Title: The Stranger Game
Author: Cylin Busby
Series: No Series
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Published: October 25th, 2016
Rating: ★★★★★ (5 out of 5)
I thought I had the story figure out before I started reading. But then Busby created two narrators who are entirely unreliable and everything I thought would happen changed. I was so thrown off for a majority of the novel, with my mind trying to come up with new answers as my theories were proven wrong.The summary of The Stranger Game from Goodreads:
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. . . .
What I Liked:
Let me tell you something. suspense can be hard to create. There has to be an air of mystery, but not unbelievability. You have to balance creating possibilities without making too many possible solutions. It’s difficult and not many people can pull it off completely.
Cylin Busby pulled it off. Most of the story is told from Nico’s point of view with occasional parts from Sarah’s perspective. For Nico, losing her sister was one of the worst times of her life, and yet her life managed to get better. Her sister was no longer there to torment her, she wasn’t always being belittled for every little thing she did and didn’t do. So when the sister she believed was dead is found alive, her life becomes even more upended.
This Sarah is nothing like the one that disappeared. She’s kind and tries to include Nico in her life more. She doesn’t remember much from her life, including what happened when she went missing. She doesn’t remember how she treated her friends and family. It’s like Nico gets to have the sister she’s always wanted. The one that’s kind and wants to be her sister, instead of being forced to be her sister.
It’s clear that there’s more to the story than Sarah and Nico are letting on. Something else has happened between them and that little bit of information made their interactions even more interesting.
I really don’t want to say too much and give away the ending. You need to read it for yourself and go in blind to do it.
What I Didn’t Like:
The story started a little slow, but then it picked up. It wasn’t enough of a slow start to knock my review down a star.
I’d Recommend To:
This is one of the better young adult suspense novels I’ve read. If you like suspence and guessing until the very end, I think you’ll enjoy this book.
You can purchase The Stranger Game here:
Thank you to Edelweiss and Balzer + Bray for an advanced copy of the novel in exchange for an honest review.