I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley and am voluntarily posting a review. All opinions are my own.
I’m a sucker for a solid revenge-themed thriller, and The Revenge Game fits the bill perfectly. And the way it tackles serious topics, like the rape culture in elite academic settings and how the rich and powerful inevitably are protected, including an interrogation of the prevalence of the “promising young man” archetype in praise of alleged assailants (evoking creepy reminders of the coverage of the Brock Turner case, among others). Even before I fully knew the turn the story would take, I already loved the way the story set this up, opening with the first of several interstitial mixed-media interviews and news articles, discussing the missing rich white boy’s alleged perfection.
Alyson is a compelling heroine to follow, because she treads the line between being fiercely feminist and a hopeless romantic. She loves romance novels, and is very much susceptible to the romantic attentions of someone she’s also interested in. But while she does let that cloud her judgment, she also navigates the question of whether her boyfriend, Riggs, truly is “not like other guys” throughout the book. With critical distance from him as the reader, it’s somewhat easy to see that he’s a bit too good to be true, but I also couldn’t help but hold out hope that he was indeed genuine, and not pulling some long con.
In that regard, the story proceeded somewhat predictably, but it was no less gutting when the reveal happened, because of how invested I was in Alyson’s happiness, not to mention just the callous nature of the reveal. And while the “revenge” didn’t go as far as I initially thought it would, I feel the book was effective in showing that the point wasn’t to exact any real vengeance, especially if it would jeopardize the promising futures Alyson and the other girls could have. And in that respect, I appreciate that the ending wound up resolving the wider systemic issue at the school, creating a safer environment not just for them, but for future students.
One aspect I find myself confused about is the resolution for Alyson’s relationship with her friend Jess. They have a solid friendship throughout the book, and I didn’t think too much about them being anything more than that. But all of a sudden, when someone mistakes them as a couple at the end, suddenly they look at each other differently for the first time, and Alyson even says, “The thought just hit me.” I know it might be realistic for teens to fall in love fast, and given Alyson’s history, it does track, but given how long she’s know Jess, it just felt like it came out of nowhere, and I wanted a little more buildup, or just slight acknowledgment, from at least one of them!
Minor quibble aside, I really respect what this book is trying to do. I recommend this if you’re into feminist thrillers, especially those with a high school setting.
Alyson is a student at an elite prep school. She is a romantic at heart and loves reading romance novels. Her love life is essentially nonexistence until she catches the eye of Brenton Riggs Jr. Riggs as he is known as is the typical rich, popular, good looking jock on campus. Alyson finds herself quickly falling for Riggs. He says and does all the right things. The school merging from a girls only to a coed school might just make this the best year yet of Alyson's life.
While on a school camping trip the girls discover that the boys are playing Kings Cup. A game that goes back to the 1980s. In an attempt to get back at the boys they devise their own game and call if Queens Cup.
The story is told via newspaper clippings, interviews, flashbacks and the current time line. The story is seamless however it's quite easy to figure out the players and their games. Then ending seems rather abrupt and not exactly how I would have liked it to end but it's fitting.
This book could be triggering for some when it come sexual explicit material and rape.
Thank you to NetGalley, author Jordyn Taylor, and Delacorte Press for providing me with a free ARC in exchange for my honest opinion!
Would I have enjoyed this at 16? Probably. Did I enjoy this at 25? No lol. Normally, I don't let that affect my ratings or opinions, but I do think that in this case, it is linked to the actual book itself. I liked the overall idea of girls getting revenge on their horrible boyfriends, and I enjoyed the boarding school setting. I also liked the sex-positivity for teenage girls written throughout! However, that was about it for my enjoyment. I couldn't get over Alyson as a character. I got so tired of reading about how she was this "revenge leader" who had it out for all of her friends being treated badly but had SUCH a blind spot for her own boyfriend. She ignored many red flags, but the worst part was that she would start fights with her friends if they tried to point them out to her and would also be super judgmental about them. I didn't think this was a healthy portrayal at all, and I got tired of the repetition. I also HATED the ending, as *spoiler alert*, it made NO sense for Jess and Alyson to KISS??? The stereotype of women becoming lesbians after bad experiences with men is already horrible and prevalent enough that it doesn't need to be perpetuated as the ending of a modern, supposedly "feminist" book for teenage girls. It wasn't believable and felt super out of place and odd. I also didn't like that there was one comment on Alyson being Jewish at the very beginning and then it was never mentioned again. It felt like the author was just adding that to be more "diverse" instead of genuinely writing about diverse things. All these issues add up, and ultimately, I can't recommend this book.
