Tag, You’re Dead

Sourcebooks/Fire. Dec. 2023. 304p. pap. $11.99. ISBN 9781728278889.
Gr 9 Up–Super-famous teen streamer and influencer Anton organizes a massive, high-tech game of tag in London with a £100,000 prize. This fast-moving thriller rotates between the first-person perspectives of three handpicked contestants, each with a different reason for entering—Grayson plans to avenge ex-girlfriend Rose, one of Anton’s collaborator “Accomplices” who was found dead in his swimming pool; Charlotte, a massive Anton fan (she writes fanfiction under the username AntonsGirlXOXO) and stepsister of another Accomplice, wants to date him; and Erin, the daughter of an influencer, wants the prize money to escape the social media spotlight. Descriptions of the game are exhilarating as GPS-enabled wristbands randomly designate participants as runners and chasers and smart glasses enhance it all. But then the tech gets hacked, and an AI version of Rose takes over, saying she was murdered and revealing suspects one by one. This Rose forces a core group to play her warped game, abducting Anton to ensure cooperation, as what happened that fateful night she died is slowly unraveled, and readers learn more about each character and their motivations, including Charlotte’s stepbrother Matthew and his girlfriend Beatrix, Anton’s fiercely loyal younger sister. The characters are multi-layered and well-developed, and unhealthy relationships—familial, romantic, parasocial—abound. Overall, it’s creepy and mysterious in the best ways, as Foxfield propels the novel forward over the course of one night.
VERDICT Truly unputdownable. Readers who enjoy books like Lauren Oliver’s Panic and anything by Karen M. McManus will devour this one.

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