Dani Webster had played The Game with her sister, Kelly, for as long as she could remember, but now it is a hazy memory as Dani looks up from the floor of the isolation room at Riverwood Clinic. She remembers the vodka and pills.
Slowly Dani emerges from the painful effects of substance abuse, and begins to adapt to life at Riverwood, a psychiatric treatment facility for “teens with problems.” Teens like her roommate, Scratch, an admitted self-mutilator. Or Scratch’s friend, Kevin, whose family can’t accept his homosexuality. As she recovers from her physical trauma, Dani must confront a deeper emotional trauma. There’s the cool aloofness of her mother. Her father’s abusive perfectionism. Kelly’s refusal to answer her letters. Fragmented memories of the last Game. She can’t fit all of the pieces together.
The Game is an extraordinary story of betrayal, anger, guilt, confusion and dread and their brutal effects on the mind. It is also a tribute to the healing effects of compassion and friendship, and to the strength we can summon, even in our weakest moments.
- Finalist, Governor General’s Award, 2001
- A Best Book For Young Adults, American Library Association, 2003
- Children’s Book of the Year, Alberta Library Association, 2002
- White Raven Citation, International Youth Library
- Nominee, Canadian Library Association Young Adult Book of the Year, 2002
- VOYA Best List, 2002
- Bronze Award, Book of the Year, ForeWord Magazine, 2002
- Finalist, White Pine Award, 2002
- Canadian Children’s Book Centre’s Our Choice Award
…one of the most ambitious and absorbing young adult novels I have read in a long time. …this is a remarkably funny and irreverent story. Toten’s teen characters are quick-witted and quick-tongued, and their self-awareness and sense of humour prevent them from ever becoming sentimentalized victims. This is a terrifically engaging book.
— Quill & Quire
“It is absorbing and wonderful.” Highly Recommended
— CM Magazine
…edgy, often funny prose is what is pivotal to what makes this story stand out – precise, unexpected turns of phrase and turns of character. Emotional recovery is not a new tale, but Toten writes it with depth, understatement, and wisdom
— Toronto Star
The Game is a darker and more complex work, but Toten’s humour is still present, lending contrasting relief to a story of psychological turmoil.
— Children’s Book News
Toten has addressed a topic that, unfortunately for all of us, is almost a cliche of contemporary writing for young adults and has achieved a new and highly engaging story out of overly familiar materials – a vert impressive achievement.
— Resource Links