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I’ll admit it. I was first attracted to Movie Game because of its cover. Bad choice on my part, because this was just not my kind of story.

It begins as Joe, a self-professed cinephile, follows a couple home after they spent an entire movie talking. “Movie talkers attract stalkers,” he tells them as he sprays a mixture of soda and condiments on their door.

Now there are federal agents following Joe. Why are they interested in him? Later, we’ll find that it’s actually his missing father they’re interested in. But it’s not just the federal agents interested in Joe. Everybody is interested in Joe. For being such an unlikable character, he’s sure got a ton of people wanting to be with him. It must be his dashing good looks, because it’s certainly not his personality.

Joe is very detached from reality, in a way I couldn’t really sympathize with. At the beginning of the book, Joe seems a little over-the-top, but still kind of cool in the way he goes after movie talkers. As the book progresses, we find that Joe really just uses people for what he needs, plays with them however he wants to, and lets them go. He doesn’t even show remorse for playing with his sister’s feelings. It’s all a game to him.

This book is touted in the blurb as being “a fast-paced, humorous novel.” It is neither. I found that it dragged. It took me almost a week to read it, and it’s only 302 pages. It isn’t funny, either. A teenage boy spiraling out of control and living as if he’s in a movie after the traumatic death of his girlfriend is not funny. A teenage boy abandoned by his mother after his father leaves town is not funny. It’s more sad than anything.

The only part of the book that I really enjoyed was the movie game itself. Joe and his friends shoot back and forth, quickly connecting actors and movies, going into more and more obscure vintage and foreign films in an attempt to knock each other out of the game. It made me wish I had enough film knowledge to play along!

Final rating:

★★☆☆☆

Not my cup of tea, but entertaining enough.

Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the free copy. 

Interested in reading Movie Game?  Goodreads First Reads has a giveaway through December 6, 2015 – click here to enter.

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