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Wicked Games #1

Wicked Games

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To all the locals in the small beach town of Dream Point, Carter and Lilah seem like the perfect It Couple—but their relationship is about to brutally unravel before everyone’s eyes.

Carter has always been a good guy, and while Lilah has a troubled past, she’s been a loyal girlfriend for the last four years. When smart, sexy Jules enters the picture at a senior-year bash, Carter doesn’t intend to succumb to temptation. He’s not planning to fall in love.

But Carter’s best intentions add up to nothing when Lilah catches wind of his betrayal—and decides that Jules needs to pay. By the end of the summer, the line between right and wrong will be blurred beyond recognition. Blood will be shed. Nothing in Dream Point will ever be the same.

Wicked Games is the first book in a sexy thriller series where passion, lies, and revenge collide.

343 pages, Hardcover

First published June 10, 2014

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About the author

Sean Olin

7 books69 followers
Sean Olin is the author of Killing Britney, a 2005 ALA Quick Pick for Reluctant Young Adult Readers. He lives in New York City.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 190 reviews
June 26, 2014
Usually, I'm the one person who hates a book that everyone else has loved. For once, that's not the case. I seem to be the only person who loved this book, and I can't understand why. This book is awesome. And for some reason, the reviews have been like 1-1-1-1-2-1-1 across the board. Huh.

One of my friends who have read this book described it as watching a train wreck. Yep, that's exactly it. It's watching a psychological train wreck as it unfolds, and I love every moment of it.

The main character in this book is a psycho bitch. She really, truly is. There's no kind way to put it. She's insane, she should be on medication, but surprise, surprise, like so many mentally ill people, she refuses to take her meds. The result is a psychological wreck from which you cannot look away.

I've worked in a mental hospital before. I've worked in an emergency room in downtown LA before, and so trust me when I tell you that the craziest people I know are neither hospitalized nor institutionalized. They live and walk among us. They're the sociopaths. Manipulative lovers, friends, those who will simply take things too far. Those who will take advantage of us. Those who will wring every ounce of sympathy out of a situation. Those who I like to call "emotional vampires" because they will suck the life out of you.

This is a book about one such person.

It has:

1. An amazing, realistic portrayal of mental illness. The emotional manipulation. The lies. The self-hate. The sense of knowing that one is sick, but not being able to control yourself or your thoughts. The sense of wrongness.

2. An excellent depiction of cheating. It deals with cheating in a manner that I felt was sensitive, that made me, who hates the matter, supportive of the people involved.

3. A nice guy. Seriously. I felt like the love interest within this book was awesome. He struggles a lot, dealing with a girlfriend who is mentally ill, and I supported him despite everything.

4. No slut shaming. The teens in this book sleep with each other. They cheat. I never got the sense of shame, of self-hate, of recrimination by others that there is something shameful in sexuality.

If you like psycho characters, if you revel in other people's suffering, this is the book for you.

The Summary:
“You haven’t gone off your meds or whatever, have you?” he asked quietly.
Lilah’s face fell in disbelief. “Are you really asking me that?”
“Like I said, I’m worried about you,” Carter said.
Lilah didn’t answer.
Once upon a time, Carter and Lilah were a fairytale. They have been dating since 9th grade, one of those rare couples who have stayed together throughout high school, supporting each other through thick and thin. Once upon a time, Lilah was a bright, sparkling young woman, filled with joy and life.
“You’ve got a spark in you. Like a drive, you know what I mean? I’m always so worried about doing the right thing that I wouldn’t have dared do that without you.”
Once upon a time, Lilah was normal.

It is now their senior year of high school, and the fairy tale looks more like a fever dream.
you haven’t gone off your meds or whatever, have you?” he asked quietly.
Lilah’s face fell in disbelief. “Are you really asking me that?”
It occurred to Carter that she hadn’t answered his question.
Lilah is sick. She is mentally ill. She needs to take her medications. She is self-destructive, she is paranoid. She has few friends, because slowly, she has driven them away through harassment and paranoia. A once-promising swimmer, Lilah has since been kicked off the team.
In her manic exhaustion, she searched down the phone numbers not only of Melissa, but also of the Coral Gables coach and the principal of the school. She’d called them so many times that they’d reported her to Coach Randolph and Lilah had been kicked off the team.
Carter still loves her, he still cares about her, but it seems like he's staying together more out of duty than love.
She quickly covered her cuts with her hand. “I thought you were going to leave me. After what I did,” she said.
The thought of what she might do if he broke up with her sent a cold spike plunging through his heart.
Lilah has slowly withdrawn into herself, but Carter manages to gently talk her into attending a party thrown by one of his best friends.

The party was a disaster. Lilah has a tendency to blow up minor events, and this party was no different.
She knew he wasn’t criticizing her—he was just trying to be funny, or cute or something. But she couldn’t help but feel like he should have just said thank you.
Small things add up, and before she knows it, Lilah has gone down on one of her downward spirals.
So she took another swig of rum and Coke. She couldn’t get drunk fast enough. It was the only way she knew how to escape the feeling that everyone here was laughing at her behind her back.
Before long, Lilah ends up on a roof, drunk, almost fallen to her death before she is rescued by Carter. Lilah's friends volunteer to take her home, leaving Carter there, wondering what the hell just happened. Exhausted and frightened as fuck, but finally able to relax.
Whether or not he wanted to admit it to himself, it was the first time he breathed all night.
But he's not alone in his contemplation. A girl is there, Jules. They start talking, and before they know it, Carter realizes that this girl is funny, she's smart, she's beautiful. She is normal. And despite himself, Carter can't help feeling the attraction.
He relaxed a tick. He couldn’t help it. She was so comfortable with herself—you could see it in her posture, in her easy conversation, in the way she was able to look at the things outside herself without worrying about how they related to her—that she put him at ease.
Then he gets a text from Lilah.
“WHYD U MAKE ME GO TO THAT PARTY?” it said.
Really, was it any contest?

