The Game of Love and Death

The Game of Love and Death

by Martha Brockenbrough


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780545924221
Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.
Publication date: 08/30/2016
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 336
Sales rank: 277,888
Product dimensions: 5.25(w) x 8.00(h) x (d)
Age Range: 12 - 17 Years

About the Author

Martha Brockenbrough is the author of two books for adults and five books for young readers, including The Game of Love and Death, which earned four starred reviews and was a Kirkus Prize finalist; Devine Intervention; and The Dinosaur Tooth Fairy. She lives in Seattle, Washington, with her husband and their two daughters. Visit her online at

Read an Excerpt

From The Game of Love and Death Henry's playing took on urgency. His impulse had been to make Flora hear him and realize her mistake. But the music swallowed him. He didn't want to hurt her. He just wanted to play. Time slowed down enough that he could turn what he was feeling into notes. A lock of hair slipped onto his forehead and his skin grew hot, but his hands stayed light and fast. He played as if he could not go wrong, as if he were meant to be right there, doing the thing he'd been born to do. The ground and his body and the sky were no longer separate, but as related as three notes could be in an infinite variety of chords. Henry didn't notice when faces appeared over the fence. Flora's band. A line of men stunned to see the source of the sound. As they listened, the men removed their hats. Eventually, they ventured glances at one another. No one spoke. Henry played until he'd said his piece. His shirt stuck to his back and a drop of sweat from his forehead fell to the sidewalk. He looked up and acknowledged his audience. Flora stood atop the porch steps. She held one hand on her chest, clutching her dress. "Henry, wait," she said, her voice roughed up. She started down the steps. Henry wouldn't wait. He put his bass and bow back in its case, snapping it shut. Then he turned, opened the back door of the Cadillac, eased his instrument inside, and closed the door. He did not look back as he stepped into the driver's seat, started the engine, and headed home.

