Dangerous Play

­OrangeSky Audio. Aug. 2021. 940p. $19.99. ISBN 9781664991743.
Gr 9 Up–Junior Zoe Alamandar is captain of the field hockey team with one goal: to get to the New York State Championship, where she can get scouted and obtain a college scholarship to play on a top-ranked team. However, the teen’s plan is derailed when she and other teammates are sexually assaulted by other athletes at school. Her reaction is visceral. Zoe and her teammates take the matter into their own hands and become vigilantes for the cause, attempting to stop other girls from being assaulted by the same group of boys. The author has drawn a parallel between the passion in the games and the fierceness the girls have to protect others. The imagery used to describe the games is competitive and exciting. However, once the girls take their plan too far, it feels like revenge, which may not be the intended message. The author has carefully made sure not to make all high school boys villains and all high school girls victims as she depicts male characters in positive and negative light. If a character is sketchy at best, narrator Rachel Jacobs captures it in her voice making the reader dislike the character, too. Jacobs vacillates easily between characters and illustrates fear, power, and frustration. The girls depicted in the novel seem to cross a variety of ethnic groups according to the cover of the book.
VERDICT Recommended. The perfect book to read alongside Laurie Halse Anderson’s Speak.

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