Girl in the Arena by Lise Haines

Summary from Amazon:

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 gladiator. Remind him constantly of his victories. And most importantly: Never leave the stadium when your father is dying. The rules help the family survive, but rules—and the GSA—can also turn against you. When a gifted young fighter kills Lyn’s seventh father, he also captures Lyn’s dowry bracelet, which means she must marry him... For fans of The Hunger Games and Fight Club, Lise Haines’ debut novel is a mesmerizing look at a world addicted to violence—a modern world that’s disturbingly easy to imagine.


Going into this I was excepting something huge and mind-blowing, something that was a mix of Suzanne Collin's works and Kristin Cashore's, something that that I would be hanging on to every word of. Sadly enough, Girl in the Arena wasn't truly any of those things, but it still was pretty great.

From her relationship with her father's killer to her friendship with her best friend Mark to her relationship with her family, Ms. Haines crafted Lyn in the way that seemed believable, because everything just worked together and seemed ultimately real. Also I really liked how seeing how Lyn constantly questioned between what was wrong and right in the world she was in, and how she continued to do so for the whole book, going for what she thought was right, not what everyone else thought was so. It made her be a strong role model and hero because she wouldn't stand for what the Gladiator Sports Association thought was correct and that made me proud of her. I also enjoyed reading about the other main characters from Thad to Uber to Mark to Tommy to even Alison because they all brought something important to the story.

The execution though is what made this story be somewhat of a fail. Don't get me wrong, the premise of this is amazing and something that I could imagine happening in the world in the near future, scarily enough. Though, Ms. Haines never really brought the world in between the pages of Girl in the Arena to life, leaving it to have a lot of dull moments. With saying that I did enjoy Haines writing that did show talent and reading about the Gladiator Sports Association, but I think she could have put more work in making this story into being something spectacular.

In all, while Girl in the Arena isn't one the best books I've read in a while, it still brought something new and interesting to the table, which leaves me to still suggest it overall.

Grade: B

Girl in the Arena is now out!

Source: Anna at Bloomsburry for review. Thanks!


  1. It's too bad that it had some dull moments...but a B is still pretty awesome. :)

  2. I think the way this book was presented is very misleading--like you, I expected THE HUNGER GAMES and got something a lot duller. And the cover is cool but it's so inaccurate to the story.

    But great review! :)

  3. Great review! I've heard a lot of different opinions on this one, but like you I first thought this would be something similar to The Hunger Games. I wonder whether I'll like it when I'll read it!


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