Book Talk: Cheerleaders from Planet X

Posted September 8, 2017 by Lynn E. O'Connacht in Books, Other People's Creations / 0 Comments

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Book Talk: Cheerleaders from Planet XCheerleaders from Planet X by Lyssa Chiavari
Pages: 272

Aliens are among us. And humanity’s only hope just happens to carry pom-poms.

Laura Clark thought she was just your average college freshman—until the day she saw a cheerleader on a skateboard get into a superhuman brawl with a lightning-wielding stranger in a trenchcoat. And the weirdest thing of all? Nobody else saw it happen. Nobody, that is, except the beautiful but standoffish Shailene, one of the mysterious (and possibly super-powered) cheerleaders from Laura’s rival school, Bayview University.

When girls start disappearing all over the City, Laura suddenly realizes that she may have seen more than she should. And if she wants to keep from disappearing herself, she needs to find some answers. But though Laura can’t shake the feeling that they’re somehow connected, Shailene is more than a little reluctant to share her secrets. With strange, bug-like creatures and a sinister man in a dark coat stalking her every step, Laura will have to uncover the truth fast if she wants to survive.

The fate of the planet just might hang in the balance.

Also by this author: Seven Years among Dragons, Fourth World

Disclaimer: I received an eARC for review by the author and I’m acquainted with the author, seeing as how we’re both members of The Kraken Collective. I have done my best to present an honest and unbiased review.

CN: Homophobia.

After reading Seven Years among Dragons by Lyssa Chiavari, I was looking forward to reading more of her work and I have to say I wasn’t disappointed in the least. I picked up Cheerleaders from Planet X, Lyssa’s upcoming novel, expecting to just get a start and to read it over the course of a few days as time allowed. I may have read through the whole book in pretty much one sitting because that’s how much of a blast I had reading the story.

Barring some pet peeves – it’s in first person in exactly the way I hate it most, it’s a bit too reliant on current comic references for my tastes and there’s a scene partway through that just doesn’t work for me, but it’d be a massive spoiler to really explain which one; suffice to say I can see it working really well for other readers, but it just didn’t for me – I really, really liked this story and I hope that there’s a sequel that’s being planned because while the story ends on a perfectly satisfactory note the overall narrative also clearly isn’t over and I would love to see more of this world.

Cheerleaders from Planet X is almost non-stop action once the action gets going. It stars Laura, a freshman in college who can see things other people apparently can’t. As is the case when she spots a pair of cheerleaders fighting a mysterious man in a black coat on top of a train moving at high speed. Laura quickly finds herself embroiled with a secret government agency dedicated to helping to rehabilitate alien abductees and teaching them to control the new powers they’ve been left with.

The cheerleaders Laura has encountered are part of an elite team dedicated to defending the Earth from an alien invasion. But what does Laura’s father have to do with this secret agency? What strange powers does Laura herself have to allow her to perceive things ordinary humans don’t? And why does Shailene, a cheerleader she’s never met before (and is crushing on pretty hard), seem so incredibly familiar?

This is a story that once it starts with its narrative twists, doesn’t stop twisting and surprising you until you reach the end. It’s a delight to see Lyssa play with some of the alien abductee and other SFF tropes the way that this story does. The romance between Laura and Shailene is adorably sweet and I actually really liked how the story handled the sense of deja-vu.

But, more than anything, what I loved about this story was how much it centred Laura and Laura’s choices. I read this pretty much back-to-back with another female-led narrative where the girls have agency  and I was just blown away by the difference between the books. There, the girls’ agency still felt very reactive and restricted to what the plot would allow, but Cheerleaders from Planet X just felt like the only thing driving the plot in the direction it did was Laura’s actions, her own choices and decisions. That’s some fantastic writing right there and I adored it.

I really, really, really enjoyed this novel and I’m so glad I got a chance to read it now. 😀 Definitely recommended.

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