Professional reviews are all well and good, and I’m happy to share ’em with you folks, but there’s a special place in my black, dead heart for reviews from the actual teens who read my books.
Recently, my publisher got some teens together and asked their opinions on Game. Here’s what they had to say:
Game was thrilling, suspenseful and I would find myself holding my breath at times. Billy Dent is back as vicious as ever and Lyga manages to make him one of the scariest YA villains I have ever encountered. This book was definitely gorier than the first. Parts from Billy’s POV, detailed descriptions of murders and victims all contribute to a sense of paranoia present throughout the entire novel, always reminding the reader of the enemy. The writing style reminds me of that of James Patterson, very engaging and fast-paced. The story was very complex with a motley of characters and plot twists. I loved the relationship between [SPOILER REDACTED]. The murders were never predictable and Game stayed away from the cliched plotlines that plague many YA suspense/thriller novels. I’m so glad that the development of the characters was not sacrificed for the sake of the storyline. Jazz is fantastic. He reminded me of Harry Potter in that there was always conflict and doubt going on in his mind about himself, whether he was indeed his dad, a ”killer who hasn’t killed yet”. He is multi-layered, believable and I really got invested in him in “I Hunt Killers” and continue to be. I also loved Connie. For a love interest, she was not annoying and did not play to any prescribed archetypes of what a side-kick, a “strong female”or a minority should be. The cliffhanger with her at the end of the novel kills me (how punny). This sequel is just as strong as “I Hunt Killers” and I am pining for the next one.
-Jenny G, 17
It seems that I have a penchant for starting a series halfway through. I read the Fox Chronicles, the second novel in the Jenna Fox Chronicles before I read the first (and finally the last). Now, I’m reading Barry Lyga’s Game (Little, Brown; April 2013), which is the second book in what has to be at least a trilogy.
In Game, Jazz is heading to New York. He’s the son of history’s most notorious serial killer, Billy Dent, and to prove that he’s not like his father, Jazz is helping the NYPD solve a murder that even the NYPD can’t handle. However, Billy Dent is on the loose and the New York case is a little more than dead bodies strewn around the city in grotesque positions–it’s a game (hence the novel’s title) and Jazz is a game piece.
Truth be told, I read Game shortly after I went to New York for fun and I was freaked out. Game is a thriller and it’s a creepy thriller. Every couple of pages, I thought “WTF?!”, scared. For a while, I was afraid of going back to New York (the book portrays New York like it’s crawling with murderers and crimes that are about to happen). Hell, I’m afraid of knives in sinks now because of Game.
I don’t like horror movies. I get scared easily and horror movies do nothing to alleviate my problem. However, Game is different. I get scared but I’m motivated to continue reading. Barry Lyga definitely knows how weave multiple story lines successfully to creep the reader out and keep the pace fast enough so that the reader wants to read more.
Game by Barry Lyga is a blood-gushing, heart-pumping sequel to I Hunt Killers! Jazz and Connie go up to New York to investigate a string of murders! This one is definitely worth the read if you liked the first!
Even though I haven’t read the first book, this was fantastic! The fact that I did not read the prequel was no matter; everything was explained. I enjoy mysteries and this was definitely one of the best I have ever read. I cannot wait for the next book. I recommended this to a couple of friends and they also agree with me. This book was chilling and I could not put it down.
-Tarek Meah, 14
I didn’t think I would like I Hunt Killers as much as I did, so I really couldn’t wait for the sequel! It was so worth the wait! Only now the wait will be so much longer for the third book. It took a little more time to get through the gore in this one but the suspense to see what happened just made me muscle through it. And I thought that I would have the next part figured out but Barry Lyga just completely changed it at the last moment. I also love Jazz, Howie, and Connie together. I think they have such a great friendship that really makes this series for me. Honestly, I just can’t wait for the third book to come out and see where the cliffhangers end!