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The Stranger Game

3.85  ·  Rating details ·  1,411 ratings  ·  274 reviews
The Stranger Game is a dark, suspenseful, and twisty young adult novel—perfect for fans of Lauren Oliver and E. Lockhart—about fifteen-year-old Nico Walker, whose sister returns home after a four-year disappearance.

When Nico Walker's older sister mysteriously disappears, her parents, family, and friends are devastated. But Nico can never admit what she herself feels: relie
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published October 25th 2016 by Balzer + Bray
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Average rating 3.85  · 
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 ·  1,411 ratings  ·  274 reviews

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I tried to hear, in that one word, if she sounded like Sarah, and then realized, with an awful jolt, that I no longer remembered what Sarah sounded like. What she had sounded like. Before.

The Stranger Game is the story of a girl whose older sister went missing four years ago. Her family was deeply affected. Nico truly believed her sister to be dead after so many false leads and no new hope found. When the Morris family receive a phone call from Florida, everything changes. A girl saying her
Sep 29, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: october-2019
Jar of Death Pick #24

3.5 Stars

I've owned this book for about 3 years and I always intended to read this but for some reason or another I just kept putting it off. I'm glad I finally read it because I enjoyed this book so much.

I'm not going to give a lot of info about the plot of The Stranger Game because its best to go into this blind.

Nico Walker's older sister Sarah disappeared 4 years ago and it completely devastated her family. But then the most astonishing thing happens...

Sarah is found.
Liza Wiemer
Apr 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Couldn’t put it down. It’s a masterful, hold-on-to-the-edge-of-your-seat, heart-pounding mystery that unfolds like an episode of a TV crime show. Suspenseful from the first to the last satisfying page! I loved it!!!!
Apr 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Wow, really good mystery story! Amazing cover too. What was different about this book for me was that it wasn't about friends and social life very much, it was about two sisters who are very different and how they act and how their parents are. I really liked that this book was ya but also about a family and not so much about whose popular and whose not and being beautiful and the right clothes and social. I loved Nico and felt like I really knew her totally. The only down part of the book is th ...more
ETA: Cannot keep this in our library! Just had a copy actually stolen :( But, it's the sign of a popular book I guess. Hope we will see this in paperback soon!

I discovered the author Cylin Busby after she published Blink Once, then went back to read her memoir. Both of her young adult books are popular with my teens. Her middle grade novel, The 9 Lives of Mr. Tibbs, was also lovely and I’ve seen nothing but good reviews for it, but it’s not quite on target for the age of my readers.
So this book
May 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
You guys know me, I ADORE a good mystery/thriller. I seriously can't resist. So I literally pounced on this book 5 months and 20 days before it was published. FIVE MONTHS you guys!!! Ain't no shame in my game!

But in all seriousness, this book is amazeballs!!! You start out really feeling sorry for the main character, Nico. Her sister has been missing for 4 years and it completely changed her life! Her parents hover over her, constantly worrying that they are making the best decisions. And then t
Apr 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ya, award-winner
Read this thriller in 4 hours flat! It is the kind of book you CANNOT put down. I loved it so much, I had to see what happened. One twist I knew was coming but the other one was like WHOA. Did not see that coming. If you like to be the first one to read a book that is about it BLOW UP get this and you will be in the know when everyone else is talking about it :) :) :)

May 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A very popular book at Orlando ALA, and I can see why! Will write up a review closer to publication, but this is fantastic and kept me on my toes!
PinkAmy loves books, cats and naps

Four years ago Nico's older sister disappeared. Now she's back. Or is she? The Old Sarah was a spoiled bully; this New Sarah is loving and kind, the sister Nico always wanted. More than one person knows why Sarah went missing, but New Sarah has retrograde amnesia and can't remember.

THE STRANGER GAME is a fast paced mystery that hooked me from the beginning. Nico haunted narration had me rooting hard for her. She's a much more complex character than I had originally imagined. The mystery
Oct 23, 2016 rated it really liked it

If you read this book, make sure you don't read the author's note in the back of the book because it will contain a massive spoiler for this book. And if you spoil yourself by reading it, then you would not enjoy this book.

