Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Girl in the Arena” as Want to Read:
Girl in the Arena
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Girl in the Arena

liked it 3.0  ·  Rating Details ·  4,837 Ratings  ·  849 Reviews
It’s a fight to the death—on live TV—when a gladiator’s daughter steps into the arena.

Lyn 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 gladiato
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published October 13th 2009 by Bloomsbury USA Childrens
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Girl in the Arena, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Girl in the Arena

The Hunger Games by Suzanne CollinsCatching Fire by Suzanne CollinsDivergent by Veronica RothMockingjay by Suzanne CollinsThe Maze Runner by James Dashner
YA Dystopia Novels
1,170 books — 10,329 voters
Spirit Bound by Richelle MeadHush, Hush by Becca FitzpatrickFallen by Lauren KateCity of Bones by Cassandra ClareCity of Glass by Cassandra Clare
Gotta Have 'Em
997 books — 1,920 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Tamora Pierce
Nov 22, 2009 Tamora Pierce rated it did not like it
This one was a big disappointment for me, since I was expecting--well, a girl gladiator. In this alternate history U.S., back yard gladiator games developed as an adjunct to the Vietnam War. As the popularity and complexity of the games rose, they were bought by Caesar's (the gambling franchise) and given the polish given to professional wrestling, including televised matches, toy and clothing franchises, and even a college at which women can learn to be good gladiator wives. (There is no mentio ...more
I want to give Girl in the Arena four--possibly even five--stars, because it has something few other books I've had the pleasure of reading has. Something I've been looking for, desperately, within YA fiction. Something that just...I don't know... Just speaks to me, I guess; feels true. I can relate to it, to the protagonist, how she feels. I understand her because, in a way, I was her. Maybe, from time to time, I still am her.

To help you understand where I'm coming from I need to go back. Way
Anne Osterlund
Nov 02, 2010 Anne Osterlund rated it really liked it
Lyn is a pacifist—she thinks. Though avoiding violence is quite a challenge when one is the daughter of seven gladiators (six dead, one alive) and—even worse—a Gladiator’s Wife. But nothing in Lynn’s life has ever been easy. Not watching her former fathers die in their matches, or protecting her oracle of a brother from being placed in a facility, or worrying about her mother’s next faux death.

But when Lyn’s bracelet is picked up in the arena by her father’s killer and she has to choose between
Jan 13, 2010 Rebekah rated it did not like it
Shelves: young-adult
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
this is like nothing and everything i expected it to be.

born into a world of violence, 18-year-old lyn, the daughter of 7 neo-gladiators decides to fight uber, the guy who killed her 7th father and took her dowry bracelet, so she can claim her now threatened independence and prevent being a glad-wife like her mother, who represents everything she doesn't want to be. but there's also thad, her unusual 8-year-old brother, seemingly able to predict the future, who she wants to take care of.

Jan 23, 2013 Lydia rated it did not like it
Shelves: reviewed, 2013, no
Girl in the Arena really interested me at first. Gladiator fighting in an urban setting? Neat. But I was so, so disappointed and ended up struggling to finish this book.

Let's begin with the world building. Girl in the Arena takes place in an alternate world where basically everything is the same, only gladiator fighting is a thing. A big thing. Let's stop here. Why would millions of people watch two guys hacking away at each other (and one eventually being murdered) and be okay with it? Not sur
Morgan F
Jun 20, 2010 Morgan F rated it liked it
Recommends it for: 13 and up
I have really conflicted feelings about this book. I was expecting some cheap Hunger Games rip-off, but it wasn't like that at all.

This book is about Lyn, who has had seven gladiator fathers, due to her mothers career as a Glad wife. As a substitute to war, an entire Glad culture has arisen, blood sport being just as common as football. Lyn's life is ruled by bylaws put forth by the Gladiator Sports Association. It is these bylaws that say she is required, through a chain of unfortunate events,
Girl in the Arena is a science fiction novel. Yet it does not tell a future story; it is firmly anchored in a – only slightly altered – ‘now’ by using plenty of pop-culture references to today’s society (Youtube, Second Life, Sofia Copolla ...).

