The Cheerleader

The Cheerleader

by Ruth Doan MacDougall


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First published in 1973 and 1974 by Putnam and Bantam, The Cheerleader was a Book-of-the-Month Club selection, optioned by Twentieth Century-Fox, made into an NBC sitcom pilot, and became a best-seller beloved by generations of readers.

The reprint of this classic coming-of-age novel features a foreword by English professor Ann V. Norton, who writes, "As Snowy grows in mind and heart, she realizes she must develop her own self. That this realization happens in a small town in the 1950s to a cheerleader, symbol of a girl's simultaneous success and subordination, makes it all the more powerful. The Cheerleader transcends its setting to portray a young person's timeless yearning for a full and satisfying life."

Snowy, a sequel to The Cheerleader , has recently been rereleased by Frigate Books.

Fans have designed a website devoted to Ruth Doan MacDougall's work.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780966335279
Publisher: Frigate Books
Publication date: 05/01/2012
Pages: 288
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.10(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Ruth Doan MacDougall lives in New Hampshire, where she was born and grew up. Her novels include The Snowy Series: THE CHEERLEADER and its sequels. She also updates her father’s hiking books. She is the recipient of the New Hampshire Writers’ Project’s Lifetime Achievement Award.

Read an Excerpt

The dance had begun. The gym was darkened now, and sawdust-wax had been sprinkled on the floor, but the smell of hot sweat from the basketball game still lingered. Down the darkness echoed record-player music.

Henrietta Snow, known as Snowy, stood with another of the JV cheerleaders in the doorway. She was fifteen years old. She wore dungarees and her white cheerleading blouse, its collar turned up and its starch softened, and she wore her long dark-blond hair brushed into a ponytail that looked like an upside-down question mark. She said, "How disgusting!"

But Jean Pond, who was known as Puddles and also known for saying out loud what everyone else was thinking, said, "Maybe we should've been bawling in there, too. Maybe it's our last game, too."

Snowy felt sharply sick. "Shut up," she said. "Please shut up." She glanced at her left hand, where today's date had been stamped by the boy at the desk outside the gym. March 4, the stamp said clearly. Soon it would begin to smudge. March 4, 1955.

The JV cheerleaders had changed out of their uniforms during the Varsity game. They couldn't take showers; the visiting basketball team was using the girls' locker room, and they changed in the girls' gym office and clogged their sweat with Cashmere Bouquet talcum powder. So they had no real excuse for being in the gym office again after the Varsity game, but sensing drama, they all had wandered back. They were rewarded. The last basketball game of the year, and the Varsity cheerleaders were weeping, hugging each other, sobbing. There were six seniors on the Varsity squad; they wept for the end of glory. And the two juniors, who would be Varsity cheerleaders again next year and probably co-captains, wept partly for the end of this squad but mostly because they were expected to. The JV's sympathized, and the JV captain, a senior, burst into tears, and so did the twin who was very emotional. The gym office was a little room jammed with megaphones, lockers, the gym teachers' desks, square-dancing records, basketballs, volleyballs, and a bulletin board of game schedules, clippings, and jokes. A full-length mirror reflected the clinging group of girls, the Varsity in short green jumpers, the JV's in their dungarees and white blouses, Snowy standing wide-eyed watching.

Now in the gym the record player sang: "Earth angel, earth angel,/Will you be mine?/My darling dear,/Love you all the time."

"Well," Snowy said, and she and Puddles strolled casually over to the bleachers, but they didn't sit down because this would make them seem too obviously waiting for somebody to ask them to dance. They stood half-turned from the dance floor, as if they didn't care, as if they were on the brink of dashing off to something far more exciting. There was, however, nothing in their world more exciting than this.

The gym, in the basement of the main school building, was a sunken place, deeper than the basement classrooms surrounding it on three sides. The indoor windows high above were observation posts where kids out in the corridor would lean to watch gym classes or cheerleaders practicing or games or dances. A deep dark-brown sunken place.

But to Snowy, it was where love might find her.

What People are Saying About This

Alix Kates Shulman

Read it if you can bear to remember it.
—(Alix Kates Shulman, author of Memoirs of an Ex-Prom Queen)

Ralph Keyes

Painfully authentic…Ruth Doan MacDougall's Cheerleader captures as well as any book I've read the feeling of being in high school.
—(Ralph Keyes)

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The Cheerleader 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
The book the cheerleader was outstanding! Showing snowy in high school life with Tom Bev and Puddles on her side. This book will make you want to read Book 2 and 3. i can't wait to read Book 3. this book is really amazing!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Although I grew up in the 70s and my daughter in the first years of the new millenium, we both loved The Cheerleader and both of us found lots to relate to. I guess the high school experience doesn't change much.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I am a high school senior and I just finished The Cheerleader.Never before have I read a book that captures the ups and downs of friendship,love,and sex during high school as this novel does.Although the story takes place in the 1950s,the themes are still very true today.I sincerely believe readers 15 and older will be able to identify with Snowy's quest to establish her own values and goals as she learns who she really is.And Snowy's relationship with Tom is so painfully realistic that I teared up remembering my first love.Snowy,Puddles,Bev and the rest of the Gang are real characters with real concerns that teenagers today have.Anyone in high school or college or anyone who grew up in the 50s will love this book.I can't wait to read the sequels!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I first read the Cheerleader in 1977. couldnt put it down. I have read it many many times sense and every time is like the first.This book holds your interst. You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll feel every word. so glad I found this book agin.Cant wait for it to get here so I can read it many more times.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I love this book (The Cheerleader) I read it as a teenager and was looking for it for my daughters to read. I am so excited to find out there is a sequel! This book seems so real. You will not be able to put it down. It will stay with you and you will want to read it again and again!!!!!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
'The Cheerleader' is definitely the best book i have ever read. I have never read a book that has me thinking about it sooo much after I finished reading it. Tom, Snowy, Bev, and Puddles were just like real people to me. I could picture them in my mind. And the way it ended just had me thinking about it over and over. Then I read it again and again. It is a wonderful thing to read a book like 'the cheerleader' i recommend it to everyone. And me being a cheerleader made it an even better book!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I loved this book. One day in the library I was just searching for cheerleading and this came up so i put a hold on it. When it came i read and and couldnt put it down. I loed this book. It is one of my all time favorites. I heard there was as equal and put a hold on it at the library. It took a few months for it to finally come but it was worth it. I was sad when it ended cause I wanted to keep reading. I loved this book and i know you will too. read it! :) -Jenny
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was thrilled to find this book in print again. I read it as a teen-ager and still love this book. I was also able to find the Sequel on a search for out of print books. It would be great if the sequel was also put back into print. I highly recommed both books. My two teen-age daughters also loved it.