Game (Jasper Dent #2) by Barry Lyga

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4 out of 5 stars

★ ★ ★ ★/ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

In an effort to prove murder didn’t run in the family, Jazz teamed with the police in the small town of Lobo’s Nod to solve a deadly case. And now, when a determined New York City detective comes knocking on Jazz’s door asking for help, he can’t say no. The Hat-Dog Killer has the Big Apple–and its police force–running scared. So Jazz and his girlfriend, Connie, hop on a plane to the big city and get swept up in a killer’s murderous games.


 

Fun Fact: I changed my Howie to Thomas Mann. After seeing Dylan O’Brien being super-ultra-mega hot, adorable in the new season of TW and The Maze Runner and The First Time, I was forced to switch my imagination.

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Game is the second novel in the Jasper Dent series, which begins interestingly. I struggled for a while to write a review for this installment because it was so good, but also flawed. The story is gory but somehow tame and everything about it reeked with confusion, which wrecked havoc on my reading mind. So I prolonged it, until I realized my memory wouldn’t last forever on the details of this book, and just decided to go with it.

 

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Back, we find ourselves again in Lobo’s Nod, but not for long –  there’s a new serial killer on the loose, Hat-Dog, and a New York City detective brings in Jazz to help solve the case. Most of our time is spent in New York City where Jasper and an uninvited Connie are to stop a super psycho killer. Once again we’re in the mind of Jasper Dent and he’s just as screwed up in this novel as he was in the first. Obsessed with the question of “if” and how smart because he’s borderline psycho, only instead of age being the precipice he falls off of turning him into a killer, it’s now sex.

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Jazz now believes that if he does the dirty with Connie he’ll become a killer…

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I’m starting think Jasper wants to be a killer. That’s all he thinks about and his entire life revolves around the hope of him not being a serial killer like, Dear Old Dad. Don’t get me wrong, I understand and sympathize with a deep struggle but he’s just frustrating. Once again I feel horrible to put Jasper in the con column, but his character can be so annoying! However, in this novel we get a better understanding of Jasper’s girlfriend and best friend because  we’re introduced to the POV’s of both Connie and Howie.

Interestingly enough Connie worked my nerves. She’s only a teenager, so I guess it’s only expected for her to be immature, but going after a serial killer on her own is just beyond stupid. But she was still an interesting character and a nice switch from Jazz, being strong and independent she’s a great character. The same goes with Howie. He’s an amazing character that balances humor with love and seriousness. Jasper has some amazing friends that would do anything for him.

Moving on, the Hat-Dog killer isn’t the most elaborate of villains (especially for people like me who can easily decipher mysteries), but he is an interesting opponent for Jasper. He’s heinous and dangerous and this book is really dark for a young adult novel. There’s rape (implied) and murder and it’s up to Jasper to solve the mystery of Hat-Dog. Did I mention Billy escaped prison and is now walking around…free…one of the most dangerous serial killers to ever exist in the history of serial killers? Well he is.

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The diversity in this book rivals many young adult novels, with Connie being black, Howie being a hemophiliac, and Jasper being raised by a serial killer – It’s not just racial diversity but just everything.

This novel is wonderfully full of interesting twist and turns that will keep you on the edge of your seat, so read it! But I do need to warn you that it ends in a cliffhanger so large that you will need book 3 immediately.

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