Closing one eye the fictional turns of the past decades and the imagined outcome for the present even seem almost likely. But the likelihood of the exact setting does not strike me as so important. If you peel away the alterations, you basically find the
Nov 26, 2010 Clare rated it did not like it
Shelves: young-adult
A vague, poorly written book trying to capitalize on the rush, brutality and teen sexual tension that the Hunger Games offered. Oh, and there's a useless mother and needy sibling as well. Same dissatisfying ending as Mockingjay, too. Lise Haines is not an author whose writing style I enjoy. Lots of dashes instead of quotes. It's hard to understand where the conversation starts and the sarcastic inner remark begins. Part of the reason why grammar nerds get so upset is that a message is clearer wh ...more
Nov 11, 2009 Angie rated it it was amazing
So I'm working my way through all the Cybils YA Fantasy/Science Fiction nominees, when GIRL IN THE ARENA shows up on my doorstep (thank you, Bloomsbury!). Truthfully, I'm a little supernatural creatured out just about now and so this dystopian, neo-gladiator, fight to the death novel seemed made to order. I remember seeing it at BEA and somehow not snagging a copy. I'd read a few reviews here and there, some favorable, some middling, and I knew I loved the cover. I mean, look at that. It's aweso ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 25, 2016 Kazy added it
Shelves: dnf
This is officially the first book I've marked as dnf. I'm sorry, I really tried.
Jun 21, 2011 Grace rated it it was ok
Shelves: young-adult
Where to begin with this book? I thought the idea was phenomenal. I mean a book about gladiators!! I don't even think that's really been done before in the young adult genre...and to be honest I'm getting a little distressed and bored from all these standard vampire/werewolf/zombie teen books. It is basically the same concept and plotline redone by different authors in every novel I pick up. It's an inescapable representation now quite overdone in the juvenile/young adult world. There were endle ...more
Oct 15, 2010 Thomas rated it liked it
This was not what I expected. I assumed, and I'm sure a lot of other people did as well, that it would be similar to The Hunger Games, due to the title and the summary on the inside cover. It isn't, not by a long shot.

I feel guilty for comparing it to the Hunger Games, but inevitably, comparisons will be drawn. While the book by Suzanne Collins focuses about Katniss actually being in the arena, Girl in the Arena offers a more introspective view into how war and bloodshed affect the people outsid
Sep 06, 2013 Kaylabee rated it did not like it
Okay, I wish I could give this book less than a one-star rating. It is so bad it makes me want to throw up a little bit. I feel hollowed out and totally bummed after reading it. I kept reading, even though it was so confusing and stupid and badly executed right from the beginning, because I was hoping it would get better. BUT IT JUST GOT WORSE.

So, FIRST OF ALL, the author just, like, completely ignored all reason and realistic-ness by putting this whole gladiator culture in the middle of the mo
Dec 20, 2009 Krystle rated it it was ok
Gosh, I was so amped up for this book and then it all came crashing down like twenty huge elephants stomping on my brain.

The beginning of this book started out with a lot of promise with the sudden death of her father in a brutal way, her despair, and how one simple gesture now comes around to bite her in the ass. Specifically, having to marry the killer of her father. I thought it was excellent start and then it just took a steep nose dive from there.

One of the main problems is the guy (I forg
Lucila ~LiteraturaExpress~
I read this before I even had a Goodreads account and I'm denying its existence. I won't even write a review.

It's hard to enjoy a book when you simply can't buy into the premise. When it feels like the plot is forced and the worldbuilding is one question away from crumbling down.

I enjoyed most of the writing and loved the main character though, so I certainly saw some good in it.
Feb 03, 2010 Deb rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: girls who don't like reading much
Recommended to Deb by: Book Smugglers
On the back of the book, Tom Robbins (!!!) exclaims: "What Lise Haines has wrought is a kind of comic book without pictures, a wild pop novel that--rocking with violent energy and bopping with social satire--can generate suspense, horror, laughter and even twinges of tenderness."

And you know what? It's all true. I started reading this book after work yesterday and couldn't put the damn thing down. Haines crafts a society with mores and a time line based on current day that it is oft indistinguis
Jan 26, 2011 Raina rated it liked it
The subtitle of this book (which only shows up on the title page of the book itself) is "A Novel Containing Intense Prolonged Sequences of Disaster and Peril." The cover has "Daughter. Celebrity. Neo-gladiator." under the title. But this is not a book about a female gladiator. Or even a teenage girl who wants to be a gladiator. This is a book about the daughter of 7 gladiators who is being pressured to be a gladiator's wife and join glad culture. It's almost incidental that she ends up fighting ...more
Jul 20, 2011 Nadine rated it it was ok
Zum Inhalt:
Im Gegensatz zu anderen Dystopien spielt dieses Buch in unserer Zeit, allerdings haben Gladiatorenveranstaltungen auf Leben und Tod Einzug in die Unterhaltungs-"Kultur" genommen. Zunächst reine Untergrundveranstaltungen, wurden sie irgendwann in den USA legalisiert.