I feel the biggest strength of this book was how it maintained it's mysterious atmosphere throughout the entire book. I was also second guessing the how and the why's of everything that has been happening. And I liked that.

A more coherent rev
Sarah Elizabeth
(Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to HarperCollins and Edelweiss.)

“I think this is her.”

This was a YA mystery story, about a girl missing for 4 years who finally came home.

I felt quite sorry for Nico in this story, having her sister come back after 4 years, when she believed her to be dead couldn’t have been easy, and the media attention could only make things worse.

“I really don’t want reporters and media calling the h
Shannon Cody
Oct 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mind-blown, arcs
Review coming tomorrow. I am scared. BYE!!!

Cylin Busby is an author who has written numerous Young Adult and Children’s novels including the memoir THE YEAR WE DISAPPEARED and the young adult romance BLINK ONCE. THE STRANGER GAME is her latest novel published October 25th 2016. This novel is a mixture of Young Adult mystery and thriller. It is very dark and suspenseful.
Four years ago Nico’s sister, Sarah, disappeared. Her life had been totally flipped since her sister went missing. Aft
May 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing
DO NOT start this book if you have anything else to do or anywhere to be or if you like sleep. Yeah, I was up late reading this one because it's the type of book you have to see what happens in. If you are also the kind of person who skips to the end, skip this one because you will not be able to stand not knowing.
Cali H.
Aug 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Fantastic page-turner--can't review without giving stuff away so I just won't bother ;0
Quick review for a quick read. "The Stranger Game" by Cylin Busby was an intriguing read from beginning to end, and I'll admit had me hooked to see how all the pieces of this fell into place. Nico Walker hated her older sister Sarah for the numerous times that Sarah tormented her in her youth, but when her sister goes missing one fateful night, it throws her entire family and community for a tailspin. Sarah becomes something of a tragic horror story, and while pieces of Nico's life fall into bet ...more
Kathy Martin
Sep 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is a story about a girl coming home after disappearing for four years. Nico Morris's older sister Sarah disappeared when Sarah was eleven. It was a devastating event for the whole family. Nico's mother became an advocate for missing children; her father buried himself in work; and Nico grew used to people looking at her as the "girl whose sister disappeared." Her best friend is someone she met after Sarah was gone.

There have been countless leads over the years, suspected sightings that turn
May 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ya, thriller
Right now, I'm giving this a 4.5, I might come back and edit that up to a 5 star.

Things I like about this book:
1. Writing. This author has a spare style with a lot left unsaid. I love that.
2. Characters: believable. I have two sisters and I understand Nico. A lot.
3. Alternating chapters: Read through the other reviews here and no one has mentioned this. Are we all reading the same book?
4. Mystery. Ah, it's good, very good.

Things I don't like about this book:
1. Nothing. Haw, just kidding, there
Nemo (The Moonlight Library)
This review was originally posted on The Moonlight Library

I'm cultivating a new love for YA thrillers, and The Stranger Game is so far a quiet gem for me.

It began with the return of Nico's missing sister, Sarah. Except that Sarah seemed… not quite right. Instead of being a total psycho bitch, cruel to both her parents and her younger sister, this Sarah was quiet, withdrawn… and nice. Grateful, even. Polite. Helpful.

Nico seems convinced that she's not the same Sarah.

I thought that Niko wasn't bei
Amanda Thornell
Nov 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
First, let me say that I almost never write reviews. But in this case, I made an exception.

Cylin Busby did a phenomenal job of making this story her own. Although I had guessed one element of the ending (since she was inspired by a real story, I'm sure I've seen a crime show or two with a similar premise), the overall conclusion was surprising and left me with conflicting emotions. I can't get the story out of my head, and I definitely don't want to.

Busby has a clean and fresh writing voice. H
Oct 02, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: dnf
Pages read: 72.