This story is about Lilah, and Carter, and Jules. It is about a young man struggling to do the right thing, a young woman who just wants to be with him, knowing the challenges.
“It’s okay. I don’t expect you to all of a sudden be my boyfriend. I understand. You’ve been with her forever. I don’t want to be the girl who broke up the class couple.”
And the trouble girl standing in between them.
What she felt was fear. And rage. And a despair so huge and heavy she felt like it might smother her, weigh her down, pull her into the ground, where she’d be buried forever.
Lilah:
She struggled with all her might to stop the tears from falling down her cheeks. She understood that he felt he had been wronged. But didn’t he understand that she’d been wronged, too? She ached all over from how badly she’d been wronged.
Lilah is the mentally ill, emotionally manipulative main character, and I thought her character was brilliantly portrayed. She is not without sympathy. Lilah is seriously sick, she needs her medication, but she cannot be relied upon to take them. Lilah knows that there's something wrong with her. She is completely understanding of the fact that she is not right. She has reason, she sees reason, it's just that often, her brain overrides common sense.
She regretted every single thing she’d done, and her regret made her hate herself and her self-hatred filled her with an uncontrollable need to hear Carter tell her that everything was okay.
She has been with Carter for so long that he has become her life. He has become her identity, and she will stop at nothing to get him back. I thought her hurt and anger and lack of self-control was well-written.
“No. You don’t get to decide when I calm down.” Another surge of rage and she went at him with all the strength she contained. When he held her off with a stiff arm, she clamped her fingers into his arm and dug into his skin with her nails. He’d hurt her; why shouldn’t she hurt him back?
Carter:
She’s so anxious, though. She needs me so much.” He furrowed his eyebrows. “And she holds on so tightly that she doesn’t realize she’s...killing us.”
Jules felt for him. She understood his fear. Walking away from love was hard—even if the love was bad.
“I don’t want to hurt her,” he said.
I bloody loved Carter. Yes, he cheats on Lilah, but there is so much guilt within him.

I know it's a stupid thing to say about a guy who cheats on his girlfriend, but I felt like Carter has so much integrity. I don't think it's a stretch to say that a lot of guys would just dump a troublesome girlfriend, particularly one during the volatile years of high school. Carter doesn't do that. He remains with Lilah. He feels a responsibility for her. He watches over her. He is more of a babysitter than a boyfriend at times, and he bears his tasks with such earnestness. I truly felt bad for him.

The thing with cheating is that you have to make the cheaters to be likeable, deeply sympathetic people and I felt like this book did that exceptionally well.
“So, look. Things with Lilah are—I don’t even know what they are. We’re going to talk later this afternoon. So, we’ll see. I need to figure things out in my head . . . and . . .” He blushed. “I mean, I should get my shit together before I start messing with yours. It’s not fair. It’s not fair to you and it’s not fair to Lilah. You know what I mean? I shouldn’t be starting new things with new people when I’m in the middle of a great big confusing thing already.”
There are a lot of insecurities, a lot of moral struggles, a lot of guilt. and I was wholly in support of Carter the entire time.

Jules: Oh, sure, she's a drama hipster, but I liked her a lot despite the fact. Maybe it's because she, in her own way, is damaged. She, too, is insecure. She is so refreshingly normal in contrast. Jules knows that Carter and Delilah are complicated. She didn't want to get caught up in the middle, but her attraction for Carter overreaches that common sense. Still, Jules is not clingy. She is reasonable. She gives Carter space to deal. She is not desperate to be loved.
“I get it. Hey, I don’t want to get involved in some crazy cheating thing, either.”
“So,” he said. “Friends?”
She wanted to take his hand in hers and tell him to let her know if he changed his mind. But she knew better than to do that.
Instead, she smirked. “Friends,” she said.
And have I mentioned that she has an awesome, awesome mother?
“Did you hear me?” she said. “It’s not your fault. You don’t have to own problems he’s created for himself. Okay?”
Jules nodded.
“But,” her mom said, arching her eyebrows, “be careful. Guys with girlfriends...they have no idea what they want. And they’ll charm you into thinking that it doesn’t matter. You should know that by now, given the example I’ve set for you.”
“I know,” Jules said. “You’re right. It’s just...”
Jules’s mom patted her hand, and then gave it a playful squeeze. “It’s just that they’re so hard to resist,” she said.
They smiled at each other, almost but not quite ashamed of this truth.
Profile Image for Emily May.
1,921 reviews290k followers
July 3, 2014
By the time they crossed the Georgia state line, they’d forgotten all about the green Mazda, but if they’d looked, they would have seen that it was still behind them...

Thank you, Khanh!

Well... holy shit. I nearly passed this one up because of all the negative reviews - just look down the page at all those one stars - but it was Khanh's review that piqued my curiosity. I often find myself being in the minority on books, though it's usually a case where I wasn't feeling the magic from a book everyone else is raving about, so I decided to take a chance on this one. My thought was "I'll just try a few pages and see..." and the next thing I knew it was over and my heart was literally racing.

Personally, I think whoever did the design and marketing for this book got it all wrong. This is not a lusty teenage romance full of empty-headed characters; in fact, it's far closer to being a psychological thriller of the Abigail Haas variety. I was literally hooked. It's frightening. It's engaging. It has well-developed characters. Being a teen makes most people experience the edge of insanity from time to time and I think Olin shows that, and then proceeds to show how someone can cross the line bit by bit every day.

The, in my opinion, AMAZING characters:

This book is about three people - Lilah, Carter and Jules - who do some pretty damn awful things. But I felt like characterization and careful understanding and sympathy are never neglected by the author. These people are appalling. Carter is dating Lilah but cheats on her with Jules, and Lilah is absolutely fucking crazy (no exaggeration). And yet... and yet I felt completely absorbed into their lives and stories. It was a rare occasion where cheating, though still not forgivable, is told in such a way that I understood and sympathised with both parties.

