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Arena by Holly Jennings

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Woah! Arena! This book totally took me by surprise. It is a good read, but when I realized how subtle the author was with big ideas I was very, very impressed!

Kali Ling is part of a team that plays virtual games for a living. In 2054, you are just as strong in-game as you are in real life so you're really an athlete if you play professionally. These games are also super popular, so if you play them then you're a celebrity, complete with paparazzi, tabloid features, the works. Kali is technically a "celebrity" but she doesn't feel or act like one, so we get to read the story from the point-of-view of a normal person with everyday struggles who is in a situation that the rest of us aren't. It is neat realizing she is actually a celebrity at the same time she does.

There are boys, love, and sex in the book but what I love about it is that they're not a driving force for any of Kali's decisions. They're more like things that happen while she's living life for herself. Kali also deals with an addiction problem but she overcomes it with the help of a friend, a therapist, and her own inner strength. There are a few cheesy moments but the awesomeness of the rest of the book quickly overshadows them. This is such a strong character and such a good book.


5/5 Stars

Arena will be available on April 5th, 2016. I received a copy of this book through NetGalley by AceRoc books in exchange for an honest review.
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