Girl in the Arena, by Lise Haines
Teenage Lyn has had 7 fathers who have all been gladiators in the Gladiator Sports Association. And when her latest father dies in the ring, Lyn’s worst nightmare comes to life when an outdated rule states that Lyn must marry Uber, her father’s killer. Though a pacifist herself, Lyn would rather fight Uber in the ring rather than be forced to marry and give up her freedom. But things get even more complicated when Lyn begins having feelings for Uber.
Lyn is a believable and sympathetic character. She is forced to make tough decisions that not only impact her life, but her family’s as well. In a bizarre alternate and slightly futuristic society, professional gladiator sports are commonplace and socially accepted. Fights to the death with humans and animals take place like back in ancient Roman times. What began as an outlet to take the place of war, has now become a warped and twisted sport where it’s all about financial gain. Haines has created a fascinating, if grim world, where violence is accepted and forced at a young age.
Wrought with suspense and emotional roller coasters, this surprising story kept me engaged from beginning to end. This debut for young adults is powerful and mesmerizing. It wasn’t what I expected, and that alone made it worth reading.