Mini Review: Girl in the Arena by Lise Haines

Here’s the summary from Goodreads:

Girl in the ArenaLyn is a neo-gladiator’s daughter, through and through. Her mother has made a career out of marrying into the high-profile world of televised blood sport, and the rules of the Gladiator Sports Association are second nature to their family.

Always lend ineffable confidence to the gladiator. Remind him constantly of his victories. And most importantly: Never leave the stadium when your father is dying.

The rules help the family survive, but rules — and the GSA — can also turn against you. When a gifted young fighter kills Lyn’s seventh father, he also captures Lyn’s dowry bracelet, which means she must marry him…

I can’t even remember when I bought my paperback copy of Girl in the Arena. I do know that I picked it up because it came highly recommended by my good friend Angie. It’s been sitting in my TBR pile for YEARS and I’ve carried it from Manila to Singapore when I moved but haven’t had a chance to read it until recently. I’m trying to make more of an effort to read the physical copies in my TBR pile instead of always just reading ebooks. So, I don’t usually like dystopian novels but Girl in the Arena was a really good one. I read it in a span of one day because it kept me absorbed. I found the neo-Gladiator culture and history interesting – like how it all started and why it has such a strong following. I liked Lyn right from the start and I thought her interactions with all of the other characters – her mom, her brother, her best friend Mark and her enemy / potential husband – were great. I really wish Lyn and Uber had more interaction though. I loved the few scenes that they had together but didn’t feel like there was enough of them. There’s a lot that happened in this novel and I kind of felt like the story was spread a little too thin. Maybe if it was a little longer, we could have gotten more depth from the story and also more character development. Like I wanted more information on Lyn’s previous dads and what were her mom’s reasons for marrying them specifically. It wasn’t even mentioned which of the gladiator dads was her brother’s father. So I did enjoy the book overall but just wanted more from it. Surprisingly, Girl in the Arena lingered in my mind days after I finished reading it so the story must have made more of an impression that I initially thought. Recommended for fans of dystopian YA or those who like fiction featuring reality TV.

Other reviews:
Angieville
See Michelle Read

Book Haul: Guys, Girls and Postcards

Remember my post about Mina V. Esguerra’s latest book? I won a copy of it! Got the package from Mina last Friday:

Mina V. Esguerra's books

That Kind of Guy by Mina V. Esguerra
Lucas ♥ shirt (Lucas is the swoon-worthy main character in Fairy Tale Fail)

signed copy of That Kind of Guy

Thank you so much for this, Mina! I already finished reading That Kind of Guy this weekend and I hope to review it soon. I had lunch and dinner with friends in Fort last Saturday so I was able to squeeze in a visit to Fully Booked’s branch there:

Fully Booked bookstore purchases

I used the last of the gift certificates (GCs) that I received for my birthday and I’m kind of sad that I don’t have bookstore GCs anymore but yay, new books:

Fully Booked purchases

Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairly in a Ship of Her Own Making by Cat Valente
Girl in the Arena by Lise Haines
Will Barnet book of postcards

All three of these books were the last pieces left so I felt like I was meant to get them! I’m sure I’m not the only one who rationalizes book purchases that way. I’ve been wanting a copy of Girl in the Arena for a while now so I decided to grab it while it’s still available. I’ve also heard good things about Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland and I love that it has chapter illustrations:

Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland illustration

So I’m not even familiar with Will Barnet’s work but I decided to buy the postcard book because I went through the artwork and I liked what I saw. It contains 30 postcards but I don’t think I’ll be sending them out anytime soon.

Will Barnet postcards

It was a pretty good weekend, book-wise. Also went out for dinner last night with the family – our Mother’s Day treat for my mom. Belated Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there! 🙂 How was your weekend? Were you able to buy any books?