Lilah:

Similarly, I loved the way Lilah's character was handled. I can't help smiling to myself now as I recall how bitter, twisted and insane she was. She is a fantastic portrait of a teenage girl's gradual descent into insanity. She is interesting, she is a villain, but she's more than that too. Because, whatever she may go on to do, I felt such a sadness for Lilah - especially towards the beginning - because I remember how it feels to be an angsty teenager and worry that you're not good enough and nothing will ever be right again.

I'm surprised more people don't sympathise with Lilah's self-destructive personality. Obviously it's completely unhealthy, but I found her a highly sympathetic character in the beginning of the book - maybe this says something about me as a teenager ^_^ - and there were certain scenes that seriously wrenched at my gut. I think it would have been very easy for the author to drop these kinds of characters into boxes but he steered clear of them all. There was zero slut-shaming, the guy was sweet and gentlemanly... I liked Wicked Games a lot.

Really bloody scary:

I do not get scared. I swear. Only with real life spiders because they're obviously up to something (why else would they need EIGHT legs, hmm?). But this book freaked me out. Like heart-pounding "the door's locked, right? are you sure???" kind of freaked out. It's just that I'm more likely to be affected by scary real life things than scary horror things because, duh, I'm probably not going to get eaten by a werewolf anytime soon. And, honestly, parts of this book are genuinely terrifying.

Ending:

Also, I LOVED the ending. I thought that was just sheer brilliance, to be honest. I'm not sure if the author has set it up for a sequel or if he intends to leave it hanging there (which would be deliciously evil), but I'm good with both.

So, I'm pleased to be in the positive minority for once, but I'm a little surprised. I wonder if part of it has something to do with the way this book appears to be something it isn't... a lot of readers - sometimes myself included - don't like to get something they hadn't bargained for. We don't want to pick up a "dystopia" and get a romance, even a well-written one. It's like... I like chicken and I like ice cream but I wouldn't want to get one when I ordered the other. Okay... what am I even talking about anymore? Just: maybe take a chance on this one, you might be surprised :)

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Profile Image for Faye, la Patata.
492 reviews2,105 followers
May 22, 2014
Also seen on the Not-So-Literary Heiresses blog.
Find me on Twitter! I don't bite

-----

There are two types of trainwrecks.

The first is the kind in which you want to look away because it disturbs you and makes you uncomfortable. The second is the kind in which you know it's going to get flat-out ugly, and yet you can't look away because you want to see how it will end up.

Wicked Games by Sean Olin is of the latter.

Looking at the cover, you'd think this book comprises of steamy romance and erotica galore, of naked dudes and dudettes getting their hotness on, but don't be fooled. This book is about a girl who intentionally doesn't take her medication, gets all crazy about the simplest of things, and then sets out for the most extreme of revenges when she finds out her boyfriend is cheating on her. It is utterly pointless, with no values to impart or any messages to send across to its readers - it's just full of events after events that become disastrous with each passing page.

And yet, I couldn't stop reading.

Lilah and Carter had the most perfect relationship. But it all changed when one day Lilah lost in a swimming competition, and she couldn't let go of her defeat, to the point that it made her irrationally behave at the slightest of triggers. Carter, however, was tired of her behavior, of having to be worried of possible breakdowns. That's why when he met carefree, laid-back, and beautiful Jules, who was everything Lilah wasn't, he couldn't help but be attracted to her. He was so smitten, that it ended up with them having sex. What he just didn't expect were the steps Lilah were willing to make to ensure her place in Carter's heart once she found out his secret affair.

This book is quite difficult to review. For one, I was certainly entertained. As disturbing as this may sound, it was somewhat fascinating to watch people dig their graves even further, knowing full-well the consequences of their actions. Imagine it this way: you're driving, and you see people gathering in one area. Two cars, from opposite directions, collided. In your mind, you know very well that there have been casualties, but somehow you can't help but slow down your car and crane your neck in order to take a better look. That's how it felt.

But on the other hand, it was an annoying read as well. Believe me when I say this book was utterly pointless. There were absolutely no likeable characters. Not the crazy girlfriend, not the cheating boyfriend, and also not the other girl who stole Carter's heart. They all had a role to play in this big freaking mess, and seeing them trying to scramble and justify their actions was migraine-inducing.

Carter, the boyfriend, was a douchebag to the highest level. Like, dude, I get that you're fed up with Lilah and her episodes. I get what you're feeling. You're tired of having to constantly take care of her, to be careful of the things you say, to endure her depression, but that doesn't justify and give you the right to have sex with another girl behind her back. It was so frustrating to see him feel guilty one second, and then going to see the other girl next. Break up with her first, and then do whatever the hell it is that you want. If you can't break up with her, then try harder to resist other girls' charms. And you wonder why Lilah made your life a living hell after that? I don't want to say that you deserved all the humiliation and chaos, but you really did. #SorryNotSorry

Jules, meanwhile, was another big UGH. She's supposedly this likeable, kind, cheerful girl who everybody in the school loves, but I just couldn't put myself to like her. First off, she knew Carter had a girlfriend. And yet, she did nothing to stop the dangerous route their relationship was taking. Heck, after they did the deed, she was so happy and ecstatic, she pretty much danced and skipped on her way back home. Fuck the consequences, she was just contented to have done it with him. I hated how she knew he had Lilah, but she encouraged cheating anyway.

And you know what was worse? When she confessed to her mother what she did ("Hey mom, I just had sex with a guy who has a girlfriend! Awesome, huh?"), the mother had the gall to tell her that if something bad happened, it wasn't her fault.



Hold it -- WHAAAAAAAT?!
Excuse me, dear mother, but if two people willingly committed infidelity, it's BOTH their fault. It takes two to dance the tango. Your daughter knew. Your daughter didn't hesitate. Your daughter was happy to have done it. So please, cut the bullshit.

At least Lilah had every reason to do what she did. Not saying she should have done them, because what she did were quite extreme and she could have handled it differently, but she had every right to be angry at both of them. She also wasn't likeable as she kept thinking Jules was the enemy and that Carter was a victim (um, no), and she had all these dangerous thoughts that made her an unreliable character.

