The Stranger Game by Cylin Busby
Publication Date: October 25, 2016 by Balzer + Bray
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
[Special thanks to the publisher for the review copy!]
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…
I didn’t expect to finish this book in one day given my very busy schedule.
The Darkest Lie by Pintip Dunn crossed my mind upon reading the first chapters of The Stranger Game. I thought they had very similar themes, but that’s not exactly the case.
The moment I found out that the book is told in alternating POVs, I couldn’t stop reading. I needed answers.
As Nico tried to verify Sarah’s identity, I tried to find clues. To fill the gaps. I knew I wasn’t seeing the whole picture. But the moment the truth was revealed, I had to pause for a while and think.
Wait, is this really happening?
I had to reread some parts to confirm what I understand. It shook me, and that’s not normal. But I eventually reached the point when it became clear, and I had to pause again.
The Stranger Game is suspenseful and fast-paced. It wakes up your critical mind. But best of all, this book challenges what it truly means to belong in a family. Relationships are put to the test, and only those anchored in love will survive.
Final Rating: 4/5