cover image We Are the Wildcats

We Are the Wildcats

Siobhan Vivian. Simon & Schuster, $18.99 (352p) ISBN 978-1-5344-3990-0

Uncontested champions until suffering a humiliating loss at state finals, the West Essex High School girls’ field hockey team faces a new season, and the anger of its once-revered coach, who seems determined to punish them for their failure. In the 24 hours leading up to the team’s first scrimmage, the desperate coach tries to control the trajectory of events as six Wildcats share their love of field hockey, their hopes for their team and themselves, and their fears that they don’t belong on the lauded team. As their first team-bonding sleepover unfolds, the girls grow increasingly desperate to prove their dedication while hiding secrets that could ruin more than just their season. Using alternating third-person perspectives and meticulously unfolding the night’s events hour by hour, Siobhan (Stay Sweet) conveys both the evening’s significance to the team’s culture and the importance of protecting their secrets while staying loyal to team and coach. While the girls’ stories culminate in a satisfactory climax, indistinct voices result in lengthy chapters that blend together, slowing what should be a gripping story of how this team’s integrity, loyalty, and honor challenge a toxic coach’s controlling tactics. Ages 14–up. [em]Agent: Emily van Beek, Folio Jr./Folio Literary. (Mar.) [/em]