Game Changer by Neal Schusterman – A Review

Hi! Happy Tuesday. It’s review time!

I usually post reviews ARC reviews on the publication date but it does make a bit more sense to post them before, to give people time to decide whether the book is for them or not, right? From now on I might try to aim to post a week in advance. So, here we are.

Game Changer by Neal Schusterman
  • Publication date: February 9th 2021
  • Publisher: Quill Tree Books
  • Genre: Sci-fi

All it takes is one hit on the football field, and suddenly Ash’s life doesn’t look quite the way he remembers it.

Impossible though it seems, he’s been hit into another dimension—and keeps on bouncing through worlds that are almost-but-not-really his own.

The changes start small, but they quickly spiral out of control as Ash slides into universes where he has everything he’s ever wanted, universes where society is stuck in the past…universes where he finds himself looking at life through entirely different eyes.

And if he isn’t careful, the world he’s learning to see more clearly could blink out of existence…

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

After reading and loving Schusterman’s Scythe trilogy, I was very excited to pick up this new release by him. Sci-fi is my jam and alternate realities a buzzword that alone makes me want to read a book, and with the pleasant previous experience with the author – I thought it was a recipe for a success.

I did like the general idea and premise for the book. Although I know nothing about football, nor do I have a clue how the game works, other than people slamming into each other, the sport part of the story didn’t put me off. I understood as much as I needed – Ash, the main character, gets slammed into an alternate reality during a game and things become quite messed up very fast. Sounds good.

The book was a breeze to get through. I liked the writing, the tone and the humour. Ashley was a fine protagonist, someone who’s point of view I enjoyed for most of the book. He wasn’t my favourite – that spot is dedicated to the Edwards, but I didn’t dislike him by any means. So why is the book a 3 star?

Now, I’m going to start by saying I think what Schusterman tried to do was valid and it’s needed in YA, but the way it was done just didn’t bring anything new to the table or have any particular merit in my eyes. The alternate realities bring up discussions about racism, sexism and homophobia, to describe it broadly. Yes, those issues are valid ones to talk about in YA literature and by all means should be discussed more and more, but maybe in a way that sounds less rehearsed and preachy. After all, Ash is a white, straight male in the first reality. His school is diverse racially and so is his friend circle, but he admits on many occasions how ignorant he’s been in the past and how his Black best friend called him out in those times. Ash admits that he has a lot to learn, yet we don’t see him learning much. I think the book misses the point completely and brings up issues and discussions without being willing to delve into all of them with the depth they deserve.

That being said, I didn’t dislike the book. I just think that it could’ve done more and done it better.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Have you read this one yet? Or is it on your radar?

Thank you for reading! Talk to you soon.

August Wrap Up

Hi! I am finally back after an unintentional hiatus! My last post was the last month’s wrap up… I have not even been around to read your blogs and for that I sincerely apologise.

I moved houses! I spent most of August packing, cleaning, moving then unpacking and cleaning, and slowly but surely covering my whole body in bruises. Now that it’s done, though, I am hopefully back to blogging semi regularly and reading more. Let’s get into my stats and you’ll know what I mean.

  • Number of books read: 7
  • Number of pages read: 2815
  • Average star rating: 3.8
  • TBR at the end of July: 48
  • Books added: 2
  • Books read: 4
  • Current TBR: 46 (not quite, as I already bought 2 books this month, but shhhh…)

The Black Kids by Christina Hammonds Reed

I think this book explores some great topics and is an important read – especially right now. It opened my eyes to a time in American history I didn’t know about. I liked the characters and the storyline, but the narration style and the writing weren’t my favourite. There was just something about it that made the read quite slow. Or maybe it was my reading slump…?

Rating: 4 out of 5.
The Night Country by Melissa Albert

The Night Country was one of my most anticipated books of this year and it didn’t disappoint. I listened to it on audio, because with the move happening, it was quite difficult to find time to physically read (you’ll see that all over this wrap up). The Night Country was everything I wanted from a follow up and conclusion to The Hazel Wood. It was deliciously weird and spooky and I loved every second of it.

Rating: 5 out of 5.
The Black Flamingo by Dean Atta

The Black Flamingo is the only physical book I got to this month. It was a beautiful and quick read. I don’t usually read books written in verse (poetry is a hit or miss for me, and so books written in verse didn’t always hold any appeal to me), so I didn’t know what to expect, but honestly after reading this one I want to pick up more of them. I loved everything about this book, from the first page to last. I will definitely read more from Dean Atta in the future.

Rating: 5 out of 5.
Twisted Fates by Danielle Rollins

I am low key obsessed with this series. The first book really took me by surprise (whoever marketed it did it wrong and that is the only reason why EVERYONE and their mother isn’t talking about this book – and why I only picked it up by accident) and the sequel killed me. Dorothy is definitely one of my favourite heroines ever. I am in awe of the story arc and I need more. (P.S. I also listened to this on audio).

Rating: 5 out of 5.
The Toll by Neal Schusterman

I was searching for books on my physical TBR that were available on audio from my library and I finally finished the Scythe series! As always, Neal Schusterman didn’t disappoint. I didn’t quite enjoy this one as the previous two – it lacked something I can’t quite put my finger on – but it was overall a very smart, well written and great book. I’d definitely recommend this series.

Rating: 4 out of 5.
All Your Twisted Secrets by Diana Urban

No one is more devastated that I didn’t enjoy this book more than me. I was so hyped to read it and got it out of my library on audio (of course) and ended up very disappointed. The premise was interesting and the dual timeline of the narration would’ve worked if everything else wasn’t so cliched and predictable. I didn’t like the characters and couldn’t relate to them. I did everything in power to invest myself in the story but just couldn’t. I’m sure the book will work for some – sadly, it just didn’t work for me.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.
Sawkill Girls by Claire Legrand

Lastly, also from my library and on audio, and also a disappointment – Sawkill Girls. I’ve seen a lot of comparison between this book and Wilder Girls – from the obvious similar title, through creepy vibes, island setting and queer girls – I thought it was yet another book that was written for me specifically (jokes). I absolutely loved Wilder Girls but Sawkill Girls didn’t live up to my expectations. The queerness seemed forced, I didn’t much care for the story or the characters and it wasn’t spooky at all, even though it tried hard to be. If you were to only pick up one – go for Wilder Girls.

Rating: 2 out of 5.

And that is all for today. As you can see, if not the audiobooks I wouldn’t have read much at all this month. Have you read any of these? What did you think?

Thanks for reading! I’ll talk to you soon.