Synopsis Courtesy of Disney Books
All it takes is one spark to start a blaze. At Foxham Prep, a posh private school for the children of DC’s elite, a single rumor has the power to ruin a life. Nobody knows that better than Bryn. She used to have it all—the perfect boyfriend, a bright future in politics, and even popularity thanks to her best friend, cheer captain Cora. Then one mistake sparked a scandal that burned it all to the ground.
Now it’s the start of a new school year and the spotlight has shifted: It’s geeky Georgie, newly hot after a summer makeover, whose name is on everyone’s lips. When a rumor ignites, Georgie rockets up the school’s social hierarchy, pitting her and Cora against each other. It grants her Foxham stardom . . . but it also makes her a target. As the rumors grow and morph, blazing like wildfire through the school’s social media, all three girls’ lives begin to unravel. But one person close to the drama has the power to stop the gossip in its tracks. The question is—do they even want to? From Dhonielle Clayton and Sona Charaipotra, authors of the Tiny Pretty Things duology (now a Netflix series), comes another edge-of-your-seat social thriller perfect for fans of We Were Liars and Cruel Summer.
Today’s book review for The Rumor Game came to me compliments of the publisher via NetGalley in return for an honest review, and I’m so happy to report I not only liked this book but I found it to be an important read for every kid who’s ever been focus of bullies on social media.
There’s so much I want to say about this book, but let me start with the content warnings. This book may trigger readers who have difficulty with cyber bullying and sexual assault. With that said, I will say there’s no on-page sexual assault and the topic is dealt with not only with delicate hands but in exactly the right tone (in my opinion) to convey the horrors and “wrongness” of victim blaming in today’s society without being preachy.
Written in third person in the voices of three girls, The Rumor Game opens with “the outcast”–a character who has done something the entire school finds so reprehensible she’s not only the focal point of rumors but also of scorn and derision…most of which targets her through social media. The reader is pulled into her world, reading as she reads, the hateful things her former friends and classmates say about her behind the quasi-anonymity of a computer or smartphone buffer.
As the story progresses, we meet the outcast’s former best friend and new best friend, both of whom are soon pulled into their own version of cyber bullying hell as rumors about their relationships and characters are passed around on social media like breath mints at a kissing booth.
To get to the bottom of the rumors and who’s behind them, the girls will join forces and play their own rumor game–a game that has consequences none of them anticipated. But isn’t that the whole problem with social media and the vitriol spewed in quasi anonymity–the very fact we never anticipate the potential consequences?
This book was so well-done, I think it needs to be in every high school library and in the hands of every kid with access to social media. There were moments I gasped out loud, and other moments when I cried. There were characters I enjoyed, and other characters I hated s completely I wanted to crawl into the page and physically hurt them for the complete reprehensible human beings they were. And there’s nothing better than a book that evokes these types of strong, honest emotions.
For these reasons, I give this book a solid 5-stars and recommend it to those who enjoy books that make you think and consider perspectives that may not have occurred to you before. Kudos to the authors for a job well done.
This book releases today and is available everywhere you buy books. You can use this link for a list of places you can purchase online.