The Believing Game

The Believing Game

3.3 3
by Eireann Corrigan
     
 

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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

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Overview


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.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Corrigan (Accomplice) tackles cult thinking, dysfunction, and addiction as a charismatic and manipulative man works his way into the lives of troubled teenagers. When caught shoplifting for the third time, high school junior Greer is sent by her parents to McCracken Hill, a boarding school for addicts and wealthy juvenile offenders. When Greer becomes involved with magnetically popular Addison, a recovering alcoholic, she also gets swept up in the machinations of his mentor, Joshua, an older counselor and savvy puppeteer who cons the vulnerable group of friends into following his often bizarre and exploitative credos. Though the eclectic cast is a strong point, some exposition about cults, addiction, eating disorders, and shoplifting crosses into didactic territory. Much of the psychology rests on the appeal of Joshua, yet his menacing and unsavory nature may not persuade all readers that he could attract these acolytes in the first place. Regardless, Corrigan again presents darkly disturbing insight into the teenage psyche, while exploring how entering relationships without a sense of self-worth can lead to destruction. Ages 13–18. (Dec.)
From the Publisher

Praise for Accomplice:

* “Corrigan delivers an addictive cautionary tale in this twisted unraveling of mean girl machinations… haunting and provocative.” – Publishers Weekly, starred review

“Complex, heart-wrenchingly plausible…the story flows from secrets to lies, from a few harsh words to terrible accusations, and from supreme innocence to soul-sucking guilt….This tension-filled story will entice readers.” - Booklist

A dark page-turner with a satisfying resolution." - Kirkus

Praise for Ordinary Ghosts:

* “Outstanding . . . an exceptionally well-written story.” —Library Media Connection, starred review

“Corrigan has created a convincing male protagonist who should captivate either gender. This Ghost is a haunting read, sure to linger.” —Kirkus Reviews

“This memorable novel will capture older teens with its realistic, fully developed characters who come of age on the page.” —Booklist

School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—Greer gets sent to rehab at McCracken Hill after she is caught shoplifting, but the facility treats teens with all sorts of problems: addiction, abuse, eating disorders, etc. There Greer meets Addison, a handsome, sensitive guy. He introduces her to his Narcotics Anonymous sponsor, an odd, older man. Soon Joshua has inserted himself into the lives of several broken teenagers looking for someone to believe in. Greer can't be sure that he isn't playing some elaborate, creepy game, and she can't help but wonder what Addison's role in it is. Is he a true believer or just playing along? In this slow-building suspense novel narrated from Greer's perspective, the protagonist is the most fully developed character. The secondary personalities are weaker, and their motivations are more difficult to understand, especially under the extreme circumstances. The pace is likewise uneven. Until the climactic revelation of Joshua's twisted and violent mission, the book is unhurried and filled with his dogma-a jumbled mixture of religious scripture and strange psychology. Once his goal is revealed, the pace picks up and speeds toward a resolute and satisfying ending. Ultimately, this is a novel for mature teens who will appreciate the subtle nuances of manipulation.—Heather E. Miller Cover, Homewood Public Library, AL
Kirkus Reviews
A streetwise Svengali with questionable motives seduces a group of teen addicts. When high school junior Greer gets caught shoplifting for the third time, her parents send her to a pricey rehab facility, where she meets Addison, a gorgeous, saintly recovering alcoholic. Their attraction is immediate, but there is one irritating grain of sand in the oyster of their love. His name is Joshua, and he is Addison's adult sponsor, guru and adoptive father. His background is vague, and his speech is an off-putting mix of pretentious psychobabble and biblical doctrine. Even though Greer distrusts Joshua on sight, she keeps her suspicions to herself since the romance is still new. But then at a bizarre weekend getaway, Joshua plays a series of inappropriate mind games with Addison, Greer and their roommates in order to bring them under his sway. Greer sees through his manipulations and attempts to separate her boyfriend from his spiritual guide with predictably tragic results. The plot strains credulity (it's hard to believe any reputable youth rehabilitation center would allow a non–staff member so much access to its patients), the pacing is slowed by long-winded therapy-speak and the abrupt ending is unsatisfying. Nevertheless, the characterizations ring true, especially of creepy Joshua and skeptical Greer, who have clearly met their match in each other. Compelling characters, disappointing denouement. (Fiction. 14 & up)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780545299831
Publisher:
Scholastic, Inc.
Publication date:
12/01/2012
Pages:
384
Product dimensions:
8.40(w) x 5.80(h) x 1.30(d)
Lexile:
HL590L (what's this?)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

Meet the Author


Eireann Corrigan is the author of the poetry memoir You Remind Me of You, and the novels Splintering, Ordinary Ghosts, and Accomplice, which Publishers Weekly called "haunting and provocative" in a starred review. She lives in New Jersey.

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