These Deadly Games
by Diana Urban
Publisher: Wednesday Books
16-year old Crystal Donovan is laser focused on the upcoming Mortal Dusk gaming tournament, which she will be competing in with her e-sports team. Suddenly everything changes when she begins receiving frightening messages on an app that mysteriously appears on her phone. Someone has kidnapped her sister Caelyn, and to get her back, Crystal will have to play the most dangerous game of her life. Although the tasks seem harmless enough at first, it becomes increasingly clear that they are aimed at hurting Crystal’s closest friends and teammates. Could the person behind the app be a Mortal Dusk competitor? Or could it have to do with an event that happened five years ago that Crystal and her friends swore to keep secret?
Urban constructs a fast-paced, contemporary thriller. Although the twists in the story are slightly predictable, the plot remains engaging throughout. Flawed characters and complicated friendships between Crystal and her teammates are realistic and relatable. The focus on games and technology will also appeal to today’s tech-savvy and connected teens. Librarians should be aware that the title contains contents dealing with death, domestic abuse, panic attacks, anorexia, and racism.
Fans of fast-past thrillers and suspense, who don’t mind a bit of violence will enjoy this book. Hand this to teens who enjoyed Two Truths and a Lie by April Henry, Dead End Girls by Wendy Heard, The Wild by Owen Laukkanen, or Out of the Fire by Andrea Contos.
— Julianne Novetsky
Other Nominated Titles
Two Truths and a Lie by April Henry (May 24, 2022)
Live, Laugh, Kidnap by Gabby Noone (May 20, 2022)
Trigger by N. Griffin (March 29, 2022)
Counting Scars by Melinda Di Lorenzo (August 16, 2022)
Jumper by Melanie Crowder (June 21, 2022)
Gold Mountain by Betty G. Yee (April 5, 2022)
The Selected Lists teams read throughout the year in search of the best titles published in their respective categories. Once a book is suggested (either internally or through the title suggestion form), it must pass through a review process to be designated an official nomination.
Each week, the teams feature a review of one of the officially nominated titles. Additional titles to receive this designation are listed as well. At year’s end, the team will curate a final list from all nominated titles and select a Top Ten.