I liked both of the main characters, Heather and Dodge. They had secrets, and reasons why they were entering the games, on why they needed the money. Both of their families have their own backstories and play into the reasons they are playing and want to win. They are both sisters as well, and I loved the individual bonds, and how they grew and changed through the story.
The games though really shocked me. What they planned and the extremely dangerous element to them. They went over the previous years' deaths and that made me think that there was an even higher risk to this year's game. I think that these types of stunts though are def not out of character of a small town summer with nothing for the teens to do. I do think that the planning system and that everyone pays into the pot is kinda unrealistic, but I went with it for the sake of the story.
It was def high adventure and had me scared for what my characters might face next as the group of players gets smaller and smaller. It had me glued to the pages, and I read it quickly, but I don't think this will be one that sticks with me and I think about after, hence the 3.5
I think that Heather really grew and learned a lot through the games as well as through the things that she had to deal with at home. I love the side plot with the lady she gets a job with Anne. Anne has a farm of sorts and rescues animals and hires Heather to help her. The bond that they form is special and I appreciated reading about it and how it developed.
The ending worked out pretty well and matched what I expected from the book. It wrapped things up and even gave up a glimpse at the near future of the characters.
Bottom Line: Fast paced and demanded my attention while reading.