Lyns Mutter ist eine Gladiatoren-Ehefrau mit Leib und Seele, 6 Ehemänner sind bereits in der Arena gestorben und es wird ihr gesetzlich verboten sein, ein 8. Mal zu heiraten oder eine Beziehung einzugehen. Ihr jetziger Mann
Feb 16, 2010 TinaB rated it it was ok
The story, set to feel like a graphic novel or comic book with sentence structure and character dialog, clips along at a pretty fast pace. In a dystopian future, blood sport streams live on global TV. Neo-gladiators are celebrities, and Lyn's mother Allison has made a career of marrying into gladiator stardom. But when Allison’s seventh husband Tommy is killed her career as trophy wife is up. Things are looking pretty bleak for Lyn as well, due to the fact that because of gladiator rules, she ha ...more
Oct 16, 2009 Lexie rated it it was ok
The very first thing to come to my mind after I originally read the synopsis for Girl in the Arena was 'Wow, I thought I had marriage issues!' (the synopsis I read was more detailed then the one above by the by). Lyn decides to go head to head against Uber (the young fighter) in order not to marry him, to the death. Though really its more then that. Very few, if any, of the people of Girl in the Arena are such simple creatures.

Lyn doesn't want to be a Glad-wife like her mother, Allison, but at t
Apr 22, 2011 Rochelle rated it it was ok
I liked this book in the beginning but by the end it was a sinking ship. Lise Haines pastes us in this alternate "now" where Gladiator sport is the norm and watching them fight and maim each other to death is the most popular entertainment in the world. Glads are treated like full blown celebs like Angelina and Brad, they're chased by paparazzi, give tv interviews, are adored by fans, etc. The whole glad culture had a religious feel to it with all its laws and rules that have to be obeyed or you ...more
May 28, 2010 Jessica rated it really liked it
Shelves: youngadult
I secretly would like to learn to really fight, with a sword, or martial arts, so you can see the appeal of this book for me: the basic premise is an alternate reality in which gladiator fighting is fast becoming the biggest sport in the world. That hooked me for sure! But could it really deliver beyond that basic premise?

Oh, yeah!

There was so much more going on in this book! The "gladiator lifestyle", as dictated by the Gladiatorial Sport Association by-laws, is a rigid code of conduct that aff
Feb 15, 2010 Chachic rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Chachic by: Angie
Originally posted at Chachic's Book Nook.

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 l
Miki Garrison
Mar 29, 2010 Miki Garrison rated it it was amazing
This is an amazing book that really stands out above the crowd in a lot of ways. I think it would appeal to a wide range of readers, and I have already passed it on or recommended it to many of my friends.

The book is about Lyn, the daughter of a gladiator in a near future world where gladiators not only fight to the death for glory and TV contracts, but also live by a strict social code that governs not only their lives, but also those of their wives and children.

Here are some of the many thin
Apr 07, 2010 Nan rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Years ago, one of my goodreads friends gave this book an amazing review, and it's been on my radar ever since.

When I saw a few days ago that my library had an ebook copy available to lend, I snatched it up with glee. Now all that I can say is that I'm glad I didn't pay the $5 to buy it.

There are many things that I did not like about this book; in fact, there are so many things that I find it difficult to number them all. Therefore, I will stick to the biggest complaint: I could not suspend by d
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Madison Mega-Mara...: Girl in the Arena 1 2 May 15, 2012 06:40PM  
  • Drought
  • Nomansland
  • Pastworld
  • The Unidentified
  • Void (Hex, #1-3)
  • Crashed (Cold Awakening, #2)
  • Memento Nora (Memento Nora, #1)
  • Seiyuu-ka! 11
  • Days Like This
  • All You Get Is Me
  • My Father's Son
  • Future Imperfect (Future Imperfect, #1)
  • Epitaph Road
  • The Returners
  • Restoring Harmony
  • The Silenced
  • Legacy (Legacy, #1)
  • Grace
LISE HAINES is the author of three novels, Girl in the Arena, Small Acts of Sex and Electricity (a Book Sense Pick in 2006 and one of ten “Best Book Picks for 2006” by the NPR station in San Diego), and In My Sister’s Country,, a finalist for the 2003 Paterson Fiction Prize. Her short stories and essays have appeared in a number of literary journals and she was a finalist for the PEN Nelson Algren ...more
More about Lise Haines...

Share This Book