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The Traitor Game

3.78  ·  Rating Details ·  356 Ratings  ·  61 Reviews
Michael and his friend Francis share a secret passion for Evgard, the fantasy world they have created together. But then Michael finds a note in his locker, revealing that their secret is out. He immediately suspects Francis, and tries to get revenge by telling the school bully—known affectionately as Shitley—that Francis is gay, which guarantees Francis is in for a poundi ...more
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published August 5th 2008 by Bloomsbury USA Childrens (first published January 1st 2008)
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*Cross posted at Outlaw Reviews and at Shelf Inflicted

After enduring bullying at his old school, Michael Thompson gets a fresh start at St. Anselm’s. His mother introduces him to Francis Harris and the boys become fast friends. They have lots in common. Both are outsiders, don’t make friends easily, and share a common fantasy world called Evgard. The boys meet every weekend, spending long hours crafting detailed maps and working out Evgard’s history.

Trouble starts when Evgard’s secret is out an
May 05, 2011 Georgia rated it it was amazing
I would never have read this book if my friend hadn't told me one night that it was the only book to ever make her cry. I googled it, mainly to make fun of her for being over emotional - instead, I thought it sounded fascinating and the next day, took it out of the library.

I took the book out at 2.30pm, by 7pm I had finished it, reread a few of my favourite bits and cried several times.

I can't describe how much this book touched me. It made my heart ache and my stomach knot. I cried throughout
Sep 26, 2011 Mely rated it really liked it
Intense! Severely bullied at his old school, Michael's transferred to a new school, where he's shared his main escape with his only friend, Francis -- an imaginary world called Evgard. When Michael believes Francis has been deceiving him and using his confidences to mock him to other kids, he makes a counter-betrayal in turn -- one that's especially dangerous for Francis.

This brilliantly evoked Michael's state of mind, the paranoia and mistrust and the denial of damage, making himself not feel a
Nov 16, 2014 Huda rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

This book made me laugh, cry, swoon and scream. I loved every word, sentence, paragraph and chapter. To be honest, when I first began reading it I thought I was going to 'DNF' because of how different this book was in terms of style of writing, genre and narration. As I continued reading my eyes were glued to the book, my emotions were everywhere and I think I fell in love with the characters.

The Traitor Game is absolutely heartbreaking when it came t
Kelly  Cowley
Its narrative splits between the real life friendship of two private school boys and the Game-of-Thrones-esq fantasy world that they create together. When one boy believes the other has betrayed the secret of their private imaginary realm it begins the deeply painful destruction of their friendship. The story is a little like a boy/boy version of 'Heavenly Creatures' with an intense friendship formed over the creation of a fantasy world. I cried several times reading this because it's heartbreak ...more
Selina James
Mar 04, 2016 Selina James rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Apart from the writing style (often written in sort of a "common" British way) which I found slightly irritating at times, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. A lot more than I expected to.
The use of an LGBT character was so well done and I also enjoyed reading about a character suffering from mental illness explained how it really is: absolutely awful, instead of sugarcoating or romanticizing it like a lot of books do.
The only thing apart from the writing style I disliked a bit is that there is rea
Garrett Schrameyer
Feb 22, 2017 Garrett Schrameyer rated it it was amazing
The Traitor Game is a very interesting book that will have you hooked from the start. There are a lot of moments where the book will upset you because of Michael’s horrible personality. A lot of the book was spent with me being upset at Michael because of him not doing what everyone knows he should do. He has very low self confidence. He REFUSES to talk to people about things and it just leaves him assuming things which leads to him thinking the situation is worse than it actually is. Unfortunat ...more
Sep 26, 2012 Joanne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Originally posted on Once Upon a Bookcase.

When I first heard about this novel, I was really intrigued; a story where the fantasy world created by two boys is affected by what happens in their own lives. I was really excited to read it, and it was so good!

Having been severely bullied at his previous school, Michael has decided to keep himself mostly to himself, and spends all his spare time focusing on Evgard, the fantasy world he created. His best friend Francis is the only person who knows abou
Cara Marie
Jun 28, 2008 Cara Marie rated it it was amazing
At last! A reader that stood up to the hype the publishers gave about it! Although judging from the ratins here, it's one you either love or hate. I loved it. One of my workmates told me to read it, and she clearly knows me too well. Fantasy and intense high school bullying? I'm there!

