Squad was part of my holiday gift exchange last year. I was tempted to sink my teeth into it right away, but things just got in the way. I started it about a week or so ago, and while I cannot say it is the first graphic novel that took me that long (or longer) to read, it was one that really took some time.
This is not necessarily because it was OMG SO GOOD! Or even “deep and thoughtful” but because it is paced fairly slow. It is almost as if you are reading Maggie Tokuda-Hall’s book in “real time.” You see the everyday and the little things. Yet, this does not take away from anything. This slower, interestingly placed action is what is needed to get across the points of the story.
To think an upfront story of werewolves and the not so mischievous antics of giving boys who deserve it, what they deserve would have a message might not be your first thought, but it does give a life lesson (and not just make sure you don’t leave bloody sneakers or a whole body to be found). It is not just about friendship, relationships, and fitting in, this allegorical teen horror beach read is about coming into your own. It is a metaphor for discipline, the trials of being a teen, coming out to yourself and your mom (literally). It is about the struggles we face and the hunger we all have (and not just for human hearts).
There is nudity and graphic images of kill scenes included but not gratuitously presented. However, the first time a kill was shown, I was a little taken back. I have seen worse, but there was something about it that was startling. It was then I noticed how red was used in these and the everyday scenes. Lisa Sterle’s contributions probably give more foreshadowing than one will realize at first.
While the images are not JUMP OFF THE PAGE, they get the job done, keeping with the tone, and helping keep the thrill in thriller going.
I would not feel comfortable recommending to under 12, but even then, it might be a 13-14 and up read. As most books, know your audience.