I really liked this book. I basically read it in one day because I needed to know what happened. Sure, the MC is sorta naive and extra but I liked how they came up with a way to get the guys back instead of just being helpless. Sort of could tell the way things would go but I didn’t see the connection that came at the end. That sort of felt like it came out of nowhere. Not sure if there was any deeper bond shown through out the story (Trying to avoid spoilers) This was a good book that I would definitely tell others to check out.
Thanks to NetGalley and the Publisher for the arc.
Alyson is a romantic at heart and head over heels when she connects with Brenton Riggs Jr. Everything seems great, until Alyson uncovers the King’s Cup competition that the boys at their boarding school are secretly holding. The winner will be the guy who racks up the most points by hooking up with the unsuspecting female population of the school. Alyson is rightfully offended for her sex and the Queen’s Cup is born.
The Revenge Game is a YA mystery with a strong feminist message. I enjoyed most of the characters in this book and found this super easy to read, but there was something missing for me. Something about the whole revenge plot and the King’s/Queen’s Cups came off as childish to me. Maybe I am too far past my high school days now that I don’t connect with this type of audience anymore. I really liked the idea behind the revenge ideas, but I also wasn’t a fan of how they were executed sometimes. Just because one person is bad, doesn’t mean they all are, whether it be male or female, but I feel like that’s what this book was saying. Anyway, with all of that aside, this was an enjoyable, quick read that will probably be perfect for a lot of people. There wasn’t all that much mystery, but there were good message intertwined in the story. If you are a YA fan and this seems interesting to you, it’s definitely worth a read!
Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for an ARC of this book!
Fun and exciting read! Great for more mature readers. Unique storytelling with flashbacks, current events, and news inserts. The characters are realistic and unique, definitely a surprise ending, even though the "who dun it" part is quickly solvable.
This fast-paced feminist thriller centers around romance enthusiast Alyson amidst the merging of her all-girl's private school with an all-boy's private school. After a summer of trying (and failing) to win the affections of a coworker, Alyson sees this merge as a desperate opportunity (emphasis on desperate) to live out the romance novels she loves to read.
I appreciated how Taylor addresses subjects like feminism, LGBTQIA+ inclusivity, sex positivity and consent while also driving forward the plot. There is a lot of time-hopping between each chapter; while Taylor addresses the fast-forward by dropping details, I found it a little hard to follow/the time jumps resulting in a choppy plot.
TRG was a fast-paced read, and definitely one I would recommend to my students as this is right up many of their alleys (romance, mystery), but as an adult I found myself becoming very frustrated with the nativity of the protagonist.
lyson is bit of an insecure girl, she loves reading and reads lots of romance books. It’s safe to say she’s a hopeless romantic. Now that her all girl private school is fusing with an all boys private school she is stoked about being around boys more and desperate to experience the things she’s been reading about.
I really enjoyed reading this books. It was a light read while also dealing with serious topics like sexism, feminism, insecurities as a teenager, setting boundaries and opening up about difficult situations.
The story has a dual timeline, one from right after the fusion and one from a few months ahead when someone from the school has gone missing after prom.
As the story evolves it becomes more and more clear how that missing case ties to Alyson and the schools merging.
It’s fast paced and the mystery elements will keep you engaged to the story from the beginning till the end.
I really liked Alyson as a maincharacter. I liked how she wasn’t mainstream, how she is a bit of a nerd and above all a hopeless romantic. Her yearning for a romantic life felt quite endearing. I remember having the same thoughts as a teenager and I think a lot of people will be able to resonate with her.
Alyson isn’t naive however, she is aware of how boys (especially around that age) can be and doesn’t want to be taken advantage of. I love how being desperate for romance doesn’t equal tolerating everything and just having boys walk all over you. Alyson is aware of her selfworth and where her boundaries lie and they aren’t up for negotiation.
The side characters remain a bit flat, there’s not really much that makes them stand out. I do feel like that was appropriate for the story, the focus is on Alyson and on girls in general sticking up for themselves and creating a bond of sisterhood.
