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Saturday, March 30, 2013

Book Review: Gotcha! by Shelley Hrdlitschka

Series: Standalone
Genre: YA Contemporary
Publication Date: April 1, 2008
Publisher: Orca Book Publishers
Pages: 259
It's "bead season" at slippery rock high. This year the bead-snatching grad game called "Gotcha" has been banned as an official school activity because the teachers have decided to put an end to a dangerous tradition. After paying an entry fee the players are given a bead and someone's name. The object of the game is snatch the bead of your victim and take their name. The winner ends up with all the beads--and all the money.

After the game is banned it becomes even more appealing. The game goes underground and more grads than ever are participating. Katie is reluctant to join in, but as a member of grad council she feels she has to go along.

The game quickly spins out of control. Katie finds herself losing friends and falling victim to her classmates' obsession with the game. She considers dropping out of the game but then devises a better way of getting even with her classmates. Katie finds herself sliding further and further down the chute that leads to disaster. Can she bring a safe end to this deadly game? (Summary from

So, this story is about a game called Gotcha being played in high school for the seniors. It's basically a gigantic game of tag, but it's also dangerous because people break into others houses. And through all this craziness, a girl named Katie is peerpressured into playing, despite knowing that it's wrong.

It's really not a book I would've chosen on my own. I'm not very good when it comes to choosing books, because I choose one genre to always circle. But, my teacher told me it was going to be a quick read and also that it seemed interesting.

I found out that apparently the events are real (for the most part) and they happened in Vancouver, which isn't actually all that far from me in Toronto. That was kind of why I read it.

Anyway, to the review. I was really conflicted by the time I was done. It only took me an hour to read because it's such a tiny book.

What I liked was the idea, but technically it really wasn't the author's "idea" per-se, just because she's writing it off real events so it's just like journalism or writing an article, but you're doing it in story format. I don't think that this book actually reflects off on the author's talent, not that I've read her other books... not that I really want to...

I can imagine my friend popping out of nowhere, screaming this...
Another pro was the author's writing style. I don't know if it was like AHMAZING, but I do know that I breezed through the book easy and there really was no moment where it was like "no, I can't keep reading... it's too bad!" It was simple to read and before I knew it, I was at the back cover.

Cons? Well, there are a lot of them, so brace yourselves.

Number one is that the story opened up to a series of emails between Katie and her father. The thing is that Katie uses "text talk" like "OMG" "enuf" "brb" etc.. Anyway, I loathe that kind of talking, so that nearly dissuaded me into reading the actual book. Of course, I got over it and skipped those parts, even though they were kind of vital to the story.

Also, in the beginning, the emails being exchanged made Katie look like a complete brat. I didn't know what was going on, but the conversation was that her father was apologizing about something and Katie was telling him where to go, if you know what I mean. It let me judge Katie before ven reading the story and I had her characterized as a stuck up brat, but she surprised me.

In terms of a first impression, this story didn't really have a good one.

But I still admired the idea and the way it was executed, for the most part. The story didn't go too fast or move too slow. The story's pace was good, but I felt like some of the events were far too fast. For an example, in chapter 1, Katie had a best friend and in chapter 3, her best friend hated her guts or something like that.

It was easy to ignore, but still makes for a bad story.

After all that is said, I still can't help but love the story. It had an amazing meaning with values of not doing stupid things, despite "tradition". People can seriously get hurt from things that started out with games and I know this because I, myself am in school.

Gah, I don't want to review anymore or I'll be more biased.

So I give this book 3 stars because pros minus cons equal middle ground or... 3 stars.

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Thank you so much for taking the time to read and comment on my blog! I love to hear from my readers, whether they agree or disagree with my opinion :) I do my best to get back to every commenter, though I am not always successful. Heh...Anyway, I look forward to hearing what you have to say! :D

~ Gabbi