Girl in the Arena by Lise Haines

“Eventually Glad sport, though not always a fight to the death, certainly offered this possibility.”

In an alternative world, the gladiator sport, similar to that practiced by the ancient Romans has become incredibly popular. Lyn, who lives in Boston, is the daughter of seven gladiators and a very famous mother.  When her latest father Tommy dies in the arena and his killer, Uber, picks up Lyn’s dowry bracelet she is pushed into the center of a world she has tried to avoid her whole life. The Gladiator association threatens to take everything from her family if she doesn’t marry Uber, but Lyn has other plans. Moved by a desire to protect her family on her own terms, Lyn decides that despite the risks and the costs, she will enter the arena and fight Uber for her freedom.

Girl in the Arena is a very modern science fiction story. I thought Haines did a beautiful job at setting up the alternative Glad world using both a history to start and a detailed epilogue to finish.  While I anticipated the story to be more science fiction-ish with a focus more on the Glad sport, the real basis of Girl in the Arena is a family story and a coming of age tale. Lyn was a very relatable character as she struggled to make choices between what she wanted and what was best for her family.  The mixture of old and new (avatars and second life) was well woven and added depth and originality to the story. It was a very exciting read, with wide audience appeal. I highly recommend it. 

You might enjoy Girl in the Arena if you like books with:  an alternative world, social commentary, a focus on plot and world building , very modern and slightly futuristic elements.

Other books by Lise Haines: In My Sisters Country and Small Acts of Sex and Electricity.

If you liked Girl in the Area you might also enjoy: Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins,

Non Fiction Connection; Gladiators and Ancient Rome: Games of Ancient Rome by Don Nardo,

Author website found here.

Rating: W 3/4   C 3/4   P 3/4   O 4/4   PP 4/4   CR 3/4

Grade: S


One Response

  1. Oh I loved the gladiators when I was growing up – this one looks good – going to have to add it to my list. Thanks for bringing to light!

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