Both of these books count towards my tally for ARC August.
1) The Assassin Game by Kirsty McKay
2) I'm Judging You: The Do-Better Manual by Luvvie Ayaji
Title: The Assassin Game
Author: Kirsty McKay
Genre: Young Adult/Psychological Suspense/Mystery
Publication Date: August 2, 2016
Recommended If You Like: The game "Murderer", isolated island trope, twisty mysteries, strong and complicated female protagonists, boarding school settings, games taken too far
I received an ARC of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This did not affect my opinion of the book or my review itself.
In The Assassin Game, Kirsty McKay introduces her readers to the game "Killer". Each year, a group of students are selected to participate, thus becoming members of a renowned Guild. The school knows about the Game, but lets it continue as long as it doesn't get out of hand.
But the year Cate joins, things do begin to get wildly out of hand. What is meant to be a fun, exciting game where an unknown "Killer" pretends to off other players through inventive pranks, becomes something far more, and Cate is being watched by a twisted predator who has taken the game too far.
What Did I Like?
I am a sucker for any mystery set on an isolated island. Throw in a boarding school setting, and I'm going to read it, as those two tropes together essentially guarantee a variation on my classic favorite, "the killer is one of us".
The "Killer" game is also highly creative and inventive, and set up well. It provides a real sense of eeriness and suspense, and is such a great idea to set up the more serious crimes that begin to occur. Everything and everyone becomes suspicious, which heightens the tension, and makes this a book you can't put down.
What Didn't I Like So Much?
I found some of the main characters less than endearing, particularly a boy who gets introduced a few chapters in and becomes a crucial main character. I was cringing at some of the things they would do and say. This may have been on purpose, though I doubt it with the aforementioned character, but it made it hard for me to see why Cate would latch on so hard to these people.
The ending, while very twisty and creepy, felt like a bit of a letdown in term of the perpetrator's motive. It felt a bit cliched, which was disappointing.
So I would say read this book. It's quick, it sucks you in, and it's got lots of great suspense. The ending may not be everything I had hoped for, given the excellence of what preceded it, but I still enjoyed this book.
Title: I'm Judging You: The Do-Better Manual
Author: Luvvie Ajayi
Publication Date: September 13, 2016
Recommend If You Like: Biting wit, things that make you think, being educated, laughing out loud while also being outraged at the state of the world
I received an ARC of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This did not affect my opinion of this book or my review itself.
In I'm Judging You: The Do-Better Manual, Luvvie Ajayi takes on the woes of the world, and does it all with wit and passion. From racism to sexism, social media to religion, nothing escapes Ajayi's scathing side-eye or sharp humor.
What Did I Like?
This is a book where I walked away feeling educated and fired up. Ajayi knows what she is talking about, and she makes you feel just how messed up so much of our world can be.
And she does it all with a wonderful wit, full of sarcasm, biting retorts, and honest humor. Just when things start to feel painfully heavy, she will have you laughing out loud on the train (true story, by the way). Ajayi is masterful at knowing just when to intersperse her brilliant humor.
Anything I Didn't Like?
The book occasionally felt a little repetitive in terms of style and substance. I suspect I would not have felt this way had I been reading an article a day on her immensely popular website, as opposed to taking in essay after essay as set out in book form.
Read this book. It is that rare find that will make you think and make you laugh.