I received this book from TLC Book Tours in exchange for my review. “One game. Six students. Five survivors. It was only ever meant to be a game played by six best friends in their first year at Oxford University; a game of consequences, silly forfeits, and childish dares. But then the game changed: the stakes grew higher and the dares more personal and more humiliating, finally evolving into a vicious struggle with unpredictable and tragic results. Now, 14 years later, the remaining players must meet again for the final round. Who knows better than your best friends what would break you?”
This book alternates between two perspectives – the first, told in first person, takes place in the present in New York City. One member of the original group of friends lives secluded in an apartment, inside a haze of pills and alcohol, trying to cope with the past and the threat of having to start playing “the game” again after 14 years. The second perspective is told in the third person, with this narrator understanding the multiple viewpoints of the 6 friends who started this game 14 years ago in university. Through both perspectives, the reader comes to understand just what this game entailed – a series of challenges used by the friends to embarrass each other, with the tasks they must complete becoming increasingly more difficult and personal as the game continues.
I found the story to be layered and complex, as were the characters involved. As the book goes on, more is learned about both the game and the players, their connection with one another, and the way the game ended 14 years ago, as well as what the remaining friends are doing in the present time. If you would like to read the first two chapters of the book, you can do so on the author’s website. There are also some fun goodies there, such as a crossword puzzle, a soundtrack, and the author’s explanation of the title of the book – something I was curious about myself.
I recommend this book for fans of psychological thrillers – though the book is definitely not scary, it is certainly psychologically interesting!