From page one until the end, we don't really see anything apart from Lilah make her revenge. The book's really just one big WTFery, so I had hoped the epilogue at least would give us something to learn from aside from "don't be a fucking cheater" and "take your medication", but it was just another WTF. Let's just say the cycle continues and I was left scratching my head, thinking, "What the hell did I just read...?"

All in all, don't read this book if you hate pointless things, unlikeable characters, and trainwrecks waiting to happen. But if you're the type who likes to see such explode, be my guest and knock yourself out. I was kind of both, but in the end, if you ask me whether or not I'll read this again, I'll have to refuse. I'm not a sadist, thanks.
Profile Image for Ann.
446 reviews81 followers
Shelved as 'no-thanks'
February 21, 2015
"When smart, sexy Jules enters the picture at a senior-year bash, Carter succumbs to temptation. And when Lilah catches wind of his betrayal, she decides that Jules needs to pay."

Really now? REALLY? How about you take revenge on the guy who frigging cheated on you? Ugh.
Profile Image for Giselle.
1,049 reviews908 followers
March 31, 2016
An Electronic Advanced Reader Copy was provided by the publisher via Edelweiss for review.

Cheating, slut shaming, bullying, stalking, threats of distributing photos online.. You want every single conniving way to hurt someone? This book had it. I couldn't really believe anyone would be this cruel or sadistic. I just could not like ANY of these characters. Not one gave me anything to like about. These characters don't care about any one and I pretty much deemed all of them to be terrible people. I believed in second chances, but these characters didn't even learn or grow at all. They grew even worse.

Boy drops his girlfriend because he thinks she's psycho then he ends up falling in love with a new girl. Then this hero ends up being full on obsessed with her! I couldn't even read the rest, but I had to given the fact that I thought one of them would change. I was so wrong.

I hated how mental illness is the "cause" of all of the character's psychotic ways. I wished the author actually did some research because it's not how depression is really like. Also I pretty much hated all the characters.. Carter for stringing along both girls.. Not even the "mistress" gets a free pass.. She knew she was hurting people and still did it anyway.

Pass on if you don't want to read about selfish people stomping on others to get their way because you'll want to throw this book against a wall.

RATING 1/5

QUOTES

"Your life is one long botched abortion."

"When you've lived here your whole life, you start to take all this beauty for granted. You need someone else to remind you to see it."

"But sometimes, no matter how hard you try, things just don't work out. You're not always in control of everything, no matter how much you want to be."

"I need you. When you're not around, I feel like...like I don't have any reason to exist."

"He'd hurt you; why shouldn't she hurt him back?"
Profile Image for Megan.
511 reviews344 followers
May 30, 2014
I read Sean Olin's WICKED GAMES roughly 6 months ago, drawn in immediately by its cover and promise when I received an ARC for review. At that time, I didn't know it would be a series (how and why, I do not know) but I did see that it sounded interesting enough. Diving into the book, it even started interesting enough, until the point where it became one of the worst offending books I have ever read when it comes to demonizing those that suffer from mental illness.

The story follows a teen couple that has been together forever, except the girlfriend is very, very attached to her boyfriend. When the boyfriend, Carter, strays at a party, abandoning his girlfriend and being a complete ass to her in order to meet and fall for the hippy dippy Jules, his scorned girlfriend Lilah (already showing signs of mental illness, and a needy wreck) plots revenge against Jules for stealing her boyfriend away from her, even though it was totally all Carter that really made the moves to begin with.

So what does a respectable teenage girlfriend do when her boyfriend of years breaks up with her for another girl that he claims to have fallen instalove with? Plot revenge and murder against his new girlfriend, who is totally a complete hussy (in Lilah's mind) to convince Carter she is the one and only.

WAIT.

This review is going to be less a review and more a rant, because I cannot sit idly by and watch a book written for teens so inaccurately portray a teenage girl's mental illness as little more than jealousy and hatred. Lilah is suffering from something that those around her admit has been treated by a doctor. She has been prescribed medication that nobody seems to enforce her taking. Her parents just shrug and pretend nothing is really wrong when she begins to inflict a stream of horrible, grievous crimes against Jules, including stealing Jules' sexy nude videos for Carter made while she was underage and playing them at graduation.

Carter, who claims that he loved Lilah, doesn't even try and get Lilah help. In fact, he does nothing to realize that she is having a crisis that needs help, even when her parents do nothing to stop her other than shipping her off to another college while he and Jules go off together into the sunset. In fact, everyone in this book seems to be naive beyond belief, from the teenagers to the parents to the school officials who also seem ignorant of the fact a child in their care has gone off the rails.

Mental health portrayed as a villainous trait, untreated and mostly ignored by loved ones, is just one of the tropes I wish would die, especially in YA. It's harmful, misleading, and just completely ignorant of reality, and it is not sexy.



In short, no, I cannot and will not recommend this book. And I feel bad for this review because I am sure Mr. Olin had good intentions in writing this "sexy thriller" that is a "juicy summer read", but the end result is something so offensive to those suffering from mental health issues that it's just a big fat no.
Profile Image for Mlpmom (Book Reviewer).
2,976 reviews362 followers
May 30, 2014
2.5 Stars

Let me start by saying that the synopsis for this one really doesn't prepare you for this book. It is very mild compared to what you actually get, which is one girl who is severely disturbed and needs help. One girl who plans on taking revenge to all the people (or one very specific person) she feels has wronged her and doing it by any means imaginable.

I normally love third person layouts in books but once in a great while I will come across one that just doesn't work and sadly, this one just didn't work for me. Instead of being intrigued that I got the views of all those involved, it ended up feeling chaotic and therefore made me feel very disconnected to the story and its characters. It left the chapters feeling disjointed and sometimes even somewhat hard to follow.

What this does, however, have going for it is that the actual premises of the story is pretty out there. Is pretty intriguing and so against your better judgment, you can't help but read on and want to know more.

You can't help being both fascinated and terrified at how crazy and unstable Lilah gets as the story progresses.

