Monday, May 30, 2016

Review: Game of Fear by Glede Browne Kabongo

The Fearless Series, Book One

by Glede Browne Kabongo 

YA Thriller/Suspense
398 pages

The sophistication of Gossip Girl meets the nail-biting suspense of James Patterson

A desperate act, an explosive secret, and a diabolical enemy—all part of a treacherous game with no limits.

Overachieving good girl Abbie Cooper has her future all planned out. As senior year at her elite private school kicks off, she has one simple goal: get into the Ivy League. But at St. Matthews Academy, nothing is ever simple. The pressure is overwhelming, the secrets are dirty, and the games are wicked. Abbie has a dirty secret—one that could destroy her chances of getting admitted into Princeton, and the lives of those closest to her.

One morning, she discovers a note in her locker with the warning, “I know what you did”. Then a photo arrives in the mail. It captures her most shameful deed—the shocking blunder she can never erase, in glorious detail. Someone is out to ruin her, but who and why? The answer lies with the sender of the photo, a mysterious girl known only as The Avenger. For a price, she assures Abbie her secret will remain safe. There’s only one problem: The Avenger may not exist at all. If Abbie doesn’t uncover her true identity before acceptance decisions are made, it’s game over…


This book takes off after the occurrences in another novel by Glede Browne Kabongo, SWAN DECEPTION, an adult thriller about the mother of the Cooper family. However, it is not necessary to read SWAN DECEPTION (nor is it directly part of the series) before hitting GAME OF FEAR, which centers around the Cooper's daughter, Abbie. 

Abbie Cooper is a high school senior, an excellent student and simply one of those type of girls who has a golden future ahead of her. She's a bit trudged down by her family's past (the one which would be presented in SWAN DECEPTION), but has mostly put it behind her and is ready to take life on. Despite all the wonderful qualities which many might think make her the perfect student, she's very much like the girl next door--down to earth, concerned about those around her and, simply said, nice. She's the kind of person one could see as a good friend, which makes her easy to root for.

The story itself is well written. The school scenes, dialogue, actions, and behavior are very fitting to the age group and feel natural. It's told from Abbie's point of view, letting the reader dive into her thoughts and feelings. The supporting characters aren't shoved off to the side either, but have their own problems, which masterfully weave in and around Abbie's own. It's unclear as to what secrets are hiding behind who's facade, which adds to the mystery and makes for some unexpected twists and turns.

This is a thriller, and as such Abbie find herself deeper and deeper in an 'Avenger's' plot. The author does a terrific job letting the mystery and tension mount little by little. Just as it seems Abbie is about to take a step forward, the story twists, and she realizes that she's only in deeper than she first thought. It's not a 'dangerous' type of thriller and has no real violence, but the tension still remains high as the stakes include Abbie's entire future and dreams.

Of course, there's a romance involved--the kind which starts from nothing and builds at a heart-warming pace. But it's the friendships and family support which really shine through all of this. Which is good, because Abbie's troubles are going to thicken, since there's going to be a book two.

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