All in all I can really recommend this book. It’s a great read and especially if you like contemporary, mystery, high school setting and/or stories about feminism you’ll have a great time reading this.
This book wasn’t as predictable as I thought it would be. A good mix of mystery, teenage angsty romance. More of a mature YA book. I definitely liked the characters and thought this would not be one that I wouldn’t really enjoy but I’m glad I really did!
Such a good book! Glad I had the opportunity to read this teen fiction book. It reminded me of Mean Girls when I looked at the cover of the book. I know I shouldn't judge a book by it's cover but I knew I would enjoy this one. My usual type of genre and style of writing to read. I highly recommend this book !!
The Revenge Game was a fun little YA thriller that had me turning pages as quickly as possible until the very end. It was a cross between This May End Badly and Do Revenge. It’s based at a boarding school in Upstate New York where its boys versus girls in a battle of manipulation and humiliation. In the recently combined all-boys Sullivan School and the all-girls Stewart Academy, the female population is excited by the attention they’re receiving from the boys that they used to rarely socialize with. And junior Alyson, a hopeless romantic, is thrilled to be asked out by the most popular and good-looking guy on the lacrosse team, Riggs. But when the girls learn of a nefarious and disgusting game played by the boys every school year, the King’s Cup, they form their own competition, the Queen’s Cup, where they publicly humiliate each one of the boys in retaliation for the games they play with the girls. Caught in the middle, between her love for Riggs, who she is convinced is the rare good guy, and her loyalty to her fellow female friends and classmates, Alyson convinces herself that she’s doing a good thing by supporting the Queen’s Cup while also defending her relationship with Riggs. The chapters covering the months from the start of the fall semester to the spring formal are interspersed with media coverage excerpts post-formal where Riggs has gone missing during a massive snowstorm, so the tension is ramped up the entire book as we learn more and more about what happens leading up to the event while wondering what’s really happened.
Good premise, but fell very flat to me. Pretty predictable, and a little "icky" at times given the ages of the characters. While I'm aware that older teens often engage in sexual activity, the book was just a bit more graphic than I cared for.
Thank you to NetGalley, Random House Children's, and Delacorte Press for an ARC in exchange for my honest opinion.
This book just didn't do it for me. When I read the blurb, I was so excited to grab it up. But, our FMC is a boy-crazy, juvenile individual whose dialogue just makes me cringe. I mean, she really didn't see any of those red flags waving proudly? The scenes from Riggs' "disappearance" were good and made me want to keep reading, but the parts with Alyson, made me want to quit.
It's a decent read, but not for me.
I really enjoyed this book. The characters were fun and the story line didn't feel overly predictable. The ending did kind of throw me off because it seemed to come out of nowhere to add another layer of diversity or something.
I loved the story premise of girls getting back at boys for a sexist game but it didn't quite live up to what I was expecting. I enjoyed the voice although it felt a little more juvenile than what I anticipated, especially considering the sexual subject matter. The revelation at the end about Riggs was predictable and I kept wondering if maybe I'd be wrong but I wasn't. The mystery of what happened to him was intriguing and the final reveal was satisfying. I was a little disappointed in the hint of a romance between her best friend as I felt that was contrived and unnecessary.
A hopeless romantic soon finds herself in the middle of a terrible game: King's Cup, in which boys track points of how far they can go with girls.... so she invents Queen's Cup to get revenge, the only problem is she's not sure whether or not her new boyfriend is participating in the game. Alyson is a hopeless romantic, some might call her desperate, for a boyfriend. When she is rescued at a party by her handsome new english partner, she think's its a sign that her luck is changing. Riggs is everything she could ever want, a hot lacrosse captain who is not only sweet but the perfect boyfriend. The only problem is that she's stumbled upon a sexist game that the boys in her school have been playing, a game called King's Cup, in which boys tally and track points to see who has the most sexual prowess. Alyson and some other girls come up with a game of their own, Queen's Cup in which the girls will reclaim their power. Yet the longer the game goes on the more Alyson begins to question her relationship with Riggs. Is he just playing her or is he actually a good boyfriend? This was a bit of a hard one to get into for me. It was a young adult feminist mystery but it just kind of fell flat for me. I wasn't that invested in Alyson as a protagonist and the mystery was meh at best. Honestly, it just didn't live up to the potential that I thought it could have had and it just felt a bit juvenile and one dimensional with the bad guys. Overall, it just wasn't for me unfortunately.