I was all set out to feel for Lilah and her circumstance, after all, cheating is never justified and yet, and yet, the author had me rethinking that..to an extent. In fact, I felt more for Carter and Jules than anyone else, at least in the beginning. By the end, honestly, I really didn't know what to think. A nice surprising twist yes, which I did love but also disturbing and so out of the blue that I couldn't help but laugh and the irony of it all.
Profile Image for Elle.
629 reviews68 followers
December 23, 2013
This one is a DNF for me. Once I realized where the novel was going, I saw that it was not for me. I don't like to read stories where mental health issues are used as plot devices. They tend to fail at whatever the author intends and irritates me as a reader. The first chapter was absolutely beautiful and I thought it would prove to set the stage for the remainder of the book. I was wrong and quickly discovered Wicked Games was not the book for me. I'd give it 2 out of 5 stars for effort and the flawless first chapter. Had I read any further into the book, it'd be a definite 1 star read.
Profile Image for Diana Ouma.
223 reviews12 followers
August 8, 2016
Wicked games is on another level of messed up. It was really disconcerting to live through the thoughts of a mentally unstable person. Sometimes I had to stop reading just the breathe. The reason Wicked Games isn't five stars is because it's so depressing. I felt a pressure build up in me. I did in a weird way enjoy this novel. But I will definitely not be reading the second. This isn't my cuppa.
Profile Image for Christiana.
1,396 reviews21 followers
January 4, 2014
Maybe you've been wondering about this book! In a word: don't.

I get why this book exists: it's messed up (people like messed up books eg. Gone Girl!) and it's a love story gone very wrong (people like that eg. Othello and "Swimfan"!). However, the execution of this is nothing to write home about. The plot is horrifying (the moral of this book is that everyone needs to stay on their medication), but in a way that goes just a bit too far, especially for all the characters in the book to turn a blind eye to the unbelievable (really) shenanigans of our antag. When not in grave peril, characters become bland and boring.

Despite all of this, I thought this book was ok until I got to that epilogue. This is a case of a series where a stand alone makes more sense so, this felt very thrown in at the end. It's too bad it makes no sense and doesn't match up to the characterization (what little there was) Olin has haphazardly created up to that point.

Profile Image for Dark Faerie Tales.
2,274 reviews544 followers
April 9, 2014
Review courtesy of Dark Faerie Tales

Quick & Dirty: In Wicked Games, an engaging, memorable story will have you sitting of the edge of your seat.

Opening Sentence: “Are you sure you’re okay?” asked Carter.

The Review:

Lilah and Carter met as freshman. That first year, their love was strong, and it seemed as if nothing could tear them apart. But cracks are forming that are starting to show. All it takes is one night with Jules and one depressed, jealous girlfriend to make actions spiral out of control, and tears, sweat, and even blood will be shed.

This is an intensely hooking novel. From the start, I was a little nervous I was starting a another typical love story with typical characters and a typical plot. The first chapter is on a beach, with two young lovers, so that strengthened my fear. Don’t get me wrong, I love me some romance, but I’ve been reading a lot of those lately, so when I realized it was much more than a cheesy love story, I was estatic. Let me tell you, this captured me and reeled me in on a hook, with it’s unique characters, enrapturing plot, and beautiful writing style. The characters were right next to me, acting out the words on the page. Just, wow!

Carter is a swoon-worthy male character, caring, affectionate, with a tinge of rebellion. When his girlfriend is being rude and over-dramatic, then threatens to hurt herself if he leaves her. You could say it’s a pretty rough patch to be in. But Carter handles it with an admirably calm exterior, though we, the readers, get to see the tumultuous storm of emotions on the inside. Jules was also an amazing one, and I fell in love with her point of view. Lilah’s the crazy one, the moody one, the one that made me think a murderer was lurking in every corner. Her POV was also exceptionally well done. Just enough humanity to make me feel sorry for her, and empathy for her case.

Uch. The ending. The ending of this book was surprising, heartbreaking, horrible, in so many ways. It was sadly ironic. I don’t want to give too much away, so I’ll stop there. Don’t try to infer what happens, because I didn’t say what character the horrible thing happens to, so technically, you will probably be way off if you guess. I know I was, even though I was waiting for a different tragedy.

For anyone fitting in the new adult or young adult categories, I think you’ll love this one. It’s mysterious, beautiful, amazing, I can’t say enough good things about it! I hope you check it out because I know you won’t be disappointed. This book has it all — a killer romance, awesome characters, a unique plotline, and lots of action. You’ll be pulled in like I was and I know you’ll be left begging for more of this author’s work!

Notable Scene:

“Lilah,” he said. “What happened? To your legs?”

She quickly covered her cuts with her hand. “I thought you were going to leave me.”

FTC Advisory: Katherine Tegen Books/HarperCollins provided me with a copy of Wicked Games. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.
197 reviews166 followers
January 20, 2015
View more content on my blog: Out of Time

I was initially excited for this book and ended up being heavily disappointed. It sounded like a thrilling read that would keep me captivated throughout the novel. What actually happened was I was rolling my eyes instead. I wasn't bored with the story, but it was definitely something I would never take seriously if read.

Here's another book where the MC has a mental illness used as a plot device. There is no real mention of her having a medical mental illness, yet everyone knows. Even her own mother says "she's been refusing her meds" like we're discussing the weather. With the way the MC, Lilah was acting, the people around her should've been worried for her health. That is what would've happened in the real world but you know, it's a story. Let's get all our facts wrong and make things up as we go.

I think I hated every single character. Lilah and Carter were the "It" Couple and then comes Jules who "steals Carter away" by Lilah's definition. This was the biggest problem I had with this novel. Jules genuinely liked Carter and we can't help who we fall for. Carter liked Jules. Perfect right? And then there's Lilah, who Carter never let go of. Lilah pretty much said "Carter, if you leave me, I will cut myself or kill myself" or something of that sort. Isn't that Sign #1 that Lilah needs help? No. Carter thinks that he can help her.

Idiot...

