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Girl in the Arena

2.99  ·  Rating details ·  5,095 ratings  ·  863 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 1st 2009 by Bloomsbury USA Childrens
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Average rating 2.99  · 
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 ·  5,095 ratings  ·  863 reviews

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Tamora Pierce
Nov 22, 2009 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 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
Nov 04, 2009 rated it liked it
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 13, 2010 rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 29, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dnf, library
I'm just marking this off so I can remember the title of possibly the worst gladiator YA novels ever. And there are a lot of YA gladiator novels.

Bad writing, info dumps, and whiny characters, oh my! I thought this would be my cup of tea.... it certainly wasn't.
***Read and reviewed in 2010 ***
Girl in the Arena is a futuristic 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 alterat
Morgan F
Jun 20, 2010 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,
Karlyflower *The Vampire Ninja, Luminescent Monster & Wendigo Nerd Goddess of Canada (according to The Hulk)*
Read pre-goodreads. I refuse to write a review.....

Nov 11, 2009 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
Nov 26, 2010 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
Ari Reavis
Mar 25, 2016 added it
Shelves: dnf
This is officially the first book I've marked as dnf. I'm sorry, I really tried. ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 06, 2013 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
Oct 15, 2010 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
Dec 20, 2009 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
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.
Grace Mycek
Jun 21, 2011 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
Feb 03, 2010 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 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
Feb 16, 2010 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 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
May 28, 2010 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
Apr 22, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-in-2011
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
Feb 15, 2010 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 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 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
Jan 27, 2010 rated it really liked it
At first I thought this book sounded a little too similar to the Hunger Games, and there are a few similarities, but mostly this one is it's own story. It is set in a modern day where gladiator sport has made a come back and is televised with a huge fan base and almost cult like following. Lyn is a girl who has lost 6 fathers to the sport and when the 7th one dies early on his opponent picks up her dowry braclet. Under gladiator law this makes her obligated to marry her father's murderer, but sh ...more
Feb 04, 2010 rated it it was ok
The worst thing about the book was definitely a formatting issue. Odd formatting of dialogue is an annoyance and detracts from whatever the character's are saying. I think if more author's used this format, it would actually put me off reading entirely. Ugh.

The story wasn't really the one advertised by the cover tagline either, which was a let down. The premise is that the girl (in the arena) is fighting to avenge her father's death in the neo-gladiator ring. Well, no, that's not true. It's her
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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

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