*Thanks Netgalley and Random House Children's, Delacorte Press for sending me an arc in exchange for an honest review*
The Revenge Game follows main character, Jess and her group of friends as they navigate dating life at their boarding school which just merged with an all boys school. However, the boys are up to something nasty and the girls decide to take them down.
While I found some of the plot very juvenile, I did enjoy this story. So many horrible things happen at this high school that I do think readers should be aware of content warnings. Overall, this book kept my attention and was a quick, easy read. I definitely look forward to more from Jordyn Taylor!
Wow, Kids are cruel!!!! I thought I read it all when it comes to teens and their world, but this one book was just awesome. The genre is a very mixed, we have a boarding school, amazing young women, first love, heartbreak, and then some. Alyson wants to be a romance writer when she gets older, so she has this obsession with wanting to be in love and being chosen, she meets Riggs when they get paired up for a class, and they seemed like a perfect match. Then there is this Kings Cup thing going around between the boys in the school keeping score, and the girls are not about it, the way they come together to do their own version of Kings Cup for revenge?? I was all for it. I am all for girl power, and the support the girls give to eachother, even when Aly soon discovers that the boy of her dreams isn’t who he seems, and her best friend Jess is literally the best type of friend everyone should have.
There are topics as that can be triggering to some readers and at times was so sad to read, but I loved the suspense that the author does give us throughout the book. But the GIRL POWER representation is all over this book though!!!! UGH adored this book so much.
I honestly flew thru this book! Wow! It was so good! I absolutely loved the strong, female characters. They weren’t always “at their best”, but this made it realistic and showed their growth as teens. This is a YA book, but it didn’t feel “too young” at all! I absolutely loved it. This feels like an important story to get out there about the complications that can arise when teens do “teenage things” without fully thinking them out. I really enjoyed it and would gladly read additional books in a series like this if the author ended up doing that! Please make sure to check trigger warnings before reading this book. Big thanks to @netgalley , @randomhousechildrens , @delacortepress and especially author @jordynhtaylor for allowing me to read this book as an advanced copy! Make sure to add this to your TBR for November 7, 2023!!
Thank you to the publishers and Netgalley for my e-ARC of The Revenge Game!
𝐑𝐄𝐀𝐃 𝐓𝐇𝐈𝐒 𝐈𝐅 𝐘𝐎𝐔
💞 are a hardcore romantic
💋 hate people who kiss and tell
👑 consider yourself the queen of revenge
🏫 attended a private prep school
• 𝐖𝐇𝐀𝐓 𝐈𝐓’𝐒 𝐀𝐁𝐎𝐔𝐓
Alyson is a romantic, and sometimes it gets her into trouble. Like last summer, she thought her co-worker was into her, when in reality he found her flirting pathetic.
Then she meets Brenton Riggs Jr., and right away she knows that their connection isn’t just in her head. When he swoops in to save her one night from a less than savory party encounter, she falls head-over-heels. Finally, someone Alyson likes who likes her back!
But when she finds out about the King’s Cup—a competition the guys at their boarding school started to see who has the most sexual prowess—she’s put on edge. Does Brenton really want to be with her, or is he just trying to win? Then Alyson and the other girls at the school start a competition of their own: The Queen’s Cup. It’s all about reclaiming their power. But as the competition heats up, Alyson’s relationship begins to fall apart—and it isn’t long before the cracks in her perfect love story start to show through.
• 𝐌𝐘 𝐓𝐇𝐎𝐔𝐆𝐇𝐓𝐒
This was such a fantastic read, and while I guessed the main twist of the story, it still was a lot of fun. I really liked Alyson’s character because she felt relatable - drops everything for a guy, believes in love, thinks everything is fine and dandy and doesn’t see the red flags. Been there, done that, so maybe that’s why it was easier for me to see the problems in their relationship before Alyson could. I also enjoyed the overall plot of the story, with the girl’s finding out about the King’s Club and inventing the Queen’s Club in retaliation. I would have loved to be a part of that kind of girl group in high school! Overall, a fun mystery and a good YA with lots of representation.