Debbie's World of Books
My book reviews, book news & random rants

The Game by Monica Hughes

November 9th, 2010 by Debbie's World of Books

Source: Requested from the publisher for review

Publication date: Reprinted October 5, 2010

Publisher: Simon Pulse

I give this book 3 out of 5 stars

Description from the publisher: The Game is just the beginning…


It’s the year 2154. Lisse and her friends have been deemed unemployable in the eyes of society. Now they must scavenge the disintegrating city for food and shelter, just to make ends meet.
But their dismal existence starts to look up when Lisse and her friends are invited to participate in The Game, an experience highly regarded in their society. The Game is a virtual reality experience where they are challenged to survive. But as they spend more time in The Game, the line between reality and fantasy starts to blur. What started as a simple exercise quickly becomes a test of endurance, trust, and their will to live.

This book sounded so great in the premise but I think the execution was a little lacking.  Despite that it was an enjoyable read but does not top my list of favorite dystopias.

The Characters

The characters in the book were my main issue with the story.  There is not much build up of any of the characters.  You know what area of studies they focused on in school and that some of them were more physically aggressive while others are more passive but you never really get deep into who they are and what makes them tick.  Even the main character, Lisse, is rather flat and alternates between being whiny and sounding much older than her actual age.

The Story line

I really enjoyed the world Hughes built.  Robots have become so advanced that they are taking over the all the jobs of human beings thus increasing the number of these “unemployables”.  Living in a world like that is not so unbelievable and you have to wonder what would life be like in that situation?  We have already seen how people are laid off as machines become more sophisticated and can be more efficient and accurate at certain jobs that their human counterparts.  Right now we have unemployment but what will happen as that number rises?

A warning here is that to enjoy this story you really have to suspend belief and go with the flow.  These young men and women behave so much older than they are and I find it hard to believe even in the extreme situation they found themselves in that they would behave in that manner.  They also utilize skills they learned in school in ways I cannot imagine normal youngsters would be able to do so without any practical experience or the mentor-ship of someone more experienced.

I cannot go much more into my favorite parts of the plot without giving away spoilers but if you go into this book with an open mind it is an enjoyable read.

Posted in 3 Star Books, Books, Dystopia, Young Adult

3 Responses

  1. Pam

    Sounds interesting if not totally unique. I find, often with dystopian YA that the voices seem a lot older than they are. Although, I recently spent time with a cousin who is still in high school and the voices, if not always the actions, tend to be a little bit older than I remember. I think YA’s sometimes tend to act a little bit more mature (sometimes!) than their older counter parts…of course, sometimes, they don’t…;O)

  2. Kelly B

    Great review. I am so glad you clearly covered what you liked and did not. Thanks!

  3. dsuzuki

    Pam-I can see what you are saying. I guess the parts that amazed me was these kids were right out of school and yet they were able to figure out how to make clay and a kiln to create pottery or other things like that.
    Thanks Kelly!

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