Author: Emily Horner
Publication Date: June 10, 2010
Genre: YA Realistic Fiction/GLTB
Copy provided by: Around the World Tours
Summary (via Goodreads):
For months, Cass Meyer has heard her best friend Julia, a wannabe Broadway composer, whispering about a top-secret project. Then Julia is killed in a sudden car accident, and while Cass is still reeling from her death, Julia’s boyfriend and her other drama friends make it their mission to bring to fruition the nearly-completed secret project: a musical about an orphaned ninja princess entitled Totally Sweet Ninja Death Squad.
Cass isn’t one of the drama people. She doesn’t feel at home with Julia’s drama friends, and she doesn’t see a place for her in the play. Things only get worse when she finds out that Heather Galloway, the girl who made her miserable all through middle school, has been cast as the ninja princess.
Cass can’t take a summer of swallowing her pride and painting sets, so she decides to follow her original plan for a cross-country road trip with Julia. Even if she has a touring bicycle instead of a driver’s license, and even if Julia’s ashes are coming along in Tupperware.
Totally Sweet Ninja Death Squad is a story about friendship. About love. About traveling a thousand miles just to find yourself. About making peace with the past, and making sense of it. And it’s a story about the bloodiest high school musical one quiet suburb has ever seen.
Why I read this: It's a debut, it deals with musicals and it sounded great.
Plot: Definitely a great one. Cass didn't feel connected to her other friends once Julia died. She was the connection to her and the group of drama geeks they hung out with. The book alternates back and forth between when she is back, helping put on the musical and dealing with the presence of Heather - a girl who was mean to her ever since middle school, and then her road trip over the summer where she traveled by bike, trying to get to California on her own.
I really liked the plot, with the romance between two friends and then two strangers. Definitely a book I'd recommend to those looking for GLBT books.
Characters: I really liked Cass. I know what's it's like to be the friend who is unlike the rest of the friends. She felt so real - she was full of emotions and confusion and yet she still stubbornly did what she felt right. Cass was both weak and strong and just proves how human, how real an author can make a character.
Heather - well she's a different story. Like Cass, it took me a while to warm up to her. I felt like I was living through Cass in the book and I have to attribute that to the outstanding writing behind this novel. Heather was the unexpected character - trying to stop her old ways and struggling, but in the end - ending up a good person for Cass to be around.
And all the other characters - were hilarious and great. I love how they gave Cass the space she needed while still making her know they wanted her around. Everything about this book just felt so right.
Relatability: Like I said earlier, I really felt like I was Cass while reading this book. I felt like the author just drew her out so well with her words that you could even gauge what she would react to and how and I really related to her character.
Cover Commentary: It works for the book. Can't say I *love* it, but I can see where it really shows what the book is about.
Rating: 5/5 Roses
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