The Traitor Game is the story of the friendship of Michael and Francis, who come together when Michael's mother decides that, as he is starting a new school, it's probably a good idea to know someone beforehand - F
Nov 19, 2012 NVHS LMC rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy
This week’s review is of The Traitor Game, a novel by B.R. Collins. This novel is of both the fantasy genre and what I like to call the slice-of-life genre. There’s no way to sugar-coat this; it’s not very good. Why don’t I enjoy this novel? Let’s jump in and find out.

The Traitor Game takes place between two different worlds, much like The Blue Eyed Aborigine’s two separate but connected story arcs. One half of the book focuses on Michael, a teenager in England, who goes to a private boy’s schoo
Jan 06, 2010 Emma rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi-fantasy, teen
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Jaglvr for

Fantasy meets real life in this adventure by B. R. Collins. Role-playing fans of all ages will be intrigued with this intricately crafted tale.

Michael Thompson has been bullied while attending Comp. At the end of the school year, his mother finally pulls him out of that school and enrolls him at St. Anselm's. Prior to the start of the school year, Michael's mother asks around the church if anyone has a son that attends St. Anselm's. She figured that it wou
Nov 10, 2012 Wendi rated it really liked it
I must admit that I got into this book with some doubts at first, since I thought it was going to be a standard "preachy" young-adult novel, but the moment I started reading the first "Esgard" chapter I fell completely in love with it.

The plot's pretty straightforward: Michael, a boy who was bullied mercilessly at his previous school, has a secret world called Evgard which he builds with his new friend Francis. Together, they've written histories, drawn maps, and even created an entire language
Jackson Cruikshank
May 31, 2012 Jackson Cruikshank rated it it was amazing
This review will contain spoilers!

The book the traitor game is about a boy named Michael. Michael doesn't have any friends and when he moves to his new school he meets a boy named Francis. Michael mom has Francis over one day and they find an old project of michael's about a fictional country called Evgard. The two boys fall in love with this fictional country and every weekend start creating new things about the country like maps, history of what has happened and new events. This is the two boy
Feb 22, 2015 Georgie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya-fic
After being bullied at his last school, Michael Thompson transferred to posh private school St Anselm's. He made friends with fellow outsider Francis, and together they created a fantasy world called Evgard. They came up with maps, stories, etc, planning out their fantasy world to the smallest detail. For both of them, Evgard provides an escape from the struggles of their real lives. But then someone at school finds out about Evgard and starts sending Michael taunting notes. Michael believes Fra ...more
Rose Butler
This has to be the third or fourth time I've read this book. But this is the first time I'm reading it as a legal adult.

The first time I read this book I was nine years old and read it under the covers with a torch. I felt grown up and daring, mostly because of the little square of black text on the back of the book that said "not suitable for younger readers: some scenes contain violence and strong language". That little square of text was not wrong. In hindsight nine was too young to read thi
Sep 12, 2015 Evelyn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
This book was one of the most important novels of my childhood, and that is no exaggeration. Like the main character, Michael, I was that kid that escaped into their own head, made up a country, lived and breathed in that world. Now, re-reading this as a adult, older, possibly wiser, the magic of this book is still there, just not in the same quantities I felt when I first read it almost ten years ago.

This book remains one of the best representations of the effects of bullying I have encountered
Apr 11, 2010 Evelyn rated it it was amazing
Reminds me of the Chocolate War - the parts in the real world, that is. Michael was a sympathetic main character: Collins did such a fantastic job of showing things through his eyes, making the reader feel his psychological scars, that even when he was doing crazy things that objectively were downright bad, they felt justified. His remorse, too, was palpable. The parts of the story in Evgard were likewise excellent - the amount of detail that went into the worldbuilding, as well as the descripti ...more
Posted to my Livejournal in August 2008, saved here for posterity:

The Traitor Game affected me quite a lot (I read a lot of books this summer that made me cry). It's a psychological drama/fantasy, and it follows Michael, who has PTSD over past severe bullying, and his friend Francis, who has a secret. The two boys develop a fantasy world called Evgard together, and the chapters switch between the real world and the fantasy one, where the story follows a slave boy and his tenuous friendship with
May 22, 2015 Zakgirl rated it really liked it
Fantastic! I was in the mood for this book: Young Adult. Particularly well-written novel. I loved the action scenes. What seemed like a simple story idea (or two in one), made complex and interesting by intelligent execution. No wonder this book won a prize! B.R. Collins deserved it, she did. In one way, it's an exploration of imagination, and how it works in the writers mind, and how sadly we part with them as the story ends, yet unless you are particularly wanting to be a writer this probably ...more
Chelsea M
Jan 08, 2013 Chelsea M rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: shopping-list
I would describe this book as a "guilty pleasure", if I didn't dislike that term. I could see why someone might not enjoy it, but I personally did. Yes, Michael is a tad paranoid, and yes, the misunderstanding might be contrived. But I've often gotten in bad situations by assuming things and not communicating enough with people, so that didn't bother me too much.

