The Forbidden Game
The Hunter, the Chase, the KillBook - 2010
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violet_cheetah_1061 thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over
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Jenny Thornton is preparing a party for her boyfriend Tom, and is exploring the neighborhood in search of a game that will entertain her core group of friends. Escaping from a couple of intimidating young men leads her into an unusual shop that seems to have exactly what she's looking for: a unique and unforgettable game: or so the shop owner promises her. Unnerved by his white hair and intense gaze, Jenny buys the game and hurries home where her friends await: sophisticated Audrey, spunky Dee, introverted Zach, cheerful Mike, winsome Summer, and of course, her football star and ruggedly handsome boyfriend. Though Jenny is having second thoughts, her friends immediately pounce on the mysterious game.
They're going to get more than they bargained for. Though I don't want to give away the specifics of a marvelously twisty plot, the teenagers find themselves sucked into a real-life game in which they are forced to confront their darkest fears, all of which has been planned by the Shadow Man, a mysterious and malignant youth who gets a kick out of tormenting them, but has a particular interest in Jenny...
Divided into three books, each one is based on a particular type of game that the protagonists are forced into: a race, hide-and-seek, and finally a treasure hunt, with the stakes escalating each time. Amazingly, this formula avoids getting repetitive, mainly because the characters grow and change over the course of their adventures, the format of each game is radically different, and the prize at the end of the game changes each time.