Customer Reviews for

Girl in the Arena

Average Rating 3
( 87 )
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(17)

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(18)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

Dark but satisfying

This book was a punch to the gut but one I didn't know I needed.

posted by Bluberryfields3 on February 23, 2012

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Most Helpful Critical Review

13 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

Girl Practically Everywhere Besides the Arena

I have really conflicted feelings about this book. I was expecting some cheap Hunger Games rip-off, but it wasn't like that at all.

This book is about Lyn, who has had seven gladiator fathers, due to her mothers career as a Glad wife. As a substitute to war, and ent...
I have really conflicted feelings about this book. I was expecting some cheap Hunger Games rip-off, but it wasn't like that at all.

This book is about Lyn, who has had seven gladiator fathers, due to her mothers career as a Glad wife. As a substitute to war, and entire Glad culture has arose, blood sport being just as common as football. Lyn's life is ruled by bylaws put forth by the Gladiator Sports Association. It is these bylaws that say she is required, through a chain of unfortunate events, to marry Uber, the warrior who defeated her seventh father in the arena. Rather than give in to these demands, she proposes an alternative: fighting him in the arena.

Initially, I thought I wasn't going to like this. At first it was because I thought it was a rip-off. Then it was because the writing and formatting was odd and distracting. And then it was because I realized that the action would be slow-coming. But then, about half-way through the book, I realized I kinda liked it. Lyn, the narrator was endearing, and the writing was starting to grow on me. I stopped with the exectations and just went with the flow. By the end, I didn't hate it as much as I did to start with.

The writing is not typical of a young-adult book, and that threw me off for a while. I appreciated that the author was doing something different. And I shall warn everyone right now, this book has no quotation marks. This drove me insane to begin with, and I was frustrated with the author. I mean, why couldn't she use quotation marks like a normal author? But in no time, I didn't even realize the difference.

I liked Lyn. She was endearing. She wasn't a Mary Sue, yet she wasn't a stereotypical bad-ass robot. I understood her motives. But I did not understand her brother. Her little brother, who is autistic, is also supposedly a prophet/oracle. I thought this book was set in an alternative now. I don't get the whole mysticism thing. And I also didn't get how they had things like You Tube still, but also virtual living machines that can create a functioning virtual being. But I did like the whole history of GSA. That does seem odd enough to be true.

Don't expect a hardcore thrilling action novel. Despite being about violence, this book had very little action. Lyn wasn't even in the arena until the final pages. I think this is misleading on the marketer's part. This book is way more contemplative than it sounds. I got bored in some places, but I was overall absorbed.

I am still confused about my feeling for this book, so I apologize for the possible wishy-washiness of this review. I can see how some people hate it, some people love it. It's an odd little book.

posted by Awesomeness1 on June 25, 2010

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 30, 2012

    Girl in the arena

    This book was different than what i thought it would be. Through most of the book, i thought it would lead up to something like the Hunger Games based off the title and what i had read about the book, but it wasnt. The author used a different writting style which throws you off at first, but then you get used to it. I really liked the message of the book because it makes you think about how society sells violence because people love it so much. There were a lot of random stories from Lyn's past that she talks about, making the book kind of slow at some points, but overall it was a great book and i would recommend it.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 29, 2011

    Much better than I was expecting.

    I don't know what made me pick this book up. The cover is kind of cheesy and it really doesn't give you much of a synopsis. But I'm glad I did.

    I read a lot, but not as much lately since I started college. And, I usually don't read YA. But this was a refreshing, emotional, in-your-face kind of story. The characters are well-developed, Lyn as the strong and edgy protagonist, and Uber as the painfully sweet and misunderstood guy that just wants her to like him. It's quickly paced, and I was very invested by the end. I tore through it, even though I really should have been writing a paper, but it was just so GOOD. I needed to know what was going to happen.

    I don't give this five stars because it was a perfect book. I really wish the ending had been more conclusive, or that there was the promise of a sequel. I give it five stars because I don't think it's getting nearly as much recognition as it deserves (probably because of the cheesy cover) and I think it was just as good as, if not better than Blood Red Road. It is NOT a rip off of the Hunger Games (though if you like those books, I think you'd enjoy this).

