Wicked Games by Sean Olin


wicked gamesI know many bloggers prefer not to post reviews of books that they don’t like – why give the oxygen of publicity? Why trouble the blog reader with something you don’t want them to read? I do agree, to an extent, but when I find a book offensive, I feel like I want to make sure nobody else makes the same mistake I did, and pick it up because it sounds cool or it has an appealing cover. Which is why I’ve put up this review….

Lilah Bell, a high school senior with unspecified mental issues, pursues her boyfriend, Carter, and the girl he had a fling with, Jules, in increasingly obsessive ways.

The three main characters slot into their appointed roles: Lilah is an avenging harpy with weighty psychological problems and emotionally absent parents, Carter is a sensitive passive blank, and Jules is a free spirit whose sexuality comes back to bite her. There is no characterization beyond these caricatures. This is a novel that does no favors to women – Jules is punished and humiliated for not being a ‘good girl’, even though it is Carter at fault, while Lilah is unsympathetic and erratic, due to the plot device of her mental illness.

The Fatal Attraction-style plot becomes increasingly ludicrous (no boiled bunny, though) as no authority figure appears to have a clue what’s going on, and Lilah becomes astonishingly (not to say credibility-stretchingly) resourceful in her pursuit of Jules. The writing is clumsy, with random switching points of view and is full of pop culture references that will age it very quickly.

I thought maybe there was going to be a Gone Girl style twist (which btw, is a great idea for a teen novel – I’m sure even as we speak someone is doing that) but to no avail – what you see is what you get. The biggest twist is that there’s going to be a sequel.

Teens looking for a sexy thriller can find many better choices than Wicked Games.

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