Girl in the Arena

Girl in the Arena

Praise for GIRL

  • “Girl in the Arena is like nothing you’ve ever read. A good-old fashioned page turner…the female answer to Fight Club.” ~Steve Almond

  • “I could not put this book down. I mean it was physically difficult to tear my eyes away from the page...It’s dystopian storytelling at its most honest, urgent, and very best…I freaking loved this book and it has instantly earned a spot on my Best Books of 2009 list.” ~Angieville

  • “The storyline moves quickly with a few clever surprises slipped in to give it an extra kick. Lise Haines offers a unique look at today’s society and its blood-thirsty cravings for violent entertainment. She has an exceptional talent for writing interesting and well-developed characters, especially the strong, independent and family-devoted Lyn. She also embraces the character of Lyn’s little brother, who is a special needs child, with patience, understanding and warmth. In addition, Haines implements a technique of using the hyphen to indicate conversation instead of quotes. I found it a bit distracting at first, but soon became accustomed to it and realized it to be unique and fresh. Although this is Haines’s first book for young adults, her new fans will be anxiously hoping that she is inspired to write many more.” ~Teen Reads
  • I was hooked on the first page…Lise Haines, the book’s author, takes what if to a completely new level by making me believe Gladiator Sports Association could become a reality….The book was so engrossing, so powerful, so different…I can’t recommend it enough…I loved it. ~J Kaye’s Book Blog

  • Vividly rendered, this story of self-determination, loss, grief, and survival is set in a contemporary but alternative world permeated with virtual reality and an extreme-sport gladiator subculture. Eighteen-year-old pacifist Lyn has no intention of becoming a traditional gladiator’s wife. Then her stepdad, Tommy, is killed in an arena fight, and she faces an impossible choice: to follow the corporate-run Gladiator Sports Association’s rules, which require her to marry his competitor, Uber; or to protect her family’s future by entering the arena herself, with possibly devastating consequences. Referencing history and pop culture, Lyn’s droll, sometimes poignant first-person narrative is engaging and intimate, and it deftly combines romance, Lyn’s family responsibilities, and thought-provoking, frequently satirical looks at societal issues, such as celebrity, violence, and a culture that prizes profit over compassion. The scenes are occasionally disturbing and gruesome, but the diverse characters, chillingly hyperrealistic scenarios, and the strong, appealing protagonist provide an immersing read that is likely to attract fans of Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games. ~Booklist
  • Girl in the Arena is a heartbreakingly sad book, filled with poignant emotions that are so human, despite the…premise. I really bought Lyn’s dilemma, thanks to Haines’s skillful characterizations. Haines plays against type and conjures up a finale that is suspenseful, scary, tragic, and inspiring all at once. Honestly, this is the kind of YA I’d like to see a whole lot more of–imaginative yet grounded in reality, genre-based but not derivative. Love it! ~The Super Fast Reader

  • Entertainingly gruesome and emotionally resonant. ~ Kirkus Reviews

  • This gripping novel that follows an alternate U.S. history…is both beautiful and terrifying. ~BookKids/BookPeople

  • “Haines’s protagonist is street-smart, socially conscious, and wise all the way through… Readers will appreciate that her victory comes from life on her own terms…”–School Library Journal

  • Girl in the Arena has been compared to Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games, and parallels can be drawn between the violent cultures in both books, but the story in each book is totally unique. The world of Girl in the Arena is one very much like today, but with a neo-gladiator sub-culture. I think fans of Dystopian YA will find a new favorite in this novel! The Hiding Spot

  • What Lise Haines has wrought is a kind of comic book without pictures, a wild pop novel about neo-Roman gladiators that—rocking with violent energy and bopping with social satire—can generate suspense, horror, laughter, and even twinges of tenderness. ~Tom Robbins

  • Girl in the Arena is a heart-pounding, suspenseful read with twists and turns you won’t see coming, leaving you to wonder, How can this end? Yet Haines wraps it all up cleverly and realistically, giving the readers and characters hope for a better future while imparting a moral lesson that isn’t glaringly obvious or in your face. Girl in the Arena is a very intriguing and well-written novel about violence and entertainment, how easy it is for people to latch on to it when the two are strung together, but also about the courage of one girl wanting to make a positive change in her world. ~The Compulsive Reader

  • I like that Lyn is such a strong female character. She is a great role model for young women. I truly enjoyed reading this book. ~Lyra Rose’s Blog
  • This is the first book I’ve read by Lise Haines and even though her writing is totally different from what I’m used to, I totally dig her writing style..This book had me thinking on so many levels like how our pop culture is heavily influenced by mass media and encompasses the everyday lives of society. And take for instance, the craziness of the paparazzi when it comes to celebrities. So, all in all I couldn’t help but relate this book to what’s going on in today’s society…I will definitely be reading more of Haines’s books.~Fantastic Book Review

  • From Laurel at the Flamingnet: I got an early release copy of this book and I LOVE IT!!!!!!! I Finished it in a couple of hours because I was reading using the light from my cell. But I think it’s an awesome book.

  • I highly recommend this book for anyone, young or more mature. ~My Own Little Corner of the World

  • This is the first novel by Lise Haines that I have read and she is certainly an amazing author. She introduced the Glad culture, intertwining it in history and modern day, in a way that wasn’t imposing or undescriptive but fluid and natural. All of the character’s are believable and very real. The book isn’t as horrifically bloody as it sounds, you would find gorier scenes in the Inheritance books. All and all this is a wonderful book and I would suggest it to anyone. ~vinralfakyn2014, Random Buzz

During the week, Lyn lives in a big house in Cambridge, and hangs out with friends in Harvard Square. But over the weekends she cheers her father on when he gears up for neo-gladiator competition—a high-profile televised blood sport that rivals the NFL. Lyn’s father is the top player in the league, and the paparazzi that have always swarmed him have started to dog Lyn’s every move. All this fame comes with an even higher price. Lyn’s family lives with the constant presence of violence, uncertainty, and a strict cultural code set by the Gladiator Sports Association. When a skilled young fighter slays Lyn’s father, the GSA imposes an unthinkable sentence—Lyn must marry her father’s murderer. Though her mother has made a career out of marrying into Glad culture, Lyn is prepared to do whatever it takes to claim her independence. Even if it means going into the arena herself….  Lise Haines’s debut novel, a dark satire for our time, is a mesmerizing look at a modern world addicted to violence, fame, and greed—a world eerily close to our own.


Steve Almond interviews Lise Haines on

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