Title: The Rumor Game
Author: Dhonielle Clayton and Sona Charaipotra
Publication: March 1, 2022
Genre: Teen & YA Fiction
SYNOPSIS: (From Goodreads)
All it takes is one spark to start a blaze.
At Foxham Prep, a posh private school for the children of DC’s elite, a single rumor has the power to ruin a life.
Nobody knows that better than Bryn. She used to have it all—the perfect boyfriend, a bright future in politics, and even popularity, thanks to her best friend, cheer captain Cora. Then one mistake sparked a scandal that burned it all to the ground.
Now it’s the start of a new school year and the spotlight has shifted: It’s geeky Georgie, newly hot after a summer makeover, whose name is on everyone’s lips. When a rumor ignites, Georgie rockets up the school’s social hierarchy, pitting her and Cora against each other. It grants her Foxham stardom . . . but it also makes her a target.
As the rumors grow and morph, blazing like wildfire through the school’s social media, all three girls’ lives begin to unravel. But one person close to the drama has the power to stop the gossip in its tracks. The question is—do they even want to?
**A copy of this book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.**
I’m a fan of Dhonielle Clayton and Sona Charaipotra. I have read and reviewed Tiny Pretty Things by them and loved it. I was excited when I saw they had another joint project coming out that I could devour, and it was on a topic I think should be more talked about… cyber bullying.
This story mainly follows Bryn as she is torn down for something she did over summer and is constantly and harshly attacked online. Then others are drawn in. I really like how Clayton and Charaipotra always tell it like it is in their stories. Cyber bullying is real and that stuff spreads like wildfire and can literally ruin someone’s life. That plays out perfectly in The Rumor Game. Even when something isn’t true, it can catch and spread and there is not much anyone can do about it. The Rumor Game showed both sides too; the ones spreading the lies and the ones be lied about and how it affects everyone differently. I also liked how they touched on how boy’s behavior is looked at much differently than girls behavior. A girl has multiple boyfriends back to back, she is called names. A boy does it and he’s some kind of hero. These are both real and hard hitting subjects that deserved this attention to show the harm that does. Then you have the pressure teenagers feel to look a certain way and act a certain way. My hat is off to Clayton and Charaipotra for talking about it.
My only issue with this book was the lack of supervision. Now I know we are talking about super rich families with a lot of their own problems, but also a lot of politicians. It always appeared to me, as a non-politician or not coming from a politician family, that their kids are watched like hawks so as not to embarrass their parents. While in this story it seems like none of them had any supervision except for one of them, and even then they had little to no rules. I get throwing parties, but some of them seem a bit too much even for these rich kids. For instance, the last party that is throw has a champagne fountain. How? It’s a house full of teens and the house of the one who actually has rules. Sometimes it just seemed slightly unbelievable. And… never any consequences, which is slightly more believable, but still. Maybe I’m just frustrated with the lack of parenting.
With that said the characters in this book had a lot of layers. While we always saw the layer they showed people, we got glimpses into their aspirations and feelings and things that bothered them. It really showed their development. The story flowed smooth even as it jumped back and forth between characters. I LOVE the culture in the book. I’m very unfamiliar with african culture and indian culture and the little snippets I learned about how they dress and foods they eat and celebrations they do was interesting and beneficial for anyone to learn. I hope to learn much more from more books covering a wide range of cultures such as this.
As usual Clayton and Charaiprota impressed me with their writing. This is a great coming of age story where hard lessons are learned, consequences are dealt and growth is present. I cannot wait for more.