Their Vicious Games

Their Vicious Games
Age Range
Release Date
July 25, 2023
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“A brutally honest and haunting cautionary tale…exposing the lie that is meritocracy and the unrelenting toll that being a final girl takes. A bloody tale spun masterfully…a dark delight.” —Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé, New York Times bestselling author of Ace of Spades

A Black teen desperate to regain her Ivy League acceptance enters an elite competition only to discover the stakes aren’t just high, they’re deadly, in this “spine-chilling thriller” (Publishers Weekly).

You must work twice as hard to get half as much.

Adina Walker has known this the entire time she’s been on scholarship at the prestigious Edgewater Academy—a school for the rich (and mostly white) upper class of New England. It’s why she works so hard to be perfect and above reproach, no matter what she must force beneath the surface. Even one slip can cost you everything.

And it does. One fight, one moment of lost control, leaves Adina blacklisted from her top choice Ivy League college and any other. Her only chance to regain the future she’s sacrificed everything for is the Finish, a high-stakes contest sponsored by Edgewater’s founding family in which twelve young, ambitious women with exceptional promise are selected to compete in three mysterious events: the Ride, the Raid, and the Royale. The winner will be granted entry into the fold of the Remington family, whose wealth and power can open any door.

But when she arrives at the Finish, Adina quickly gets the feeling that something isn’t quite right with both the Remingtons and her fellow competitors, and soon it becomes clear that this larger-than-life prize can only come at an even greater cost. Because the Finish’s stakes aren’t just make or break…they’re life and death.

Adina knows the deck is stacked against her—it always has been—so maybe the only way to survive their vicious games is for her to change the rules.

Editor review

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This was a thrilling read from start to finish. Great for fans of The Bachelor who want a deadly twist for their guilty reading pleasure. Adina Walker has always been careful around her rich white peers who attended Edgewater Academy. The color of her skin and her background as a scholarship student from suburbia means she has never had the casual power that her peers have enjoyed. She is smart and hard-working and has her whole future perfectly aligned until a jealous former friend, Esme, uses her power to see that Adina loses her shiny future.
She has one chance left. The Remington family are the main benefactors for Edgewater Academy and they host a contest at the end of each graduating class for a few select girls to enter. The winner who proves she is smarter and more poised than the rest can open any door to the future with Remington’s full support. Adina sees her chance and makes out with the Remington heir, Pierce, to ensure her spot in the contest.
The moment she arrives at the opulent mansion isolated in the country and turns in her phone; Adina realizes this contest is not what she expected. Most years this is just a contest, but on the year that a Remington heir graduates, the contest becomes very bloody to win the hand in the marriage of the heir. Adina does not even want to marry Pierce, but armed guards at all exits means it is too late to back out now.
This book has action, suspense, murder, and heart-stopping tasks that Adina has not prepared for like her counterparts. Saint becomes the only one she can trust because she is also an outsider. The older brother, Graham, is unexpectedly helpful. Adina cannot help having feelings for him. I love that she sees through the veneer of the rich and realizes that while the Remingtons all speak a good game, they still aren’t stopping the murders and are the ones orchestrating the chaos. She may like some of them but this is not a love story and she is no simpering damsel. She is in distress though and her cleverness and finding the core of what she is willing to do is the only chance she has to survive.
Adina’s character is utterly compelling. She is normal in a situation that is not normal. She doesn’t want to become a killer and she does not want to die. This contest strips away civilized behavior and begs the question- what wouldn’t you do to survive?
This was a page-turning exciting read. Fans of the Hunger Games, Thieves Gambit, and the TV show, The Bachelor, are in for a treat with this book. It incorporates themes of racism, classism, justice, and moral dilemmas for a realistic context in a fantastical situation.

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