As a non-British reader it was difficult to get the full nuance of the setting and social background - I had to use Google to find out
Sean Randall
Jul 20, 2013 Sean Randall rated it liked it
"Is that how you find out you're a coward? Can you go your whole life thinking you're brave - climbing the cliffs for a dare, catching venom-spiders to race, fighting imaginary battles where you conquer all of Evgard single-handed - and find out in one freezing moment that you don't have the courage to defend yourself? Is it only when you give in to cold and exhaustion and hunger that you begin to see how weak you've always been?"

This is a powerful, evocative story. Upon a first glimpse it seems
Apr 18, 2014 Callum rated it it was amazing
Shelves: booksihave
This book is by far one of my favorites that I've read in 2014. It captivates you like no other, and makes you want to read on. I read it in one night, which is very strange for me as I usually fall asleep by 10pm when reading. But I stayed up until 3 or later just so I could finish it. Anyways, onto the actual review.

This book captures the switching between worlds thing. It doesn't make you feel confused of why the author even has two different situations, or anything of the sort. It just fits
Andrea Myers
Feb 03, 2016 Andrea Myers rated it really liked it
An audiobook that took me forever to get through, though that didn’t have anything to do with the content or the narrator. In fact Mark Meadows has a beautiful voice to listen to, and gave each character their own sound without using ‘voices’. I’ll admit it did take me a while to get into the story as it would keep flipping between following Michaels real life ordeals and a characters make believe ones in a world he had created with his friend Francis. Most of the time I almost left like skippin ...more
Aug 06, 2011 Ranysha rated it it was amazing
A good book to wrap up 2008 with. This book is an excellent example of PROPER character development. You understand all of the characters feelings, even the characters who's thoughts you don't know. There's no length exposition or stupid flashbacks, just dialogue and Micheal's thoughts, which are a perfect combination that allow the reader to really understand how Micheal feels and why without even needing too much back story. For instance, there is repetitive mentioning of Micheal's old school ...more
Oct 23, 2008 Meera rated it it was amazing
Fantastic. This book is written by a friend and I absolutely and whole-heartedly recommend it! Although it is a young adult novel, I think it can be appreciated by adults too, and is a fresh and imaginative take on teenage angst and bullying. It tells the tale of the friendship of two boys, Michael and Francis, and the parallel world that they have created of Ancaster. The story cleverly interweaves events happening in the real world and Ancaster, creating complex characters and was a gripping r ...more
Jun 15, 2016 Christine rated it it was amazing
Shelves: recommended
This is unlike anything I've read before. Traitor Game is just so poignant. While the world of Evgard (and the English private school) was wonderfully developed in of itself, the novel wasn't really about that. Instead, it was a beautiful exploration of the blurry, sometime painful lines between friendship and what possibly lies beyond. The weaving and parallels of Michael/Argent, Francis/Columen was breathtaking. The narration was moving, the interactions clever and stimulating. Absolutely no s ...more
Pam Saunders
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 25, 2013 Anoushka rated it it was amazing
This was one of the best books I have read. Two best friends create a fantasy world of their own. The world is actually quite realistic - it has law and order, social rank, and is filled with people who have betrayed the country, traitors. However, something unbelievable happens. The events in their magical world, are mirrored in their everyday lives. Francis, one of the boys has been accused of betraying the world, and is dealing with numerous social issues. His horrific actions lead up to a sh ...more
Mar 03, 2015 Anna rated it really liked it
I picked this audiobook from library as a vehicle for my new knitting project. YA, with a touch of fantastic (the imaginary world of Evgard). I thought it will be light reading. I thought I will have a nice fantasy as a bonus. I was wrong on both accounts. The book is dark, and at times difficult to read. The long shadow of bullying and abuse, the choices made based on ill conceived loyalties, hard consequences of reckless acts. This book should be in every school's library. I will certainly loo ...more
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B.R. Collins is a graduate of both university and drama school. Her first novel The Traitor Game was published to much acclaim and was both winner of the Branford Boase Award 2009 and longlisted for the 2009 Carnegie Medal. Bridget lives in Tunbridge Wells, Kent.

A Trick of the Dark, published by Bloomsbury in September 2009 and in paperback in September 2010, is her extraordinary, electric and tau
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“The earth's orbit didn't slow down. The world didn't stop falling.

Slowly, very, very slowly, Michael started to sink to his knees.”
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