Cheer! by Kate Torgovnick
Inside the Secret World of College Cheerleaders

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Think cheerleading is just pom-poms, "gimme an 'R,'" and pleated skirts? Not anymore. Take an exhilarating trip through the rough-and-tumble world of competitive college cheerleading....

College cheerleaders are extreme athletes who fly thirty feet in the air, build pyramids in which a single slip can send ten people crashing to the ground, and compete in National Championships that are won by hundredths of a point. Cheer! is a year-long odyssey into their universe, following three squads from tryouts to Nationals.

Meet the Stephen F. Austin Lumberjack cheerleaders from Nacogdoches, Texas, who seem destined to win their fifth National Championship in a row -- until they are shaken by the departure of their longtime coach. Fall in love with the Southern University Jaguars from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, an African-American team hoping to raise the $17,000 needed to travel to Nationals and transform their near win several years ago into a Cinderella victory. Root for the University of Memphis All-Girl cheerleaders from Tennessee -- a team that continually struggles for the same respect Coed teams get -- when their quest for a national title is threatened by injuries and dropouts.

Along the way, meet unforgettable characters like Sierra, a cheerleading prodigy who has never lost a competition; Doug, who is in his eighth year as a college cheerleader; and Casi, one of the few female bases who can lift another cheerleader on her own. These are people who risk horrifying injuries on a daily basis, battle demons like eating disorders and steroid use, and form intense bonds.

In the immersive tradition of Friday Night Lights, Cheer! is a captivating, all-access journey into a deeply absorbing world.

About Kate Torgovnick

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Kate Torgovnick is a former associate writer/editor at Jane magazine. She writes about extreme athletes for The New York Times and her articles have also appeared in Newsweek, The International Herald Tribune, and The Daily News (New York). She grew up in Durham, North Carolina, and now lives in New York City.
Published March 11, 2008 by Touchstone. 388 pages
Genres: Political & Social Sciences, Sports & Outdoors. Non-fiction

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Austin University, Southern University and the University of Memphis through the trials and tribulations of tryouts, the 2006-07 football season and finally the NCAA Nationals competitions.

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Entertainment Weekly

(2008) Fans of Bring It On will find much to cheer about in Kate Torgovnick's meticulously reported account of the often-mocked but fascinating world of cheerleading.… 2008-03-11 Kate Torgovnick ...

Mar 25 2008 | Read Full Review of Cheer!: Inside the Secret Wor...

USA Today

If you're interested in the inner workings of sports obsession mothers hiring hit men to bump off the mothers of competing cheerleaders, as happened in Texas in 1991, an incident Torgovnick mentions in her introduction then this is the book for you.

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(Plus, the girl bases support hundreds of pounds of teammates in pyramids and all sorts of other moves, so they’ve got my respect.) We follow the teams through try-outs and spirit camp, where old and new team members try to mesh as a team, and on through their bid to make it to Nationals, and t...

Mar 14 2010 | Read Full Review of Cheer!: Inside the Secret Wor...

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