Hello, hello! It’s been a short while and it feels supremely weird to return NOW, of all the times to return, but I’m trying to strictly focus on the positives in the world right now and so!!!
I’m here on its blog tour with S&S and will talk WE ARE THE WILDCATS by Siobhan Vivian, which releases in a couple of days.
A toxic coach finds himself outplayed by the high school girls on his team in this deeply suspenseful novel, which unspools over twenty-four hours through six diverse perspectives.
Tomorrow, the Wildcat varsity field hockey squad will play the first game of their new season. But at tonight’s team sleepover, the girls are all about forging the bonds of trust, loyalty, and friendship necessary to win.
Everything hinges on the midnight initiation ceremony—a beloved tradition and the only facet of being a Wildcat that the girls control. Until now.
Coach—a handsome former college player revered and feared in equal measure—changes the plan and spins his team on a new adventure. One where they take a rival team’s mascot for a joyride, crash a party in their pajamas, break into the high school for the perfect picture.
But as the girls slip out of their comfort zone, so do some long-held secrets. And just how far they’re willing to go for their team takes them all—especially Coach—by surprise.
A testament to the strength and resilience of modern teenage girls, We Are the Wildcats will have readers cheering.
Books that span a single day are always fascinating to me because they tend to introduce heavy problems with the implicit promise to (usually) sort it out by the end of said 24 hours, and the sheer suspense of knowing THAT is enough to propel me through the pages. In that sense, WE ARE THE WILDCATS is no different.
It’s such a little ambitious coil of a story, and hats off to its challenging, boundary-pushing attitude.
To keep my focused, I’m bringing out The List of Things Nina-Tala Likes, and without further ado ….
Field hockey itself:
To answer the question that immediately popped into my head before reading: No, you don’t need to know anything about hockey to enjoy WE ARE THE WILDCATS. I personally know nothing about field hockey and was a little worried that, for a story so steeped in it, I would have to come in with at least some background knowledge or be left in the dust, and let me tell you, I am SUPER grateful that Vivian doesn’t assume you’re on the same playing field and explains what should be obvious but isn’t. Because of that, the constant thread of devotion running throughout the entirety of WE ARE THE WILDCATS feels authentic.
The juggling of six (!) perspectives:
The transitions between the whopping 6 POV’s is a neat and seamless one. Once you get used to the switching, each chapter ends on a note that you could predict which girl will pick it up next, and in that sense, it felt like they were actually each passing at the end and intercepting at the beginning.
The exploration of how different people are susceptible to different kinds of psychological manipulation — and how that looks like:
There’s a sinister undertone to the fun, playful nature of this book, and it’s something the synopsis tells you straight away. While I do think it would’ve been stronger to have that be a subtle, accumulating thing that culminates in a big reveal towards the end, I nonetheless respect how the set-up for such a showdown was executed. Whether it’s a shy newbie, a confident senior, a fiercely assertive and competitive player — they are all vulnerable in their own way, and the alternating layering of justifying backstory and present-day manipulated state showed us what the book promised to show us without being preachily non-subtle.
Overall? If you want more fiercely competitive and caring girls, a 24-hour revenge plot, and/or subtle exploration of psychological manipulation and how to begin to untangle it, then I have just the book for you.
Thank you to Simon & Schuster for the review copy!
, SAME DIFFERENCE, and A LITTLE FRIENDLY ADVICE. She also co-wrote BURN FOR BURN series with her best friend JENNY HAN. She currently lives in Pittsburgh.