Squad by maggie tokuda-Hall
Illustrated by Lisa Sterle
New girl Becca worries about making friends in her new town and new high school in Richmond, a suburb of San Francisco. When she saves the day for popular Marley, she's brought into the circle of the most popular girls in school. Becca soon discovers the secret to this tight-knit group: Marley, Arianna, and Mandy are werewolves, and they prey on skeezy boys who use unscrupulous means to seduce girls at parties. They bring Becca into the fold, and there are a lot of rules to being part of the squad. At one party, Becca goes too far with her super-human strength, and her actions jeopardize the entire pack. The FBI get involved in trying to solve the various murders in the Bay Area, and the solid moral rules the pack had in place start to crumble.
There is a lot to unpack in this story, as Tokuda-Hall touches on so many topics with these four werewolf girls. There is the mother-daughter relationship between Becca and her mom, which is complicated like many teen relationships are. The girls are their own version of an answer to rape-culture and toxic masculinity as those are the only victims of their werewolf appetites. There's also the exploration of personal identity, not just as supernatural creatures, but who they're attracted to. The story is very fast-paced, which will probably appeal to younger readers who will devour this book, but it was a bit of a detraction for me. I would have liked to see a little more time spent on major plot points, reveals, or traumatic events. Sometimes, these received a full-page splash illustration and then it was over.
Sterle's illustrations captured some aspects of the popular teen media, like Archie and Disney movies with beautifully bright colors and lovely details. The characters are cutely designed until they transform into detailed, snarly werewolves. The illustrations in this volume are gorgeous and immersive, and really bring the essence of the story to life.
Sara's Rating: 8/10
Suitability Level: Grades 9-12
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Publication Date: October 5, 2021
ISBN: 9780062943149 (Paperback)
Tags: Rating: 8/10, Suitability: High School, Graphic Fiction, Supernatural, Friendship, School Life, Greenwillow Books
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I've been reading manga and comicbooks for years. Now, I write reviews and other helpful things for School Librarians, teachers, parents, and students.
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