Their Vicious Games

S. & S. Jul. 2023. 416p. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9781665922425.
Gr 10 Up–As one of the few Black students (and, by far, the poorest) at her prestigious prep school, Adina has always had to work twice as hard to achieve success. So when a bathroom brawl with one of her classmates results in her acceptance to Yale being rescinded, Adina seemingly has no options after graduation. Her only opportunity to restore the future that she had dreamed of is to win the Finish, an annual competition for young ladies of quality given by the incredibly wealthy and powerful Remington family. But when Adina arrives at the Finish and realizes it is actually a viciously deadly battle for a Remington son’s hand in marriage, she discovers that she is fighting not just for her academic dreams, but for her very life. Wellington’s debut novel is a scathing satire against the uber rich. A genre-bender that is part thriller, part horror, and part contemporary fiction with a splash of romance, this is a truly unique and creative story that teens will be unable to put down. The characters are nuanced and grow throughout the story, and the fast-paced action will keep teens guessing at what new horror might be just around the corner. But it’s the commentary on extreme wealth alongside subtle and outright racism and classism, that ensure that this story is not only relevant and timely but also one that will stick with readers long after the book’s dramatic final confrontation.
VERDICT Unhinged violence abounds, so this is recommended for high school collections.

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