Release Date: December 4, 2012.
A private academy. A cult leader. A girl caught in the middle.
After Greer Cannon discovers that shoplifting can be a sport and sex can be a superpower, her parents pack her up and send her off to McCracken Hill-a cloistered academy for troubled teens. At McCracken, Greer chafes under the elaborate systems and self-help lingo of therapeutic education. Then Greer meets Addison Bradley. A handsome, charismatic local, Addison seems almost as devoted to Greer as he is to the 12 steps. When he introduces Greer to his mentor Joshua, she finds herself captivated by the older man's calm wisdom. Finally, Greer feels understood.
But Greer starts to question: Where has Joshua come from? What does he want in return for his guidance? The more she digs, the more his lies are exposed. When Joshua's influence over Addison edges them all closer to danger, Greer decides to confront them both. Suddenly, she finds herself on the outside of Joshua's circle. And swiftly, she discovers it's not safe there.
This has got to be the most psychologically twisted book I've ever read. And I mean that in a really, really good way. The way Corrigan tells such a big story with just characters is amazing and I was definitely on the edge of my seat the entire time. What was meant to be fifty planned pages of reading turned into me staying up until 4:30 in the morning to finish the entire thing.
Since there isn't much - if any - action, all I can really talk about is the characters. I loved Greer so much. She is worlds away from the average YA protagonist. She's not shy, she's rebellious, she loves sex and she just generally felt like a realistic personality. But she's the only character I really liked besides a few of the secondaries. Addison, while he had his charming moments when he and Greer were alone, just came across as a patronizing asshat to me. But reading about Greer's attempt to unravel him from Joshua's - who manages to be one of the most terrifying villains without supernatural powers or anything - web was so engrossing. The steady building of Joshua's craziness was so freaking thrilling that it had my heart racing quite a bit.
But as much as I adored the intense character plot, there were two things that derailed me from loving this book and they both have to do with the ending. I won't spoil anything but I was severely disappointed. The entire book climbs higher and higher and I'm at this point where I think some epic, dramatic plot explosion is going to occur and then the most anticlimactic ending EVER happens. It's so random and so unfitting to the rest of the novel. The second thing I had a problem with was the questions that were left unanswered. I can handle when an author leaves one or two things to the imagination of the reader. I usually always appreciate that. But this is far more than one or two things and they were a bit detrimental to the plot. If I thought there'd be a sequel, I'd welcome those ignored questions with open arms but I know after the reading the last chapter that there isn't going to be one.
Overall, The Believing Game was full of OMG moments for me - both good and bad. But I can't deny that this story was so powerful and had my knee bouncing in anticipation for every chapter. Despite my hatred for the ending, I am definitely recommending that you guys check this one out because it absolutely scared the crap out of my brain. If that makes sense. Probably not but you get my point - read it!
Other reviews for The Believing Game:
That's What She Read.
The Elliot Review.