So let’s start this one with the full disclosure, which is that not only did I receive an advance copy of The Obvious Game to read, but its author, Rita Arens, is a longtime colleague of mine (and also the person responsible for getting some of my own work printed in a book for the first time, many moons ago). (You should definitely pick up that anthology if you want to read about how horrified my daughter was when she found out about the, ahem, miracle of life. Anyway!) In short: I am predisposed to find Rita groovy.
That said, you know I’m not going to hype a book here if I didn’t love it, and folks, I loved this book. It’s everything I feel like great Young Adult fiction is—an interesting story that doesn’t talk down to the readers or simplify or whitewash the hard stuff, characters you want to reach out and comfort, and some hard lessons along the way.
The Obvious Game is not a light and fluffy read; this is not a book for younger readers, nor for anyone who will find discussion of serious illness too upsetting. What’s the phrase? “This book deals with mature subject matter.” So yes, it’s serious, and often sad, but ultimately both very real and hopeful. I enjoyed reading it as an adult, and will happily pass it on to my teenage daughter. Growing up is hard, and so much of that is captured here, beautifully.
This is Rita’s debut novel, by the way. Exciting! Want to win it? (Why do I even ask that; of course you do.) First, go review the contest rules and regulations, then come on back here and leave a comment on this post by 8:00 a.m. Eastern time (that’s 5:00 a.m. Pacific) on Friday, February 1st, 2013 for a chance to win. I’ll let my random number plug-in picker thingie (technical name: There Is No Technical Name) select a winner, and those of you who don’t win should buy a copy anyway because it’s awesome.