Jules was flat and I found her very boring. She had her personality, but because this novel was a Lilah show, Jules had very little character and even less layers. Carter was an idiot. He was such a complete jerk to Lilah. Sure, Lilah's unstable, but that's the point. She's sick. She needs help. The least Carter could've done would be to do something to get Lilah help, instead of just break up with her for Jules.

And then the plot was problematic. It reminded me of a horror movie with the way Lilah was getting her "revenge" on Jules (even though it was Carter who cheated on her). It was entertaining yet so stupid and unbelievable. Lilah "getting" Jules made up the important part, not that Jules made it hard for Lilah to get dirt on her. And then the ending was so choppy and "eye-roll worthy" that I was glad to turn the final page.

This is not a book that I would want to read again. It was like a crappy celebrity magazine; you read it for entertainment, but you don't actually care about the info inside of it.
Profile Image for Im.smoking.ouid.rn.
312 reviews51 followers
April 19, 2015
This was painful.

This book was terrible.
The sad thing is that I'll probably read the next book just because the covers are gorgeous!


I mean: gorgeous!

It really sucks that this book wasn't good because I was really hoping that it would be amazing! It sounds good, the characters sound likeable, the storyline sounds awesome (I was looking for a revenge book after Burn for Burn).
I think the ultimate downfall for this book was the amount of POV's and the author never letting you know who's POV you are reading. It is something you have to guess yourself. But it's not only that, they decided to write this book in third person.
Most third person YA books don't end well. It is actually very annoying to read third person because it sounds like you are watching them but never able to know exactly how they feel.

Carter was asking for Lilah to do this. He cheated on her, even when he knew that he never actually wanted to be with her. He realized that they were coming to an end, but wouldn't break up with her for fear of what she might do to herself.
Well, Carter I have one thing to tell you: It's a good thing you waited because now she doesn't want to harm herself she wants to harm you.
And Jules?


I really hated her. Maybe I'm just not into her style or the way she views things, but she annoyed me so much. When something happened to her in the books, I found myself grinning evilly rather than being sad.
I hope that doesn't make me a bad person, but I didn't care much for her (not saying I would ever wish anything Lilah upon anyone).
And there first encounter? It makes me cringe reading it. Just reading something like that (sex on the beach if you will) through third person is odd. either that, or just reading this authors writing may be odd to me.

So I was hoping for a book from Lilah's POV and Carter being a really bad guy and the story being great, but it wasn't. It ended really stupidly with something that just makes you roll your eyes.



So not a great book.

Rating: 1/10
Parental Rating:
Profile Image for Cheryl.
5,017 reviews178 followers
August 22, 2014
Ok, so this is one book that took me by surprise in how much I really liked it. In fact, I was more than about a third of the way down with this book before I put it down. Stopping reading was not really the choice I wanted to do but I needed to turn out the light and get some sleep. This is the down side of starting a book in bed at night before going to sleep. Sometimes you choose a really good one like Wicked Games and then are having a dilemma...two sleep or not to sleep, that is the question.

While Carter and Jules were not that interesting. Well interesting enough that I wanted to find out what happened to them. It was Lilah that really made this book interesting. She was way crazy like mentally. She was so unstable that I was captivated by what she would do next. This story ended on a good note. It even had me shaking my head thinking this was a twisted, evil story. I wonder what the author has in store next.
Profile Image for Rose.
1,854 reviews1,047 followers
Shelved as 'curiosity-dries-the-rose'
June 25, 2014
Trying this one, though I have some reservations about it going in. Call it the curiosity bug (and that's gotten me into trouble more often times than not).
Profile Image for Rebecca.
764 reviews9 followers
October 7, 2017
This book was eerily creepy and not as much a romance book as I expected and was more psychological thriller.

There are three main characters, Carter Lilah and Jules. Carter and Lilah have been best friends since Carter moved to town, they quickly became boyfriend and girlfriend. But Lilah has always had a few mental health problems and when Carter starts seeing Jules on dates etc Lilah looses it. Starts bullying Jules and causing issues for Carter.

There are few secondary characters because there is so much going on with the three main characters.

The storyline is not what I expected at all but it is very gripping and kind of creepy. The pacing is good although the ending was a little rushed.

3 stars
Profile Image for Crystal.
449 reviews89 followers
July 11, 2014
I am all for psychological thrillers. I for some reason just love all the craziness and tend to gravitate to these types of books. Unfortunately Wicked Games was a step in the wrong direction for me.

This book was just a mess from the get go. You see in the prologue Lilah and Carters relationship start off sweet and fun, but by the time they are seniors things have changed and Lilah is not the same girl she once was. I wasn't quite sure what to think honestly. Lilah was such a pain and I felt for Carter. He was there for her even when she was being mean and downright nasty to him. Then I saw why she was this way...well I read that she was on medication for a problem but that was about as far as the explanation went. So I said well she needs help and this is where this story is going to take me, but I was wrong. There is cheating, stalking, violence, and a little fatal attraction thrown in. Usually this is my type of crazy but not this time.

I think if the author would have shown us when and how Lilah came to be this way I might have felt more for her. Don't get me wrong she definitely had a few screws loose, but there was a mental reason behind her actions that was never really explained. Yes we get a few short paragraphs detailing the event that led up to her medication, but for me that's not enough. Show me conversations between her parents, her therapist, her doctor something. I can't just buy into the fact that this girl is this troubled for no reason.

Well when she finds out what Carter did she really flies off the handle and things get worse for the other party involved. Again I find myself mad at the parents of both sides. If my daughter went through what Jules went through I would not just get a restraining order. I would press as many charges as I could to make sure this person went somewhere away from my child. Both parents just kinda go okay you feel sorta bad you say you won't do anything else so we well just let it all go with a restraining order. HELLO does that ever work??

The cheating...where do I even begin. This is the only part of the story where I felt sad for Lilah. She didn't deserve to be cheated on by Carter. Yes she was a mess, yes she needed major help and yes she didn't need to be with Carter. Carter needed to man up and tell her in nicer way that they needed to break up. He knew she was unstable and after four years together she deserved more than what he gave her. I get that he couldn't do it anymore, but he should have talked to her parents and been honest with his feelings. Someone in Lilah's condition would have needed support and Carter should have been a little more understanding of that. He should never have cheated and left that for Lilah to deal with on her own. After he cheated and justified it to himself I just wanted to puke. This is the kind of character that I loath the most.

