Monday, January 10, 2011

Spray Review

Description: Five teenagers enrol in a play assassination game in a fictional city: Shell, a student, with a perky exterior hiding a vulnerable need to prove herself, falls for Mac when required to assassinate him; Mac a student drop out, resentful of his parents' divorce a year before the story starts, what he doesn't know is that his sister Han has joined the game to find him; Green, a computer geek, is overweight and has issues with self-esteem, like Shell he sees the game as a chance to prove himself as well as interact with people his own age; Zed is feisty and attractive and a metal head goth by night, by day a student nurse - Zed is a chameleon and pretty ruthless, the most competitive of all perhaps, but does she know who she really is? The buzz in this 'street war' is that you feel like a player in a real action movie with all of the adrenalin and the strategy and the pace, without the danger The game is organized online by the elusive 'gamekeeper' and all players meet him once, to collect the details of their first target on a laminated card ...Meanwhile their name is also down as a target, for whom, they don't know...all they know is that they have to be on their guard, always looking over their shoulder, ready to dodge their 'assailant'. These five teens have their own stories to tell, their own relationships unresolved, for some the game and the end result is more important than others. But what becomes clear, as the plot and the game unravels, is that the danger is more real than they thought, and that the Gamekeeper has a shady agenda of his own.

My Thoughts: I was leery of this book at first. I was surprised that I’d been sent a review copy, and was fighting between being happy, because I am always generally happy when a book comes, and wanting to role my eyes because this book was about water guns (or something). I’m sorry to admit that I gave it a chance only because it was short and I appreciated any book that publishers were willing to give me. After giving in, telling myself not to judge a book by its cover, or description in this case, I started to read.

It took only a few pages before a grin appeared on my face and a chapter before I paused to explain to my mother the rules of assassination/spray “and actually, my school played this last year” I tell her. As if I actually knew what assassination was at the time students were walking around campus with play guns. Then I read chapter 2, stopped to summarize it for mom, read chapter 3, filled mother in and so on.

I couldn’t stop smiling as I read it! I wondered who would spray who, and who would manage to avoid who. I made guesses on who would win, and predicted which couples would get or stay together.  This was just the break I needed from the serious books I’d been reading lately. Books like StarCrossed, The 10 p.m. Question, and Trapped were lovely books. But they were filled with complications and real deaths. In Spray if you died, you just sighed with your mixed emotions of sadness, anger, relief, and giddiness, and handed over your laminate of your target. 

This is not to say that there weren’t any messages behind the game. The importance of water and the problems that are attached to any society were laced throughout the whole book. So while I was laughing at how I and a character had been outfoxed by Zoro, I was also digesting the Invisible Man’s lecture on the Importance of Water. The combination of fun and a good message has me hoping that others might give this book a chance.

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