Author: L. B. Schulman| Website
Publication Date: October 1st, 2012
Publisher: Amulet Books
My Interest: ARC giveaway, October Thriller Read
Age Group | Genre: YA | Realism – Contemporary, Thriller, Mystery
I discovered League of Strays on Goodreads months ago and added it to the TBR pile honestly excited to *hopefully* pick it up this year. Then, thanks to ARCyling, I received it as my first advanced reader copy. I had planned to post this review the day the book came out (10/1) but things happen. Never fear, it’s the perfect read for any time this October.
When Charlotte moves across the country, her fear of becoming an outcast at her new school is doubled when the Tiffany Miller follows her there. Having been bullied by Tiffany since middle school, Charlotte finds it ironic that Tiffany ends up moving to a military base right outside her new town –at the same time she moves–putting them in the same school once again. So when Charlotte receives a mysterious note inviting her to join the League of Strays, she finds hope that maybe she will make friends after all.
But instead of friends, Charlotte walks into a group of loners and the mysterious leader, Kade. His idea is that they ban together for friendship–and revenge on those who have bullied them in the past. As Charlotte falls deeper into the League of Strays and deeper in love with the manipulative Kade, she realizes his bigger plan might just be more dangerous then he lets on. But will she believe her conscious when it warns her that someone might end up dangerously hurt?
I am always–always– up for a good thriller, especially at this time of the year, and League of Strays did not disappoint me. As far as plot goes, I found this novel to be very reminiscent of a few other YA thrillers I read in high school and thoroughly enjoyed. Schulman’s ideas were well planned out, and in fact, I was a little surprised at the end. I throught that with some of the plot lines going on, my guess at the ending would be too obvious. However, the ending road Schulman chose turned out to be surprising because it was exactly what I thought she wouldn’t do. So, I enjoyed the BANG even if it was too easy to guess because the way she portrayed it really cemented the characters.
Kade is a well written psychopath, and his manipulative ways honestly creeped me out. I’m not saying I know anyone like him… but I can easily see how he slowly manipulated his followers. He’s cunning and he knows what he wants his end results to be. Those are two dangerous qualities to place in the hands of a capable, psychopathic teenage boy.
Charlotte wasn’t the greatest heroine in my book because I felt like she was a pushover at times. Granted, high school girls are still going through developmental issues and the need to fit in is often high on their priority list. But the way Charlotte fell for Kade so quickly and gave up her passions so easily really annoyed me.
I felt that Charlotte was made out to be the strong, passionate girl at first, but the minute Kade is in her life, all of those qualities go out the window. Granted, he is very manipulative and she desperately wants to fit in, but I felt that Charlotte should have realized there was a time to say no before getting in too deep or she should have at least sought help earlier. Perhaps I read myself into the character and willed her to make the choices I would have made. Either way, there were times when Charlotte realized the truth, “Kade. Always telling me what to do. And me, always doing it,” but she never acted on it. To be a strong heroine in my book, you have to act on your gut instincts. And Charlotte didn’t until it was almost too late.
Despite her whims, I think League of Strays would be book club worthy because there is so much to pull out of this novel, especially if the book club is for teens. I would not necessarily teach this novel, but I would recommend it to someone struggling to fit in because their morals and values don’t quite match up to the “it kids.”
If you like this, you might like….
Killing Mr. Griffin by Lois Duncan
Shattering Glass by Gail Giles
[for ratings system, please check out my Bookshelf]