Saturday, May 28, 2011
The Julian Game
G.P. Putnam's Sons, 2010
I originally wrote this book off because of the weird cover-what the heck is up with the wig and the gloves?! But after reading Small Review's championing of the story inside and that the cover relates, I decided that I would give it a chance.
At first it seemed to be going on a pretty routine path with new, smart, scholarship girl Raye being drawn into the games played by popular girl with a cruel streak Ella, falling for the hottie Julian, and ignoring her heretofore best friend Natalya. That is actually about the first half of the book but then it veered off in a different direction, surprising and pleasing me.
Despite the short length, there was a lot packed in here with vivid characterizations of the four characters I mentioned plus family members and other students making memorable impressions. I almost wish the book was longer so that I could have spent more time with Raye. However I appreciate Griffin for having a story to tell, telling it very well, and then stopping instead of inflating the page count with needless exposition. The story within is to the point and packs a wallop.
That story deals largely with bullying and cyber pranks within a high school context, a highly relevant topic. But it is never preachy here and is often laced with humor that helped get me into the story. Also despite the short length, I did not fly through this book because there was so much to savor and think about.