Review: Squad by Maggie Tokuda-Hall

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Title: Squad
Author: Maggie Tokuda-Hall (Illustrator: Lisa, Sterle)
Publisher: Greenwillow Books (HarperCollins)
Release Date: October 5th, 2021
Page Length: 224
Genre: Fantasy | Graphic Novel
Age Range: YA
Rep: LGBTQIA+ (Sapphic), Black, Asian
Rating: 4⭐

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Pretty Little Liars meets Teen Wolf in this fast-paced, sharply funny, and patriarchy-smashing graphic novel from author Maggie Tokuda-Hall and artist Lisa Sterle. When the new girl is invited to join her high school’s most popular clique, she can’t believe her luck—and she can’t believe their secret, either: they’re werewolves. Fans of Mariko Tamaki and Elana K. Arnold will devour the snappy dialogue, vivid artwork, and timely social commentary.

When Becca transfers to a high school in an elite San Francisco suburb, she’s worried she’s not going to fit in. To her surprise, she’s immediately adopted by the most popular girls in school. At first glance, Marley, Arianna, and Mandy are perfect. But at a party under a full moon, Becca learns that they also have a big secret.

Becca’s new friends are werewolves. Their prey? Slimy boys who take advantage of unsuspecting girls. Eager to be accepted, Becca allows her friends to turn her into a werewolf, and finally, for the first time in her life, she feels like she truly belongs.

But things get complicated when Arianna’s predatory boyfriend is killed, and the cops begin searching for a serial killer. As their pack begins to buckle under the pressure—and their moral high ground gets muddier and muddier—Becca realizes that she might have feelings for one of her new best friends.

Lisa Sterle’s stylish illustrations paired with Maggie Tokuda-Hall’s sharp writing make Squad a fun, haunting, and fast-paced thriller that will resonate with fans of Riverdale, and with readers of This Savage SongLumberjanes, and Paper Girls.

Thoughts

Thanks to Edelweiss and Greenwillow Books for providing me with an eARC in exchange for an honest review.

This was exactly what I was hoping it to be. I immediately connected with the characters, finding them both fun and imperfect. They act like authentic teenagers but what an eclectic group of characters. I loved all the characters actually, despite how much I normally can’t stand that character type. Our main character, Becca, is shy and thinks she’s awkward; then there’s Marley who is the sweetest person ever and I just want to give her all the hugs; next, there’s Mandy (prefers Amanda) who wants better leadership; and lastly the pack leader, Arianna – just picture how you expect Arianna Grande to act and that’s what you get.

The relationship between the girls, both individually and as a pack, felt realistic. Once again I found Becca to be most relatable – shy, crushes, and just wanting to belong. She has different types of relationships with the three girls and I loved seeing that dynamic shown in the story.

I absolutely loved the art style. It had a retro vibe, which went perfectly with the tone of the graphic novel. I found the character designs to be expressive and unique. I loved the fashion that Sterle put each character in. I’m planning on working through Sterle’s backlist now and will read anything she illustrates for!

This was a fun, paranormal read – absolutely perfect for October/Halloween and perfect for someone who doesn’t like to be scared. The synopsis says it’s Pretty Little Liars meets Teen Wolf and I can see that – but it screamed Mean Girls to me! So I would 100% recommend you read this if you’re a fan of any of those.

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