Dec 27, 2016
Title: The Stranger Game
Author: Cylin Busby
Publisher: Balzer & Bray
Overall: 4 out of 5 stars
The Stranger Game is a dark, suspenseful, and twisty young adult novel—perfect for fans of Lauren Oliver and E. Lockhart—about fifteen-year-old Nico Walker, whose sister returns home after a four-year disappearance.
When Nico Walker’s older sister mysteriously disappears, her parents, family, and friends are devastated. But Nico can never admit what she herself feels: relief at finally being free of Sarah’s daily cruelties.
Then the best and worst thing happens: four years later, after dozens of false leads, Sarah is found.
But this girl is much changed from the one Nico knew. She’s thin and drawn, where Sarah had been golden and athletic; timid and unsure, instead of brash and competitive; and strangest of all, sweet and kind, when she had once been mean and abusive. Sarah’s retrograde amnesia has caused her to forget almost everything about her life, from small things like the plots of her favorite books and her tennis game to the more critical—where she’s been the last four years and what happened at the park on the fateful day she vanished. Despite the happy ending, the dark details of that day continue to haunt Nico, and it becomes clear that more than one person knows the true story of what happened to Sarah. . . .
Well this book was just an odd one. Its really more of a psychological thriller, I did predict what most readers will probably consider the “big reveal” but I really enjoyed the execution and the ending isn’t typical given the type of book it is. The writing style was really sparse, and let me kind of fill in the blanks which really works with this type of novel. It made the book feel tense and dark even though really most of the book isn’t.
The characters were deep thinkers, and I liked the interaction between Sarah and Nico in this book. Nico had this whole damaged vibe that really pulled me in. She wasn’t the daughter that went missing, but she was the forgotten unimportant one. It is totally mind boggling to me how prevalent this parent/child relationship in fiction is, and I always feel for the “lesser” sibling.
The fact that the Sarah that came back was such a different person was actually really nice because I already kind of hated her just from being in Nico’s head. I spent most of the book really trying to see how she could become completely different. In the end of course it is explained, and I really think that in this case the winners were the entire family. The entire family gained so much from having Sarah come back, and it actually made for a very family oriented book. I would give it 4 out of 5 stars and it would be perfect for people who love mysteries and thrillers.
**Please Note: This review is my honest opinion and I did not receive monetary compensation from it.**
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“I floated there, eyes closed, feeling my hair swirl weightless around my face, until I couldn’t hold my breath any longer. Is this what it was like for her?”