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Girl in the Arena by Lise Haines

Girl in the Arena by Lise Haines
Bloomsbury USA Children’s Books (October 13, 2009)
336 pages, Young Adult
$11.55 (, 11/30/09)


I won this book via a contest from another book blogger.

My Grade

Plot: 3

Setting: 4

Writing: 4

Originality: 4

Characters: 4

Passion: 3

Overall: 22/30 = 73% C

Cover/Title Bonus: 4


Summary (

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.

First Line

The clerk asks for my autograph.


The life that Lyn is subjected to is just horrible. From the above summary, which I never read until now, you can get a big picture of what this book entails. She is forced by crazy assed laws to marry a guy because he kills her “father” in the arena and acquires her dowry bracelet that he happened to be wearing.
The entire plot of this story was crazy. It was good to read but the content and where it went was just dumbfounding.
The ending was good.


It’s set in an alternate universe of what seems to be present time. They live in a very nice, big house. There’s tons of paparazzi and of course the arena.


There’s one thing that took a while to get used to. There are NO quotations for when people are speaking. Instead it looks like this:

–Seven? The guy laughs. –I bet I’ve seen you on VH1, right?

Other than that the writing was okay. I think I would have preferred a different POV instead of first person via Lyn.


Many are comparing this to The Hunger Games but it’s not. Not even really close. The alternate universe is very original. I hate it though. A world where there are wives who support men who fight in front of millions of people to the death is not something I’d aspire to be. Nor would I want my daughter to grow up to be one. And for it to all be governed by people who do whatever they can to weasel more small print into any situation to own you even longer than you agreed to is just vomit inducing.
There are some cool elements that the author throws into the loop too.


Lyn is the main character. She’s the daughter of seven gladiator fathers. Meaning her mother has married and lost 6 husbands so far. She is upended by the current fight that claims her current father Tommy. She is a very strong character. I thought she handled herself very well considering what was thrown at her. She did what I would have done in a situation such as hers.
Mark is Lyn’s best friend. He is in training to become a gladiator. His parents are really good friends with Lyn’s mom.
Thad is Lyn’s younger brother. He has an illness, which I figure to be autism but it’s never spelled out nor am I qualified to diagnose him as autistic either.
Uber is the gladiator that kills Tommy and grabs Lyn’s dowry bracelet. He’s a super sweet guy and I feel pretty bad about the situation he’s forced into. He proves to be a bigger man than what Lyn was expecting.


Lyn’s passion is towards her younger, autistic brother Thad. I’m assuming he’s autistic, it doesn’t come right out and say it though. She goes out of her way to make sure he is comfortable and getting what he needs before she sees to herself. She is not interested in obtaining a love interest for herself, not really.


I wasn’t a lover of the world Lyn lived in. However, it was depicted well. I thought a little bit more detail would have been nice. Maybe it shouldn’t have been told in first person POV from Lyn? I think maybe that would have been made it easier to see that world from other points of views.

Cover/Title Bonus:

She’s in the arena once. Once. So, I find the title a bit misleading. Otherwise I think the cover is great. I read on another blog about her hair being misleading. She does change her hair early in the book but I think it’s fine to show her as she first was. I think her new look would have been fine too.
line_separatorWhat do you think? Did you read this one? Will you? Let me know!
Jess Sig
Disclosure: Associate. If you click on my links and purchase something I will receive a very small percentage of the purchase price.


Wife, mother of a nearly 7 year old daughter named Madison and new baby boy Riley. Avid reader on my Amazon Kindle. World of Warcraft and CS:S gamer.

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