Something about this book just wasn't working for me. I can sort of pinpoint it, but not perfectly. I didn't like the voice very much--I felt detached and disconnected from it.

Also, the writing was far too simple for my taste. I just found myself putting this one down often and doing other things.

I scanned forward to the ending, and I'm glad I decided to DNF because I don't think the twist would have worked for me if I had stuck with it. I'm obviously a black sheep here because t
Shirley Freeman
Young adults who love psychological suspense (think We Were Liars) will love this one. The story is told from the perspective of two sisters - Nico is high achieving and living with her family at age 15. Sarah, four years older and a rebel, has been missing for 4 years and suddenly reappears. I read the ARC of this suspenseful, clever read.
Sep 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Reminded me a little of the film "The Room"-- spoiler? Great read.




Told in alternating POV's between Nico and Sarah...Nico in the now and Sarah in the past leading up to the now. The narration, by both Erin Spencer and Arielle Delisle, was a win-win and performed swimmingly by both narrators.

A different take on the missing/kidnapped formula that may have taken th
McCaid Paul
Jul 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery-thriller
I’ve read one-too-many “missing girl returns” books (In Her Skin, Dead to You, The Lost and the Found, Dead Girl’s Don’t Write Letters) and most have fallen short of my expectations, some more so than others (lookin’ at you, IHS).

The Stranger Game, while at first bogged down by muddied flashbacks and inconsistent pacing, turned out to be the shining star compared to other books boasting a similar plot: Girl goes missing, Girl returns and everything about her is different...hmmm, I wonder why...
Jen Ryland
Read more of my reviews on YA Romantics or follow me on Bloglovin

Weirdly, this is the third YA book I've read in the last few months that's about an abducted child returned to his or her family. The Stranger Game was more like Lost and Found than like Afterward. In other words, it was more of a psychological thriller than an issue book.

Nico's sister has been missing for four years and her family is shattered. Then one day, they receive a call from Florida: Sarah has been found. Nico and her pare
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2016, print-arcs
"The more you tell yourself a lie, the more you believe it, until finally, it becomes your truth."
THIS BOOK REALLY CREEPED ME OUT! I literally could not put it down because I got so curious with the mystery that this book carries. I began thinking of my own theories and predictions as I started this book, but it kept me in circles. There were more than one twists, and they made me dumbfounded as I discovered them.

Also, to add more eerie feeling: this book was inspired by a true mystery case. De
Gray Cox
Sep 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: suspense, good
I loved the concept of this book! It was a gripping mystery that held my attention until the very end. It had a few mild swear words and I counted two f-bombs at least, but despite that I did really like this. The book also had a more adultish fiction feel to it or at least new adult, so I'm not sure if this is something that a lot of teens would be interested in reading, but yeah, I liked it. I would probably re-read it again sometime!
Feb 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audible, perks-uno
This book took me by surprise. I didn't know anything about it and have to admit I'd only picked it up for a challenge and because it was shelved as a mystery. However, I found the story very intriguing and enjoyed most of the characters. I don't know that this book is for everyone but found it very satisfying in a very karma-like way...
Emily (Falling for YA)
I enjoyed this novel, but I figured out both of the big "twists" really early and that hampered my enjoyment. I love being surprised by mysteries.
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YA Buddy Readers'...: The Stranger Game by Cylin Busby - July 13, 2017 5 11 Jun 30, 2017 09:51AM  
First5: The Stranger Game , by Cylin Busby 10 30 Dec 20, 2016 01:04PM  
Can . Not . Wait. 1 7 Apr 02, 2016 11:38PM  

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Cylin Busby is the author of several teen books and numerous articles as well as the acclaimed young adult memoir, THE YEAR WE DISAPPEARED,which was a Wall Street Journal bestseller, a Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year, and a Cybils Award winner.
Her latest novel, THE NINE LIVES OF JACOB TIBBS, has earned starred reviews and was an Amazon Best Book of the Month. The former Senior Editor of T

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