Thanks so much for coming to my tour stop for Hear Our Voices’ Squad Goals book tour. Keep reading to see my review, a mood board, and links to where you can purchase the book. To check out the other stops on this tour, make sure to check out the tour schedule.
Title: Squad Goals
Author: Erika J. Kendrick
Publisher: Little, Brown and Co. Books for Young Readers
Pub Date: 04/06/2021
Genre: Middle Grade Contemporary
Edition: ARC (Advanced Reader’s Copy)
Camp is in session in this cheer-tastic middle-grade novel about making new friends, finding your place, and learning to embrace your inner Magic.
Magic Olive Poindexter has big shoes to fill. Her mother was a professional cheerleader, her father is a retired NBA legend, her big sister is the new face of the oh-so-glamorous Laker Girls, and her grandmother was the first black cheerleader ever on Valentine Middle School’s HoneyBee cheer squad. Magic wants nothing more than to follow in their footsteps. But first, she has to survive Planet Pom Poms, the summer cheer camp where she’ll audition for a spot on the HoneyBee squad. But with zero athletic ability and a group of mean girls who have her number, Tragic Magic is a long way from becoming the toe-touching cheerleader heroine she dreams of being.
Things start to look up when her best friend Cappie joins her at camp–until Cappie gets bitten by the popularity bug, that is. To make matters worse, Magic’s crushing hard on football star Dallas Chase. Luckily, Magic’s not alone: with the help of a new crew of fabulous fellow misfits and her Grammy Mae’s vintage pom poms by her side, Tragic Magic might just survive–and even thrive–at cheer camp.
Squad Goals was such a cute story of friendship, determination, and rising above the odds. My favorite part of the book was the Stumbles because the way the girls all came together to support each other was beautiful. It showed that even when everything around you is a competition, friendship doesn’t have to be. It was also nice seeing disability rep that focused on not being limited in doing what you want. The way parent loss and grief were mentioned was also really cool.
I enjoyed the Cappie storyline because it showed some of the sacrifices you might have to make to get to where you want to be even if it involves you losing something or someone. The Dallas parts were really sweet too, and I liked seeing the difference between Cappie and the Stumble’s reactions to Magic talking to Dallas.
Magic was a funny, caring MC just trying her best. The way she went out of her way to make those around her feel supported was nice to see. I did find some of the food parts a little weird as Magic turned to food for comfort, but sometimes it read more as a bit to show how far from cheerleading material she was than actually having a purpose in the story.
Overall, I would recommend this book for a hopeful read with good characters.
*Thank you to the publisher and HOV for the ARC. All opinions are my own*
Where to Buy
Erika J. Kendrick is an acclaimed author, national speaker, and mental fitness junkie. She earned a psychology degree from Stanford University and an MBA in marketing and international business from the University of Illinois. Erika was an NBA cheerleader for the Chicago Bulls before writing her novel, Confessions of a Rookie Cheerleader (Random House, 2007). She penned Appetite (Random House, 2009), and The Accidental Escort (Cleis Press, 2010) shortly after. The celebrated author is currently finishing her memoir and touring nationally.
Instagram | Website