"I could talk with young people, young women in particular, about how we once lived in a time of blood. Blood and money and lots of publicity" (P.324).
Title: Girl in the Arena
Author: Lise Haines
Amount of Pages: 324
Release Date: October 13, 2009
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Geared Towards: Teens/Dystopian Readers
Summary (From B.O.B): During the week, Lyn lives in a big house in Cambridge and hangs out with friends in Harvard Square. But over the weekend, she cheers her father on as he gears up for neo-gladiator competition-a high-profile televised blood sport that rivals the NFL. Lyn's father is the top player in the league, and the paparazzi that have always swarmed him have started to dog Lyn's every move. All this fame comes with another price-Lyn's family lives with the constant presence of violence, uncertainty and a strict cultural code set by the Gladiator Sports Association.
When a skilled young fighter slays Lyn's father, the GSA imposes an unthinkable sentence-Lyn must marry her father's murderer. Though her mother has made a career out of marrying into Glad culture, Lyn is prepared to do whatever it takes to claim her independence. Even if it means going into the arena herself.
Wdebo's Review: Growing up, I always found Gladiators to be these disturbingly curious creatures. The whole idea of slaughtering a bunch of people and animals and also having people actually watching that as entertainment is just so strange to me. (I regard bullfighting in that light also, but that's a story for another time....) Therefore, when I saw Girl in the Arena I was immedietely intrigued. Having anything to do with gladiators is something I've never seen in YA. The story, though enjoyable at times, had many flaws.
The first thing that should be pointed out is the formating of the writing. Mainly, instead of quotation marks to offset the dialogue Haines uses hyphens instead. This made the writing difficult to read at parts, even though I did get used to it after a while, it could still get confusing if I just glazed over a sentence. The structuring of the writing was also awkward in certain places. When I quickly read some paragraphs some things just did not seem to make sense, and it caused me to have to go back and slowly re-read sentences.
I was also unsatisfied with the prologue. The reasons just did not make sense to me. I appreciated the "backstory", I just wished the beginning was better...I'm not sure what to say...articulated? Beefed up? Changed to a more "exciting" reason? I really don't know exactly what I'm expecting from it, it just did not work for me.
I also felt that there would be a lot of heart-pounding action in this story, but there was none. There seemed to be some kind of clear film between me and the emotional aspect of the novel, no matter what situation Lyn was thrown in, I just could not feel any nerves for her. I did not have any of those heart-pounding-on-the-edge-of-my-seat experiences. It was as if I was watching a slide of pictures zoom by without any thought about it.
Even though I did list a lot of cons to this book, there were positive aspects also. For example, I really liked the character of Lyn. Though she was conflicted towards the middle of the story, I regarded that as very natural behavior, but she stuck to her beliefs and was very independent. She relyed on herself which is a very good quality.
The storyline itself was very enjoyable and interesting, even if the writing was not superb. The dystopian aspect of it was quite frigtening. It was basically the mirror image of our current society with neo-gladiators thrown into the mix. The addition of pop culture such as YouTube and movies was a nice garnish and helped create an interesting satire on our current society about the consumerism aspect of our lives.
Cafe Cover Chat: I really like this cover. This cover was one of the reasons I wanted to pick up this novel. It just seems so intense and the pose itself just seems so magnetic. (A-)
All in all, though Girl in the Arena was not the best executed novel, there were parts that were enjoyable . If you are looking for a novel on the level of an author like Suzanne Collins (Since GITA is quite similar to The Hunger Games) do skip this one, but otherwise pick this book up for an fun and exciting little read.