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Squad - Book Review

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by Marisa Quinn-Haisu (subscribe)
My name is Marisa. I am a fiction writer, a blogger, and a freelance journalist.
Published November 30th 2021
A feminist horror novel good enough to sink your teeth into
Squad, Maggie Tokuda-Hall, Lisa Sterle, Graphic Novel, Review
Maggie Tokuda-Hall & Lisa Sterle. Greenwillow Books.

Squad is a young adult graphic novel that was written by Maggie Tokuda-Hall and illustrated by Lisa Sterle. It is 224 pages long and was published by Greenwillow Books on 5 October 2021. It is suitable for teenagers between 14 and 17 years of age. Maggie Tokuda-Hall is an award-winning author of young adult books and children's picture books who lives in Oakland, California. Lisa Sterle is an illustrator and artist based in Ohio. Her work spans from comic books, to concept design, to pop-culture illustrations.

Squad is a fast-paced feminist horror story that follows a teenage girl named Becca who transfers to a new high school and immediately gets invited to join the school's most popular group of girls, a clique known as The Squad. Becca can't believe her luck at first. She had been worried that she wasn't going to fit in at her new school. When she is offered a chance to join the Squad, she is stunned. She's never been part of a group before and never been one of the cool kids. Becca is so eager to belong, she lets her new friends tell her how to dress and act so she will fit in among the group. Later, Becca learns that her friends have a secret. They are werewolves who like to hunt and eat boys who take advantage of girls at parties. Desperate to belong, Becca agrees to join their pack and lets her friends turn her into a werewolf. For a while, things seem perfect. Becca feels strong and powerful and like she really belongs. But then, things start to get morally complicated, and Becca develops feelings for one of her best friends. Will she stay in the Squad or will she choose a different path?

I found Squad to be a riveting, wildly entertaining book. It is both a coming-of-age story and a revenge fantasy that rebels against the patriarchy and rape culture and provides an interesting critique of white feminism and queer love. Squad has received rave reviews since its release. It was nominated as Young Adult Book of the Month on Amazon and was awarded the Young Adult Golden Poppy Award. Interest in the book has been so high the movie rights were subject to an eight-way bidding war between interested parties before the book was even released. Picturestart and Lionsgate Television picked up the rights and will team together to adapt Squad into a motion-picture film.

In an interview with Datebook, Maggie Tokuda-Hall spoke about the book and her thoughts on feminism, the patriarchy and rape culture. She wanted to write a story that reflected on the experiences she had attending a very white, privileged high school and the rape culture that she witnessed there. When she was a kid there was little understanding of what the word "consent" meant and boys frequently used alcohol at parties as an excuse to exhibit predatory behaviour towards vulnerable girls. Her goal with Squad was to write a fun, revenge fantasy, as a form of escapism. What I liked about the book is while it does take a big bite out of the patriarchy, it also makes a point that each of the girls in the Squad is a bad person, and that their actions are morally questionable.
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Why? Squad is a LGBTQ-themed horror graphic novel about a group of teenage girl werewolves who hunt and eat sexual predators
Cost: $25 - $35
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