The Game by Monica Hughes

The Game coverThere’s something comforting about the thought of growing up in a community where the adults around you pay careful attention to your strengths and interests and are able to tell you when you reach twelve or so what career suits you best (for example, Lowry’s The Giver). In the world of The Game*, the adults are paying attention, alright, but there aren’t many careers left to assign: labour-saving robots have taken over most of the work, leaving many new graduates–like Lisse and her friends–to make what they can of a government-subsidised early retirement. Like most in their situation, the teens start by amusing themselves and exploring the local nightlife, but an invitation to The Game–a top-secret wilderness challenge–offers a sense of purpose. Even their time away from The Game is soon filled with planning and physical training, and the group is happier, healthier, and always eager for the next invitation…until the day the game doesn’t stop.

Part dystopia and part survival story, The Game is an empowering story for teen readers. Faced with a world that seems used up and limited in the scope for development it allows young people just entering adulthood, Lisse and her friends find ways within and outside of The Game to explore their strengths and make a place for themselves. Readers who enjoy ingenuity, independent adventuring, and a bit of mystery in their reading may find a favourite in this one.

* Originally published under the title Invitation to the Game.

Read the Kirkus or Publishers Weekly review (spoiler warning).

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2 thoughts on “The Game by Monica Hughes

  1. “Invitation to the Game” has been a favourite book for some time. The sentiment expressed by Lisse towards the end, that there is no need for separation between work and play, has been on my mind a lot in the last few months.

    • I’d forgotten about that bit! Yes, definitely something to ponder. I wonder how much that could be managed by an intentional attitude change, and how much would depend on finding the right sort of work.

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