, but they are not depicted in a positive light.
VERDICT This fast-paced, thrilling read belongs in all school libraries. It touches on issues such as toxic friendships, high school sports, gender roles, and stereotyping.

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