FICTION

The Game

Random. (Underlined Paperbacks). Aug. 2020. 240p. pap. $9.99. ISBN 9780593179789.
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Gr 6-8–Lia Prince is average in every way: middling grades, no notable extracurriculars, acquaintances but only one good friend, and even an unrequited crush. Lia’s mediocrity is even more glaring in comparison to her older brother, the clear favorite of her parents, who is now away at college. Games are the one thing at which Lia excels so she is determined to win Assassins, a not-so-secret game in which participating seniors of Lincoln High are assigned targets to dispatch with water guns by a mysterious council. But Lia may not be as invisible as she thinks—her classmates begin to die around her and someone is clearly trying to frame her for murder. Unfortunately, much like the main character Lia, the novel is underwhelming. A tinge of Agatha Christie’s The A.B.C. Murders isn’t enough to make up for flat characters, a lagging pace, choppy dialogue and descriptions, and an easily solvable mystery. There are some moments of humor and romance that shine and murder mystery enthusiasts may be impressed with the varied methods of slaying, but the highlight of the story is an LGBTQ+ character who never feels pressed to explain their they/them pronouns.
VERDICT A whodunnit that doesn’t reach its full potential.

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