By: Stephanie Perry Moore
Publisher: Darby Creek Publishing
Publication Date: January 2015
Reviewed by: Deb Fowler
Review Date: May 1, 2015
Probably everyone at Jackson High had issues, but Willow Dean seemed to have more than most. Well, perhaps she didn’t have any more issues than the other girls who had ended up on the infamous Swoop list. All the girls who were on that list were “considered easy” and when it was posted, the entire school knew about it. They got mad, furious, upset, cried, and didn’t know what to do until Ms. Davis, their guidance counselor, helped them help themselves. The unlikely band of girls, Willow, Olive, Octavia, Pia, and Sanaa began to fight back against “the bullies, haters, and wannabes” who were determined to put them down.
Willow was going to have a slumber party at her house, a great place for them to talk about things and just have fun. It was a great time to bond even further, a bond that was growing deeper with each crisis one of them had. Pia was still emotionally distraught after the abortion, thinking that she was a murderer. Olive had been betrayed by her boyfriend, Tiger, and was somehow having feelings for Charles, her foster brother. They all had issues, but there was a secret the others were keeping from Willow, that “could blow their friendship up” for good.
Being on the dance team had been her life, but once they had discovered that she was fast and loose, they wanted no part of her. No way was Willow being forced out of something she loved by Hillary, who was probably jealous of her in the first place. Sanaa was “calm-spirited” and certainly wasn’t going to tell her and neither would Octavia who was a shy doormat at best. None of the girls wanted to hurt Willow so the fact that there was a petition with a whopping 200 signatures on it demanding she leave the team was a secret that wasn’t going to leak. Harboring a secret was one thing, but when shots rang out in the halls of Jackson High, things would get serious!
This is yet another tale about the Swoop girls young readers will love. Willow, who is a bold and brassy girl, doubts very much that anyone can hurt her with the support of her new-found friends. The support that Sanaa, Olive, Octavia, and Pia have for her is strong, but is rocked by the fact she’s been deceived ... in a good and loving way. In this, the second in “The Swoop List” series, we watch as the group begins to bond and care for one another. The main theme lies in the sentence, “they can label us, but we must embrace the label, swoop in, and clean up our lives.” They, like many young women, need to learn to change their own thinking, begin to believe in themselves, and move forward.
Quill says: This is a very short tale that will appeal to the reluctant reader, but also a book that can be read and discussed in a classroom setting.