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 30, 2011

    Just like hunger games

    I really enjoyed this book. Its well written and chock full of suspense.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 17, 2009

    A THRILLING 'GIRL'-- MUST-READ FOR YOUNG & OLD ALIKE

    I love this book and this writer! Lise Haines always surprises you and always moves you with her vivid edgy prose. Here in her most daring work yet, she creates a heroine you can truly 'root for' in an all-too-real Arena. Haines dares to imagine our own violent and glitzy culture with the 'dials turned up' past 11. This book is marketed for YA and I agree teenage girls will connect to Lyn and will totally jump into her world. But readers beyond teens will plunge in too for the wild ride, the wonderful writing and the jolting message underlying it all about where we are all heading--
    So bounce right into this ARENA.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 12, 2013

    Girl in the Arena

    THIS BOOK IS AWSOME!!!!!!!!!!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 18, 2012

    Hi

    Gr8 book

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 4, 2010

    Strength and Independence

    Lyn is the daughter of seven gladiators, and when her last and most beloved father, Tommy, is killed in the arena she is forced to choose between marrying her father's killer and disobeying her culture's strict bylaws. Lise Haines' Girl in the Arena is a young adult fiction novel with an interesting plot that is full of great detail. One passage that does a great job of embodying her skill of description is when she writes, "I send Mark a quick text to update him, climb into my pj's and fall asleep, and keep jerking awake and finally fall like lumber dropped into a mill, ready to be stripped of my bark and drawn down to the size of a toothpick, until I'm nothing but sleep." The fact that it is set in present-day America and contains a culture not far from our current one makes the story both relatable and scary. Haines' message of independence and female strength makes a great inspirational page-turner. Her description of Lyn is important because it does a phenomenal job of capturing today's teenage girls as well as the feelings girls experience in general. Girl in the Arena is definitely a book I would consider recommending to a friend.

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  • Posted September 7, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Absolutely Awesome

    This was a great read. Of course it was a little confusing, and the dialogue's very different from what you would expect, with hyphens rather than quotation marks. Lyn was brilliant, though sometimes I wanted her to be more kick butt type, but she was dang close, far closer than me. *Spoiler* I liked how they already knew Thad was physic, and didn't have to go through the whole process of finding out, etc. I hope to hear more adventures of Lyn, or of girls like Lyn, mainly I just want her next YA book to be just as good as this one.

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  • Posted October 25, 2009

    Thrilling fight novel

    Haines' latest exciting, funny and heart rending book should be read by everyone, not just young adults. As neo-gladiator daughter Lyn prepares to fight Uber, I was caught up in the drama of the preparations. As an ex- karate student this was fascinating and thrilling for me. But the other, underlying story of death and loss in the book is amazing and is what makes Girl in the Arena unforgettable. Also, in 2009 America the emergence of gladiator sports and the Gladiator Sports Association do not seem so farfetched. After all, just last week we were caught up in the (faked)! news story of the boy drifting off in a balloon. What will come down the pike next? Joan Didion once said her friends were caught up in their daily lives while she was mesmerized by the news. Not just mesmerized, but at times hardly able to go on due to an onslaught of everyday tragedies. This book is mesmerizing, but also very funny and ironic. It should not be missed.

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  • Posted October 17, 2009

    Heart-pounding and suspenseful

    Lyn's whole life has always been about gladiators and the GSA (Gladiator Sport Association). Her mother has married seven gladiators in Lyn's lifetime, the limit for a gladiator's wife. But when Tommy, Lyn's seventh father, dies, her dowry bracelet is also taken by the victor, a young man named Uber, and the law states that Lyn must now marry him. Lyn hates the gladiator lifestyle and doesn't want to follow in her mother's footsteps, so in order to save herself and her family from poverty, she makes a daring choice; instead of marrying Uber, she will fight with him to the death in the arena-even though she's beginning to develop feelings for him.

    Lise Haines' Girl in the Arena is set in an alternate world, very similar to ours, that poses the question, What if, as a result of the Vietnam War, one man made gladiators popular in America? The world Haines crafts is chilling, with violence a regular part of every day life, but yet also offers many similarities with our society now. Historical details are included as well to help form the world and tell the story of the evolution of gladiators in the US.

    Lyn is sick of the gladiator culture and would like nothing better but to get away from it, but she also has resigned herself to the fact that it may be difficult to do so. She is a very realistic and resourceful teen, and her indecision and emotions are quite believable, especially with when she interacts directly with Uber. The book is very fast-paced, which occasionally makes it easy to miss some crucial details or sentences, which may make the story a little confusing at first. Those incidences aside, Girl in the Arena is a heart-pounding, suspenseful read with twists and turns you won't see coming, leaving you to wonder, How can this end? Yet Haines wraps it all up cleverly and realistically, giving the readers and characters hope for a better future while imparting a moral lesson that isn't glaringly obvious or in your face. Girl in the Arena is a very intriguing and well-written novel about violence and entertainment, how easy it is for people to latch on to it when the two are strung together, but also about the courage of one girl wanting to make a positive change in her world.

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    Posted September 27, 2010

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