The part that bothered me the most though was the ending. After all the craziness I didn't care whether Carter ended up with a HEA because well he cheated and I just can't let that go no matter the reason, but I didn't expect what happened. It kinda felt like what goes around comes around and the sequel is going to mimic this book and I don't buy it. I know mental illness stems from something but really would lighting strike twice in the same general area?? It all just felt too off and left me going seriously that's how you are going to end this??

So no I was not a fan of this book. I thought it was a mess that really needed cleaning up. I don't even know if I think editing would help. There were just too many plot holes and the characters were not likable at all.
Profile Image for Richa.
430 reviews141 followers
April 28, 2014
Originally posted at City of Books

Firstly, I want to say that the synopsis of this book definitely does not prepare you for the craziness in it. I went into Wicked Games thinking it would be a fun and intriguing read about a girl trying to get her boyfriend back by sabotaging the girl he slept with. I thought I would be on Lilah's side. But boy, was I wrong. I couldn't bring myself to like any of the three main characters in this book, and that's mostly the reason I couldn't like the book either.

Lilah and Carter have been together for almost the entirety of high school. Lilah always thought they'd be together forever. But as she spirals down into depression as a result of not taking her meds, she becomes unbearable to be with. Carter wants out. And when he meets Jules, he knows he's found someone he could be happy with. But no way is Lilah going to let that happen. She strives to do everything she can to keep Jules away from Carter, no matter the consequence. And her deteriorating mental stability makes her actions take a very dark turn.

The first thing that put me off was the narration. It's third person omniscient, which means we get pretty much everyone's perspectives at some point. But it's all jumbled up, and it just made me feel really distanced from the characters. It did contribute towards the ominous feel of the plot later on, but throughout most of the book, it annoyed me.

Excuse the language, but Lilah is a fucking psycho. Right from the beginning. She starts off being really annoying and clingy to Carter, no wonder he wants to get away from her. And at one point she basically pimps herself out to Jules' ex-boyfriend just to get Carter back. Really? Man, she pissed me off. And really creeped me out. I hated her with a burning passion at some parts, and I just wanted to yell at Carter and Jules to finish her off already. I mean seriously, the things she does to Jules... I'm surprised the girl didn't strangle her.

Carter was no better. Okay, of course he was because no one's as bad as Lilah. But he pissed me off too. He's way too afraid to break things off with Lilah, and that could have meant avoiding all the ugliness later. But no, he sticks it out, the idiot. And then he in turn gets all clingy with Jules. I did like that he's really protective of her, but honestly there's no point feeling that way if you're just going to make a half-assed effort to do something about it.

Jules is sweet, and the only possibly redeeming feature of this book. Maybe. I've got nothing against her really, she's the victim in all this. She genuinely cares for Carter, and what she gets in return is a psycho bent on destroying her life. But Jules is also kind of a pushover, and a bit too naive for my liking. If I had someone like psycho Lilah stalking me, I'd do something about it, get her locked up early on before she does something serious. But Jules just lets everything go until the huge climax-showdown-thingy.

The irony at the end was a nice twist, though, and probably the only thing I kind of liked about this book. But it was mostly way too creepy and annoying for me. I'm sorry, but I really can't recommend this. To anyone. I guess some people would like it, but it just wasn't for me. Right now I'm just trying to get these characters out of my head, especially Lilah.

*Thank you to HarperCollins for providing me with an eARC for review*
Profile Image for Sarah Elizabeth.
4,670 reviews1,268 followers
January 24, 2014
(Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to HarperCollins and Edelweiss.)
17-year-old Lilah and her boyfriend Carter have been together for 4 years, but since Lilah started suffering from depression and anxiety, things haven’t been right between them.
At a party at a friend’s house, Lilah gets spectacularly drunk, and dives from the top of a 3-story building into the swimming pool. While she goes home, what she doesn’t realise it that Carter meets Jules, and begins to fall in love with her.
When Lilah realises what’s happening with Carter, she starts trying to get him back, but it seems she’s really pushing him further away.
Can Lilah get Carter back? What are her plans for Jules? And can Carter break away without driving Lilah to harm herself?


This was a good read, and I really liked the tension and anticipation of what would happen next.

I liked Carter, although he let other people rule his life to much. I understood that he had been with Lilah for a long time, but at points it seemed like he wasn’t so much helping her as enabling her.
Lilah was crazy – like seriously deranged. I got that she has some psychological issues, and she was obviously depressed, but her behaviour did get out of hand, and it wasn’t surprising that people started to be afraid of her.
I liked Jules, and I felt really sorry for her. Admittedly she knew what she was doing when she tried to start something with Carter, so she wasn’t exactly innocent, but she should have told someone about what Lilah was doing to her before it got quite so out of hand.

The storyline was pretty good. I liked not knowing what would happen next, and Lilah got crazier as the story went on. It really did get to the point where I couldn’t look I was so worried about what was coming, and it was obvious that this whole situation was not going to end well.
I suppose it was a fairly predictable ‘deranged ex-girlfriend’ story, but I liked it. The little flirtation between Jules and Carter was good, although this book wasn’t really about the romance.
I liked the ending, but wish I hadn’t read the epilogue, it was ironic, but it also kind of spoiled the happily ever after image.
Overall; good mystery/horror
7 out of 10.
Profile Image for Crina (Reading Addict).
355 reviews267 followers
April 5, 2014
Original post on http://readingadd.blogspot.ro/

When I saw this cover I thought that it was one of that sweet, cute/hot romances, but it wasn't. After I read the synopsis I knew that I wanted to read it, because it sounded intriguing, fast paced, with action and a little bit of crazyness. If you like contemporary, light reads, but also kind of revenge stories, then this is for you.

