Author: Eireann Corrigan | Goodreads
Publication Date: December 1st, 2012
My Interest: Thriller fangirl
Age Group | Genre: YA | Thriller, Suspense, Psychological, Realism
I was lucky enough to receive an ARC copy of this novel from ARCycling, and I was super excited when I received it because 1. I love thriller novels as the suspense keeps me reading and 2. This novel is being published on my birthday so I felt like it was fate to get my hands on it early.
But… after finishing it, I now know why I don’t always trust fate. There was just way too much creep factor with this book.
As Greer Cannon realizes too early that shoplifting and sex can be used to her advantage, her parents ship her off to McCracken-Hill, a place for troubled teens. At first, McCracken seems like a place to put in her time until she can return home. But then Addison Bradley enters the picture. And with him–Joshua.
With Addison in her life, Greer finally feels loved and understood, while Joshua’s calm wisdom captivates her. She begins to find healing, and maybe even understand that life can become normal if he only believes it will. However, Greer begins to question Joshua when his calm inspiration starts to cross the line, and his influence over Addison brings danger. Greer quickly learns that being outside of Joshua’s circle isn’t the safest place to be.
It’s rare that I come across books that I dislike because I often quit reading early, and then not having finished the book, I don’t have to admit that I ever read a book I didn’t like. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case with The Believing Game. From the synopsis of the story, I was really looking forward to a good psychological thriller. Psychological thriller, it was. Good, it was not.
Plot wise, Corrigan weaved a deeply, creepy story. I wasn’t sure if I should have been more disturbed by some of the issues in the book or by the topic itself. I refuse to give any spoilers here, but let me just say–every character in the story struggles with a something and their back story, which we get get sporadically, is where the WHAT? factor comes in. As for they plot–I can sum it up shortly. Super creepy middle aged man posed as a “spiritual leader” wooing teenagers to have faith in his “believing game.”
Cult-tastic and creepy.
Character wise, I had no idea how to approach Greer. She is most definitely a tormented teenager, but at times I felt as if she was stronger than she appeared. In certain scenes she gave in too easily to Joshua, and in others she refused to be swayed. I just couldn’t figure out who Greer wanted to be at times, which worked with the fact that she didn’t really know who she was. It just annoyed me that she could be swayed so easily and so fast. I found myself screaming at her (in my mind of course) to just be creeped out too or something. It was easily the obvious choice, and yet it took way too many pages for the resolution to play out.
Despite the story, Corrigan’s writing was spot-on. The Believing Game is dialogue-driven which I think is the hardest part of a story to write. But the dialogue is authentic and does a fabulous job of revealing each character’s personality. Corrigan can definitely weave a thrilling tale, it’s just not one I prefer.
Overall, I was just severely disturbed by The Believing Game. I’ve been sitting on this review for awhile, and I still can’t quite put the words down that I want. I think it’s mostly because this is one of those novels I would not recommend to students or teens.
There is a ton of language in the dialogue, as well as issues I don’t necessarily want to hand to a teen to read. The cult factor and charismatic Joshua push this more into adult territory in my eyes. However, The Believing Game is definitely an edgy thriller, so if you are in the mood for a little thinking, and some creep-factor, pick up this book.
If you like this novel, you might like….
League of Strays by L.B. Schulman
Another Faust by Daniel and Dina Nayeri
[for ratings system, please check out my Bookshelf]