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HEAD GAMES by Mariah Fredericks


by Mariah Fredericks

Age Range: 14 & up

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2004
ISBN: 0-689-85532-X
Publisher: Richard Jackson/Atheneum

Fredericks’s story opens with Judith Ellis defending herself from a psycho killer: an opponent in The Game. She soon learns that her arch-nemesis is her reputedly bad-boy neighbor, Jonathan. The two begin a new game, and Judith feels secure acting as Gareth until she realizes that in her fantasy world she can’t be herself. As Judith, she can care about Jonathan and establish her independence from her mother, begin to recover from a sexual attack, and accept the loss of her best friend when they find different interests. Not only is the narration set up in an interesting way, with the first half called “Gareth” and the second “Judith,” but Judith’s gender issues are interesting as well. Since her attack, she prefers to take on male roles while gaming, and while definitely attracted to Jonathan, Judith wonders if she ever had feelings for Leia, her former best friend. Fredericks has a gift for replicating teen vernacular; the end of her story leaves readers with the same wistful feeling as “Game Over.” (Fiction. YA)