Girl in the Arena by Lise Haines

Girl in the Arena

Let me just start off by saying I have no idea how to describe this book. It doesn’t seem dystopian, but at the same time it does. It’s not a love story, but it’s somewhat about love. It’s just so hard to explain this book, so please bear with me while I try my best.

In a world where gladiator-style fighting is the most popular sport, Lyn is a celebrity. Her nickname, “the Daughter of Seven Gladiators,” comes from the fact that her mother remarried seven times, each time to a gladiator that she lost in the arena. Lyn’s current stepfather, Tommy, has a big match coming up against an extremely gifted fighter; she is so worried that she lends Tommy her dowry bracelet for good luck. When Tommy is killed in the arena, his opponent picks up the bracelet, forcing Lyn to marry him by law– unless she fights him herself.

Girl in the Arena was a lot better than I expected it to be, and full of action. Throughout the book, Lyn is faced with so many problems, including the death of her seventh stepfather (which, by law, means that her mother cannot remarry), caring for her autistic brother Thad, and training with her best friend Mark (whom, I believe, she has feelings for). Just when you think she’s solved a problem, another one pops up in a consistent cycle of suspense.

I’ll go ahead and recommend this to any fans of The Hunger Games series, in case you didn’t expect how similar they seem.

-J

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