I read it in a couple of hours and the suspense kept me glued to the pages, because this characters... Lilah, as evil and crazy as she is, is such a smart and powerful character. And some of you may ask me how I could liked her? Why I liked her? Yes, she's kind of crazy, and so full of rage, and maybe she shouldn't go that far, but... I don't know, the story was so good, and she was a well created character and I liked her, for what she was. And Carter, really, I didn't liked him. I mean, kind of, was his fault, he wanted too much...

Guys, you may not know, but I like evil guys, or girls, and how they think and use their imagination to get revenge. And this book was such a good one. I think Lilah is now one of my favorite crazy-evil characters. Because she did anything to get what she wanted, she didn't back off, even when everybody thought that she left, and they could live happyly ever after.

Jules, I don't know, at first I liked her, but after some time for me she looked kind of weak. I expected her to fight back, but she kind of didn't, she needed help form others and in front of the tsunami Lilah... was kind of hard.

Especially in the second part of the book, when the story got even crazier and I was smiling like crazy here, because I was on the edge of the chair and I wanted so bad to know what was going to happen. And the end, guys. The end of the book! It took me by surprise, because I thought that the all bad ended. And then bam! I can't wait for the next one.

So, if you like this kind of books, read it; it's like a rollercoaster that which, with every chapter is going faster, and faster...until you forget to breath.
Profile Image for Gisbelle.
770 reviews218 followers
July 15, 2014
This is pretty much one of the most infuriating books I have ever read.

**Some mild spoilers ahead**

Let's get it straight that I didn't like any characters in this book. Lilah, the girlfriend, was super pathetic. She tried to hold on to a jerk who didn't even want her anymore. Who cares they had been together for so long. A cheater is not worth it!

Carter, the boyfriend, was a total douchebag. Whatever he did didn't change the fact that he was cheating bastard. It irritated me that he didn't have the gut to break up with his girlfriend (that him being honorable while pining over another girl). He kept saying that he couldn't do that, couldn't hurt Lilah... blah blah blah... But he went ahead and did just that.

Jules, the homewrecker, didn't have much quality in her that made her even remotely likeable in my opinion. So what if she and Carter got along well. Who in their right mind asking a guy with a girlfriend to skinny-dip in the dark and thinking nothing is going to happen?! It was obvious that she was trying to seduce him. Not that it made the cheating jerk any less guilty, but she was also the one to be blamed.

And the supporting mother who said it was okay for her daughter to mess around with a guy with a girlfriend because it was obvious that their relationship was not in good place, so it wasn't her fault whatsoever. Yeah, she was super supporting like that.

The writing was annoying with all the switching POV without any indication. It was all over the place. It was amazing how the author made all the girls in the book this pathetic. Some trying to look so dumb that boys would notice them. Gosh, I love that!

Profile Image for Naoms.
706 reviews161 followers
June 6, 2014
I just can't. Stories about guys who cheat on their obviously mentally unstable girlfriends, because she is mentally unstable are a major pet peeve of mine. Girls, who mess around with guys because the mess between him and his girlfriend is not her problem, is a major pet peeve of mine. Mental illness is a serious thing. It's just not ok for this author to use it as a plot point to excuse a cheating boyfriend or to make the girlfriend do insane things.

I prefer infidelity stories where no one is an obvious villain. Or, where the cheating person is excused due to their lovers behavior. None of these characters are like able. The prologue where Lila and Carter first date is so much more interesting than the first night of his trust with Jules. It makes Carter look fake. Initially, I forgot the synopsis and so loved the prologue. I rooted for them, but both of their actions is just too much for me.

Add to that the fact that the conversations are not natural. These teens just don't sound like anyone. It doesn't seem planned. It's not stylized. I just don't think the author read the dialogue out loud.

Mental illness is very serious. I think that Solon wants Lila to suffer from bipolar disorder, manic depression or schizophrenia, but it's not being handled well and is quite frankly offending me.

This book is filled with cliches and stereotypes and I didn't even get halfway. I think a lot of ppl will be drawn into the Pretty Little Liars/Gossip Girlesque drama, but it's not for me.
Profile Image for Jennifer.
939 reviews79 followers
November 29, 2015
The Good: I loved that Wicked Games pulled no punches. Lilah is mentally ill and goes off the deep end in a skincrawling fashion. She takes every scorned woman impulse and just goes with it, consequences be damned. Carter is obviously torn between caring for Lilah and wanting to escape her choke him with her love impulses. Carter makes stupid mistakes while dealing with a mentally unstable person and things escalate in a terrifying fashion. Lilah was scary, like really genuinely scary.

The Bad: Some of Carter's mistakes were understandable, but others were unrealistic and obviously used for plot progression only. His complete denial of possible danger towards the end of the book is absolutely impossible given what he's experienced up to that point.
Profile Image for Euls.
147 reviews25 followers
November 9, 2017
This book seriously creeped me out. It was not bad- however, I assumed it was going to be a naughty romance novel (because, yes, I judged the hook by its cover). Boy was I surprised. Lilah was a crazy psycho... that is the only way to put it. Also, what was that quote at the end about carter wanting to kill Jules?

"However, when she smiled at him, he was sure that he wanted to kill her."

What? I thought he was going to propose.. I'm confused! Overall the book was just okay. I won't be reading it again, but I will recommend it to people who like thrillers with crazy ex girlfriends...
Profile Image for Amy.
279 reviews
March 4, 2015
Dit boek riep zo veel verwarrende gevoelens op. Er komen ook zo veel aspecten tegelijk in voor: vriendschap, liefde, vreemd gaan, depressie...Dit boek vind ik vrij intimiderend. Ik kan gewoon niet goed uitleggen hoe ik mij er onder voel, daarvoor moet je hem zelf maar lezen. Maar de epiloog deed het hem!

(En waarom is dit boek genomineerd bij de Jonge Kinderjury? Terwijl dit boek in mijn bieb bij de volwassen staat? Ik zelf vind dat het er tussen zit: een spannende YA-thriller.)!
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