Books, Read + Review, Teen Reviews

Read + Review: These Deadly Games by Diana Urban

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Crystal and her eSports team are getting ready to play a massive MortalDusk tournament, and the stakes are high. Without the prize money, Crystal’s family will be forced to move in with her Grandmother in Maine. Her team is competing to decide which five of them will be able to play, and Crystal’s suspicions about her friend Zoey cheating are clouding the team dynamic. But all her issues soon seem insignificant when she receives a message from a strange app showing her sister, Caelyn, bound to a chair and kidnapped. She’s forced to play this captor’s deadly games, picking off her friends one by one in order to keep her sister from harm. She’s brimming with suspicion, as this could be someone trying to take her team out of the tournament or it could be about something more sinister; a deadly secret that her friends have kept for years. She’s determined to discover this person’s identity and save her sister before everything goes down in flames.

The main character Zoey was well written and wasn’t shown as a perfect person. She had flaws which made her more relatable and developed her relationships with other characters. The plot was engaging and there were quite a few twists that really tied the story together. It’s woven together in a way that the clues are subtly there, but when the mystery is revealed it’s astonishing to see how much you may not have picked up on. There are multiple storylines occurring simultaneously: the game Crystal is forced to play, the tournament, and her past, which means that something is always going on. Overall, this book was thrilling and kept me on my toes trying to put the puzzle together.

These Deadly Games is written in an alternating timeline with the present and five years prior. It’s describing the incident that all her friends have been keeping in wraps for years. It was memorable because it showed how the characters changed over time and the secret’s significance came into play later on.

Reviewed by Nainika, Twin Hickory Library

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