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The Game of Love and Death 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
YoungMensanBookParade More than 1 year ago
At first glance, The Game of Love and Death might just seem like another love story- boy meets girl, they fall in love, something about their situation keeps them apart- and this story is anything but just another love story. The book begins on a February13th, a Friday in the 1920s. The entities Love and Death each choose a player for their game, which they have played many times before. Love picks Henry, and Death picks Flora, each hoping that they will win in the end. Seventeen years later, when the game begins, Henry and Flora must overcome many obstacles to determine whether Love or Death will win in the end, and both are unaware that they are pawns in a game. Flora and Henry have faced many similar situations in their past, but when they meet, their circumstances are very different. They must give up their old idea of their future, in addition to overcoming fear, racism, and loss, all to find love. I really enjoyed this book, and once I started, I couldn’t put it down. It puts an interesting twist on the typical love story; which I thought was very unique and fresh. The book also offered an interesting perspective of death, life, and love. The main characters were also very likable and relatable, and the book always kept things interesting. I loved this book, and I would definitely recommend reading it. Reviewed by Emily T., age 15, Broward Mensa
TheLiteraryPhoenix More than 1 year ago
THIS BOOK IS SO BEAUTIFULLY WRITTEN. Seriously, I think I am in love with it? It’s so flowy and eloquent and the LOVE is beautiful and the DEATH is horrible and seriously Martha Brockenbrough knows her stuff – I’d like more books please. The characters are all REALLY well done. I thought Death was the most sabotaging, frustrating soul, but all characters are well written. Her word choice was gorgeous and I wanted to swoon because even if you don’t like fantasy or love stories you have to read this book just for THE WORDS. It’s so lovely, really, I’m entirely grateful to have read it. Brockenbrough has a way of eliciting really raw emotions that will tug your heartstrings or ENRAGE YOU TO THE CORE. The story, set in the 1930s, tells the tale of a white boy and a black girl. They’re both hard workers. Henry is driven by his emotions. Flora is driven by rationality. One has been backed by Love, the other by Death. It’s a game to them (thus the title) like Romeo and Juliet or Helen and Paris. Death always wins. The conflict here is not a battle of families or of grecian warships – it’s to choose courage when all the world is against them. And all the world is against them. Because the 30s were a time of racial turbulence, there’s about 5 people in their entire city that can accept their relationship. Most the city can’t even accept the fact they play music together. While the reactions and the HORRIBLE racism present in this book is likely accurate for the era, IT MADE ME SO MAD. Please don’t misunderstand. This book is not written in a racist way. It’s written – I thought – with incredible sensitivity. But there are characters who behave deplorably. And if that wasn’t enough, Death just keeps making a mess of things for each of them. I WAS HOOKED FROM THE MOMENT I READ THE FIRST PAGE. I really, really, really liked Henry and Flora. Ethan was wonderful as well, and his subplot of accepting his homosexuality. A lot of it was subtly written – just seeing the characters for who they are rather than shining a spotlight on their sexuality. It was beautifully done. You really can’t help but root for Henry. He’s so sweet and sacrificing, but in a pure way? Not too sugary, not selfish at all. He has always had the courage to know who he is and what he likes, but he does it in a soft, likable way. ONE THING: I HATED THE TITLE? It’s difficult to explain, but I’m going to try. The Game of Love and Death? The title feels really impersonal. Since the book felt incredibly intimate, the title feels awkward on top of that. While the underlying story was about Love and Death and who is stronger and more enduring, I really think that Henry and Flora stole the show. I don’t have a better title suggestion, but “The Game of Love and Death” sort of makes me twitch a little.
anythingnovel More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed the concept of this story and Brockenbrough does a great job of giving both Love and Death very human characteristics. Throughout this competition it is very clear that while this game is meant to be a diversion from their eternal duties, both Love and Death, are not happy with their current situations. Despite being immortal, they each have their moments when they ache for the lives and relationships the players around them possess. Being pawns of such opposing ideas, it was interesting reading about the opposite reactions that Henry and Flora had to tragedy. While the death of Henry’s parents, seemed to make him ache for a relationship where he could once again feel that close of a connection with someone, Flora turned into herself and tried to form bonds with as few people as possible. One of these tactics serves to protect the soul from further damage, but only one could lead to the opportunity for renewed happiness. Although a secondary character, one of my favorite parts of this novel, was getting to know Henry’s cousin Ethan, and his own struggles that he was trying to work through. The Game of Love and Death is beautifully written, and tells a heart warming story that is really original and creative.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
What I loved most about this book were the characters Love and Death. Watching them manipulate the game was thrilling. There were a few times I thought for sure I knew the ending, but I was surprised! Things seem so cut-and-dry because of the historical setting, but the author did a beautiful job of making this game come alive.
MissPrint More than 1 year ago
"Everybody dies. Everybody. That is the only ending for every true story." Over lifetimes Love and Death have carefully chosen their players, rolled the dice, and waited for any opportunity that might present itself for them to influence the Game in their favor. You probably already know some of the players: Antony and Cleopatra, Helen of Troy and Paris, even Romeo and Juliet. Death has always won. Always. But Love has a faith that Death can't imagine--particularly when it comes to his latest player Henry Bishop. A white boy adopted by a wealthy family, Henry's life is easy even in the midst of the Depression that still grips the United States in 1937. His bright future is assured thanks to his adoptive family. All he has to do is claim it. Even without the stakes of the Game and her role as Death's player, Flora Saudade is an unlikely match for Henry. An African-American girl born just a few blocks from Henry, Flora supports herself as singer in Seattle's nightclubs while she dreams of following in the footsteps of pilots like Amelia Earhart and Bessie Coleman. With the players chosen and the dice rolled, Love and Death are prepared to watch this latest Game unfold. The odds, and the Game itself, are stacked against Henry and Flora. But with true love and free will at play maybe, just this once, anything is possible in The Game of Love and Death (2015) by Martha Brockenbrough. The Game of Love and Death works on many levels, both as a work of fantasy and one of historical fiction, to create a story that is as nuanced and introspective as its vibrant cast of diverse characters. While the main focus remains on Flora and Henry's fledgling relationship, Brockenbrough sets this story against a backdrop peppered with real historical events and an evocative atmosphere. This novel touches upon the question of choice and taking risks as much as the matters of love and mortality readers might expect from the title. The less likely aspect of this story is the compelling relationship between Love and Death. These two are, perhaps, the most unexpected characters in the novel. Love with his constant optimism and devil-may-care attitude is also surprisingly ruthless as his desperation to win the Game grows. Death, meanwhile, is much more than a villain as she struggles with the burden of her role in this story. These very different stories--of Flora and Henry but also of Love and Death themselves--weave together in unexpected ways as The Game of Love and Death build to its remarkable conclusion. The Game of Love and Death is a heady blend of fantasy and historical fiction that plays out on a grand scale. Sure to appeal to readers of all ages. Not to be missed.
Kimmiepoppins More than 1 year ago
It will not surprise me one single bit if this gorgeous, deep and moving book ends up an award winner. I am so in love with it. It has moved me and changed me and I'm not sure I have the right words to give to you about why you should read it. But I will tell you, as a writer, it is one of those books that has the potential to haunt you. After you wipe your tears and right your heart, you will find yourself questioning your own ability to string two words together. You will ask if you are capable of writing something so powerful. But if you understood what Brockenbrough was giving to her readers, you'll quickly come to understand that that kind of fear and doubt is death talking. What the game really gives to you is the understanding that if you choose love--love for yourself, your work and your life you will always find what you need. This book is perfect for those who loved THE BOOK THEIF.
mfu11 More than 1 year ago
In a dark and beautiful tale of love, loss, hope, and fate, Love and Death pick their players and the game begins. We’re familiar with Romeo and Juliet, Antony and Cleopatra, both couples players in the game of Love and Death. Now they’ve chosen new players: Flora for Death and Henry for Love. The pair are drawn to each other and the author spins a striking love story for the two, but there’s so much that stands against them, and will their feelings alone be enough in the end? Set in the 1930s this book immediately drew me in. I’m a fan of the time period, enjoying shows like Boardwalk Empire and novels by historical YA writers such as Cat Winters, where a supernatural element creeps into the story. As soon as I heard about this book, about the Seattle setting, the dangerous game, the music and romance, I knew I had to read it. I thoroughly enjoyed the journey, the twists, and the writing style. The rules are set, the stakes are high, their lives are in the hands of Love and Death, and who wins all rests on the actions of the players. The pages burst with courage and chance.