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(The Deception Game #1)

3.83  ·  Rating details ·  426 ratings  ·  70 reviews
Too pretty. Too smart. Too perfect.

In a crumbling, futuristic Las Vegas where the wealthy choose the characteristics of their children like ordering off a drive-thru menu, seventeen-year-old Sienna Preston doesn’t fit in. As a normal girl surrounded by genetically modified teenagers, all of her imperfections are on display. But after the death of her father, everything she
Paperback, 332 pages
Published November 21st 2016 by Clean Teen Publishing
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Average rating 3.83  · 
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 ·  426 ratings  ·  70 reviews

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Dec 28, 2017 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: freebie
💝 FREE on Amazon today (12/28/2017)! 💝
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dawn West
Actual Rating: 4.5

**Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book.**

Well, dang! This book left my head spinning and heart on the floor.

Sienna isn't thrilled with the life she's found herself in. Surrounded by fellow students who were designed to be impeccable specimens, her flaws are more noticeable than ever. But when her world is turned upside down in a single evening, she wishes she could go back to being an outcast instead of the criminal she has been forced to become.

Aug 18, 2016 added it
An action-packed sci-fi thriller filled with romance, danger, and twists you won't see coming, CATALYST provides a glimpse into an eery future depicting what can go wrong when those in power attempt to make things right. ...more
Meredith Ritchie
Apr 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Catalyst- what a fun dystopian-eseque book.
It carries a similar feeling to Hunger Games but with more action and mystery. Sienna is a ‘normal’ girl born in a society where the wealthy create Genetically Modified ‘perfect’ children. She struggles with the typical comparison-complex to these beautiful fellow teens in her school but that doesn’t last long; her world is turned upside down when she finds her father dead (accidentally? or murdered?) in their kitchen one afternoon. This, along with he
Kimberley Little
"A gripping thriller with a tough, but vulnerable heroine who must fight against a corrupt underworld while searching for her father’s killer. High stakes and non-stop action paired with terrific writing will have you turning the pages late into the night."

This is the blurb I did for this futuristic YA novel set in Las Vegas where families try to create the perfect children. It's exciting and I couldn't stop reading. Plus the romance is wonderful, too, sexy and swoony, but clean. The ending is
Nov 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book is one nail biting, adventure gripping, page turner that kept my heart pulsing until the very end! Despite the danger at every turn, our main girl Sienna is determined to stay strong and save the ones she loves, but at what cost? With a lot of blushing romance, heavy blackmail, and hidden secrets, Cataylyst threw me into a society that will stop at nothing to create perfection. The best part is the twisted ending that will leave you counting down the days to read the second! A must rea ...more
Mark Noce
Aug 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Compelling. Intriguing. Fantastic! Catalyst gives us a view into a different world, but with relatable characters that everyone can understand. The novel’s exhilarating pace only gets better as the story reaches its heart-pounding climax. A must read for anyone who loves a good book that you just can’t put down.

A YA read reminiscent of the best that the genre has to offer. Hunger Games and Divergent, eat your heart out.
Aug 31, 2016 rated it it was amazing
It takes a lot to literally make my jaw drop open but Catalyst did it! Packed with adventure and emotion this book will have you turning the pages at a frantic pace. A brilliant start to a new series. Add this to your TBR list immediately! V""V
Jacy Sellers
Dec 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Intriguing from beginning to end. Kristin's writing is visual and filled with fast-paced action. If you like dystopia mixed with government secrets and romance, you should read Catalyst. Hard to put down and now I can't wait until the next book. (I'm bias because Kristin is a friend of mine!). ...more
Penelope Bartotto
This review will appear in a 2017 issue of InD'Tale Magazine ...more
When Sienna Preston comes home from school and discovers her father dead on the floor, her whole world changes. Her family is now struggling to make ends meet in the slum-ridden town of Las Vegas. Forced to take on the role of provider, Sienna resorts to thieving to support her ailing mother and younger sister. But things go from bad to worse when the government intercepts a routine exchange and holds her mother hostage. In desperation she turns to not only the genetically-modified son of a reno ...more
Kester Nucum
Jun 28, 2017 rated it it was ok
Disclaimer: I received a free electronic copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This will not affect my thoughts or feelings in any way.

I had a ton of high expectations for this book, but unfortunately, it did not live up to them for me. I wasn’t very connected with the story, and I was more focused with trying to finish it than actually enjoying the story. It also followed the infamous “Dystopian Structure” (see my review of The Government by Peter Gulgowski) really well. If I comp
Deborah E Kehoe
Jan 01, 2018 rated it liked it
Catalyst is set in a world where genetically altered teenagers are the norm and being naturally born is abnormal. When her father dies suddenly, Sienna has to leave school to find a way to make money to support her mother (who has lupus) and her little sister. Uneducated and “normal” Sienna turns to a life of crime. Taking a job to steal from the man who created the technique to genetically alter human life, she is caught by a military group and blackmailed into killing that scientist. Sienna tu ...more
A. Powers
Feb 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I was given a copy of this book with strong recommendations to read it, and I am so glad that I listened. The cover alone is beautiful and the insides didn't disappoint either. It kind of reminded me to a combination between Scott Westerfield's Uglies series and the Matched series. Of course, it wasn't JUST like either of those, and was it's own story through-and-through. I especially like how Sienna has already turned to a life of crime before the start of the story, and we get kind of thrown i ...more
Nov 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: young-adult
This is a pretty strong book, I enjoyed it.

