Saturday, October 22, 2016

ARC Review: The Stranger Game by Cylin Busby

The Stranger Game
Author: Cylin Busby
Publication: Balzer + Bray (October 25, 2016)

Description: The Stranger Game is a dark, suspenseful, and twisty novel that is Gone Girl for teens. Perfect for fans of Lauren Oliver and E. Lockhart.

When Nico Morris’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, when 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. . . .

My Thoughts: This is a story about a girl coming home after disappearing for four years. Nico Morris's older sister Sarah disappeared when Sarah was eleven. It was a devastating event for the whole family. Nico's mother became an advocate for missing children; her father buried himself in work; and Nico grew used to people looking at her as the "girl whose sister disappeared." Her best friend is someone she met after Sarah was gone.

There have been countless leads over the years, suspected sightings that turned out to be false alarms. This time a girl walks into a children's shelter in Florida and says her name is Sarah Morris. Nico, her mom and dad fly to Florida to get her and bring her home. But this Sarah is greatly changed. She has amnesia but is a much nicer version than the Sarah who tormented Nico when she was a child with both verbal and physical taunts. The two become good friends and Nico is especially glad that her family is now whole again.

This story is mainly told from Nico's point of view but with some chapters where we learn Sarah's story. I suspected early on what was going on in this story based on what Sarah was telling in her story.

I found the story to be thought-provoking as I wondered if I would make the same choice that Nico makes. Readers will enjoy debating her choices.

Favorite Quote:
Her eyes met mine and I knew. Of course she had noticed the differences, all the strange little things that didn't add up. But Sarah was back now, the black hole in our family had been filled. And that was all that mattered. 
I received this eARC from the publisher through Edelweiss. You can buy your copy here.


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