Title: The Rumor Game
Author: Dhonielle Clayton & Sona Charaipotra
Genre: YA, Mystery, Contemporary
Published: March 1st, 2022 (Disney)
Synopsis: 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?
Thank you to the publisher, Disney, and NetGalley for providing me with an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
At Foxham Prep, an elite high school in Washington DC, rumors can make or break a student’s reputation. It is something that former popular girl Bryn Colburn has been experiencing of late after one horrible mistake has made her a social pariah and even her best friend Cora, the cheer captain, won’t talk to her. But it’s a new school year and the latest interest on the rumor mill is Georgie, Bryn’s next door neighbor, newly returned from weight loss camp and a summer makeover. Georgie finds herself suddenly popular, but that comes at a price, namely, placing her at odds with Cora. Day by day, the rumors grow wilder and more damaging, and with most of the students being the children of politicians and powerful people in the capital, such rumors have heavy repercussions well beyond school networks, and the girls will have to uncover the identity of the person responsible for all their troubles before it’s too late.
I had rather high hopes for this book, but unfortunately, I didn’t enjoy it at all. I thought it might be something like Ace of Spades, since dark academia is kind of starting to grow on me, but it was quite different. Despite this book not really being to my taste, it does delve into several important topics that are very relevant in today’s world, from cyberbullying, racism, fat shaming, eating disorders and more, focusing on how one small rumor can grow and change over time, turning into something with the potential to ruin lives. The authors have taken a realistic approach to these issues and the book was narrated, also showing what was happening on social media in that format, really drove in the point.
Most of the characters were remarkably unlikeable and I found it really hard to relate to any of them. In my opinion, neither Bryn nor Cora’s POVs were necessary since showing Georgie’s perspective alone, as the sole innocent victim in the whole mess, would have conveyed the point just as well, and it might have even been more impactful that way.
The mystery aspect of this book wasn’t much of one for the reader at all in my opinion, as it’s revealed relatively early on who is behind all the rumors, and all that was left was to see if they would be caught or not. The drama was also a tad too much – with a premise like this, a little drama is to be expected, but this was just over the top. There was so much focus on the various lavish parties thrown by students and the vicious gossip spreading at each event, and it started to feel repetitive after a while. The bottom line is, that this particular brand of drama wasn’t my favorite, and it was a large part of why I didn’t like this book.
Overall, apart from being a great discussion book, I found this a rather underwhelming read and it just didn’t work for me. Still, it was well written and there were a couple of interesting twists and turns too, which kept me engaged enough to finish reading. This wasn’t my type of book, but if the topics interest you, it might be worth a try.
The Rumor Game releases on March 1st, 2022.
Do you plan to read this book? Let me know in the comments below!
All quotes in this review were taken from an advance reader’s edition and may differ from the final version of the book.
Other reviews in this series: