Welcome to Read This Book, a newsletter where I recommend one book that should absolutely be put at the top of your TBR pile. Recommended books will vary across genre and age category and include shiny new books, older books you may have missed, and some classics I suggest finally getting around to.
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Today’s pick is a young adult thriller that I just could not put down!
Their Vicious Games by Joelle Wellington
Adina Walker goes to Edgewater Academy, a prestigious private school full of rich and mostly white students. Adina is neither. Edgewater Academy was founded by the Remington family, and Adina is in the same graduating class as the Remington heir, Pierce Maxwell Remington IV.
The book starts on graduation day, just after the ceremony, and Adina is seething with anger. Her best friend, Toni, the other Black woman in her class, is trying to cheer her up by inviting her to go to the bonfire that night. Something happened during the school year when Adina lost her cool, and her former “friend” Esme made sure that Adina’s admission to Yale was rescinded.
The Remington family puts on a competition after graduation called The Finish. A group of young women is hand-picked by the family to compete for two weeks at their estate. The winner basically gets the world handed to them. The Remington family could get Adina’s spot at Yale back in a single phone call.
Adina doesn’t want to go to the bonfire or really see any of these clowns she graduated with ever again, but Pierce is going to be there, and if anyone can get her an invite to compete in The Finish, it’s Pierce. She finds him, and they have a furtive conversation, but before Adina can ask him for an invite to The Finish, they are interrupted and make their way back to the group. Adina’s following actions surprise Pierce, and he starts to see Adina in a new light, though Pierce’s brother, Graham, advises against even considering inviting Adina to The Finish. The girls who get picked for The Finish are always white and extremely wealthy.
The next morning, Adina receives a personal invitation from Pierce Maxwell Remington IV himself for Adina to take part in The Finish. Twelve girls are chosen to prove their vigor, valor, and ambition to the Remington family. The winner receives infinite opportunity and support from the Remington family. When Adina arrives at the competition, her cell phone and connection to the outside world is taken for the two weeks of the competition. It is not what she expects. It is much, much more horrifying than she ever imagined.
If you’re a reader who enjoyed The Hunger Games, then you really need to get your hands on this book. Content warnings for racism and a lot of violence.
Join Rebecca & Jeff in the First Edition podcast to consider the 10 finalists for the “It Book” of August and pick a winner.
That’s it for now, book-lovers!
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