- Very decent world setup, familiar but different enough to be interesting.
- A strong female protagonist who manages to avoid being too aggressive, emotional or just annoying. I actually like Sienna, she's a good character. It's a hard line to walk - make a female character strong without overdoing it and this book nails it.
- The romance(s) are pretty good, I didn't think they worked as well as the main story, they actually feel unnecessary, the s
Jane Balke Andersen
Quite decent, but a few things annoyed me. One of which is the pacing, it’s super fast. Something always happening. A slower pace might allow some character development, some explanation of why Sienna takes certain decisions and actions. It would be nice to have more about why and how things happen as at times it is an unexplained whirl of activity. Her family, Trey and Zane could really do with more development.

*Warning spoilers *
*There are quite a few unbelievable things which stretched my abi
Stephanie Faris
Dec 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Catalyst depicts a very realistic future in which genetic modification has taken over. The main character, Sienna, is forced to engage in criminal behavior after her father dies suddenly. When she learns her father's death wasn't an accident, her motives change. Kristin's version of the future is all too real...eventually people likely will choose their children's characteristics thanks to science. But she also packs plenty of action scenes into the book that keep you turning the pages until the ...more
Sarai Henderson
I really enjoyed this read. Kristin Smith has really come up with something unique and alluring. A world where being genetically modified makes you special and those who are not are treated differently. The story was intense and I just wanted to punch the bad guy in the face. That's the way I like my villains, asses to no end. I also loved the writing style and the love triangle intertwined with in the action. The only thing I wan't to know is, Who does Sienna end up with? Is it Zane or Trey? Yo ...more
Camryn McGarry
Jun 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Awesome book!!!

I loved this book alot!!! I hadn't read a sci-fi book in a while and this book reminded me about all the things I love about book series like this one and Divergent and Hunger Games. I would highly recommend this book to all those who love a good romance..... THAT ENDING THOUGH😱😱😱😱😱😱😱😱
Becca Akins
Nov 18, 2017 rated it it was ok
Enjoyable quick read
Rachel Barnard
Mar 06, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sienna lives in a world where almost everyone around her has been genetically upgraded. She is shorter, plainer, and all around normal. But her normal world gets shattered when her she finds out her father didn't die of natural causes. It is up to her to support her family - her mother and young sister - as she tries to figure out who was behind her father's death. Before she can even begin to uncover these secrets, one of her side jobs goes awry and she's in hot water with the government. Her l ...more
Kennedy Pearson
Nov 30, 2020 rated it liked it
This book was okay, but I didn’t really enjoy it. The love triangle wasn’t very interesting, because neither of the boys were right for the main character. The characters were kind of bland and even though I enjoyed the family aspect of the book(little sister and mom) the plot wasn’t that great. It was also a little hard to believe that the bad guys that manipulated the main character were so smart that they knew every little thing she was going to do before she did it. It didn’t make any sense. ...more
Oct 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is the first book in the deception game series where the protagonist named Sienna is found entangled in different issues. She is strong and brave given the circumstances. At times she behaves in childish manner which made no sense to me. Although she is the main character, she too has some very pronounced weaknesses. She is a normal girl among the genetically modified society which in itself is a big thing. There are various mysteries that remain unsolved in this book. The story becomes qui ...more
Jennifer Chow
Jun 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
I liked Catalyst. It was a fast-paced read that brought a lot of high stakes with it (especially in regards to family). Although I enjoyed it, I did take off a star because it's basically a mish-mash of popular dystopian tropes.

The main character is the fiercely independent heroine, and she's stuck in a love triangle. She's also caring for her much younger sister (Prim, anyone?). And she discovers the rebellion group, which is conveniently led by all-star teens.

However, it is a very fun read, a
Carol Riggs
Mar 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this through all its deception and twists and turns; it kept me reading. It was action and romance in a sci-fi future where select humans are genetically modified. The main character, Sienna, is not modified. Try as I might, I couldn’t imagine her riding a Harley in a miniskirt, LOL. Chaz's hacking skills were smooth and a little too easy. The ending wrapped up fairly well, with some questions unanswered to allow for a sequel, but the whole bit about a certain someone being dead and th ...more
Sep 09, 2019 rated it liked it
Follows the dystopian novel formula very closely. Although the heroine seems to be a bit more honest and open than other heroines, who think they have to sacrifice themselves to unhealthy levels, which is refreshing. But you have the dark, sexy, good hearted bad boy and the light haired gentler good boy who are both I love with her and she with them. Not sure if I’ll read the rest of the series, but if you love dystopian YA novels you’ll probably appreciate this one.
Jun 19, 2020 rated it did not like it
Shelves: dnf
It was OKAY. Really fast paced.
There was a few grammar mistakes, and the book was a bit boring.
A lot of the story wasn’t explained well enough, and you had to kind of guess why things were happening half the time.
A lot of important bits (especially the bit at the hospital) were briefly mentioned, and there wasn’t enough details. The characters were all one dimensional and plain.
Didn’t finish the book...
Wouldn’t recommend. :(
Kris Rhodes
Jun 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: rt-books
I loved this book! I met the author at RT convention, and simply fell in love with her. This book is so good. I love this genre, and I know it's not for everyone. This book is on par w the selection (which is HIGH praise from me) and even divergent. The characters are fantastic and plot is amazing. ...more
InD'tale Magazine

"Catalyst" enters the dystopian adventure arena and ranks with the likes of the “Divergent” or “Hunger Games” series in style and character.

Read full review in the 2017 July/August issue of InD'tale Magazine.
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Kristin Smith is the best-selling and award-winning author of the DECEPTION GAME series. She's also the author of the sweet, contemporary romance novella, BLUEPRINT FOR LOVE. Her first book, CATALYST, is a 2018 IAN Book of the Year Award finalist in the Young Adult category.

A graduate of Brigham Young University, Kristin currently resides in North Carolina with her husband and five sons. To read m

Other books in the series

The Deception Game (3 books)
  • Forgotten (The Deception Game, #2)
  • Fearless (The Deception Game, #3)

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