The Marvelous

Feiwel & Friends/Swoon Reads. Jun. 2021. 336p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781250192691.
Gr 8 Up–Jewel van Hanen, elusive creator of the popular Golden Rule app (think TikTok, but with longer, diary-style videos), has returned from a yearlong absence with an exciting announcement. She is inviting four lucky Golden Rule users to spend an exclusive weekend at her expansive estate. When the players arrive, instead of a weekend of luxury, they find themselves in a grueling competition that pits them against each other and leaves several on the brink of insanity. Readers will be on the edge of their seat to see who wins the $500,000 prize—and as the challenges grow ever more horrifying, if it’s worth what it takes to win it. Though Kann builds anticipation throughout the novel, the ending is a bit of a letdown. This fast-paced story utilizes frequent perspective changes among three narrators, which may be confusing for some readers, especially when trying to reconcile characters with their oft-referenced Golden Rule personas. The three narrators and Jewel are Black and the story includes queer representation.
VERDICT With a premise that’s a mixture of Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One and Jennifer Lynn Barnes’s The Inheritance Games, this will be an easy sell to readers looking for a suspenseful story.

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