Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Review: The Believing Game by Eireann Corrigan

The Believing Game
by Eireann Corrigan
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Publication Date: December 1, 2012
Pages: 320
Source: NetGalley

A private academy. A cult leader. A girl caught in the middle.

After Greer Cannon discovers that shoplifting can be a sport and sex can be a superpower, her parents pack her up and send her off to McCracken Hill-a cloistered academy for troubled teens. At McCracken, Greer chafes under the elaborate systems and self-help lingo of therapeutic education. Then Greer meets Addison Bradley. A handsome, charismatic local, Addison seems almost as devoted to Greer as he is to the 12 steps. When he introduces Greer to his mentor Joshua, she finds herself captivated by the older man's calm wisdom. Finally, Greer feels understood.

But Greer starts to question: Where has Joshua come from? What does he want in return for his guidance? The more she digs, the more his lies are exposed. When Joshua's influence over Addison edges them all closer to danger, Greer decides to confront them both. Suddenly, she finds herself on the outside of Joshua's circle. And swiftly, she discovers it's not safe there.

My Thoughts

The Believing Game is a story of manipulation and deception. It explores the lengths people will go to for self-preservation, acceptance, and even love. This story had my complete attention from the very beginning as the events have already taken place and are shared through Greer's retelling.
"Later on,  he (Joshua) would claim he felt us all out there. Like a storm gathering -- that kind of crackling energy." (page 5)
McCracken Hill is filled with kids from families where trust is broken. Many feel their parents have shipped them off or abandoned them in this place where someone else has to deal with them.
"It was the rest of the world who considered us aimless. Joshua knew we were just finding or way home." (page 5)
It is the perfect place for someone like Joshua (creeper cult-leader) to come in to offer comfort, guidance, and acceptance when these teens haven't experienced it in their everyday lives.  

The Believing Game is one huge mind game for the characters within the story and the readers alike. This makes it interesting and thought-provoking because you're never sure of the real motivations and intentions. Everyone and everything is questionable, but it is not aimless. The Believing Game is one of those books that deserves to read more than once revealing something new each time. It is that clever.

The characters

Greer - she's given herself freely to others in the past without consequence. Her inner dialogue reveals that sees more than she lets on to, but other obvious things she appears oblivious to. At times it was easy to get frustrated with her, because she didn't take action when she knew they were all being manipulated by Joshua.

Addison - he was so ashamed of his actions in the past that he chooses the truths he wants to believe. He is aware of his appeal but doesn't exploit it to his advantage (while I do think he is quite aware of his influence over Greer). He's not just the cute, beefy love interest.  There is some depth to him.

 Joshua - a total creeper from the get-go. There is no doubt about it. He's inappropriate in the way he talks about Greer and Addison's relationship. He acts like is his all-knowing - prophet-like and he speaks with an authority that he has claimed rather than earned.

Favorite Quote:

Addison to Greer:
"When you nod your head, you're so beautiful. Because you're accepting possibility." 
Accepting possibility. I had never thought of things in those terms. Mostly because no one had ever offered them to me that way. (page 20) 
The Cover

It has a cabin in the woods feeling. While there is a time that the teens are in a cabin in the woods, it is not where most of the story takes place. The knife in the title lends to the image some may associate with a cult and ritualistic activities they may participate in. Both do have relevance to the story, but they are a little misleading. But if it attracts more readers, then I'm all for it because I do think that The Believing Game is a must read.

Disclaimer: I requested this novel for review from NetGalley and this review is based on the Advance Readers Copy. Quotes are taken from the ARC and may differ from the final version. I did not receive any compensation for providing this review. Thoughts and opinions are my own.


  1. I can see why you're an award winning blog! Your reviews are focused and detailed. You. Spend. Time. If you have the time, it would mean a lot to me if you would review my first book, Faetal. It's going be free on 12/16/12 on Amazon so you can grab it. :)

    Have a lovely day!

  2. First of all, incredible review! Thank you for that! I am not a huge fan of this books cover, but I like the sound of the synopsis. It makes me incredibly curious to read it, knowing that the author can make the reader so uncomfortable, and yet still want to continue reading to know what happens. You are right, sometimes that can make you put down a book and not pick it back up again. I will definitely be reading this one.

    Rowena Hailey (WA Speeding Ticket)


Thanks for stopping by my blog and taking the time to comment!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Imagination Designs