The Believing Game

Eireann Corrigan, Author
Eireann Corrigan. Scholastic Press, $17.99 (384p) ISBN 978-0-545-29983-1
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Corrigan (Accomplice) tackles cult thinking, dysfunction, and addiction as a charismatic and manipulative man works his way into the lives of troubled teenagers. When caught shoplifting for the third time, high school junior Greer is sent by her parents to McCracken Hill, a boarding school for addicts and wealthy juvenile offenders. When Greer becomes involved with magnetically popular Addison, a recovering alcoholic, she also gets swept up in the machinations of his mentor, Joshua, an older counselor and savvy puppeteer who cons the vulnerable group of friends into following his often bizarre and exploitative credos. Though the eclectic cast is a strong point, some exposition about cults, addiction, eating disorders, and shoplifting crosses into didactic territory. Much of the psychology rests on the appeal of Joshua, yet his menacing and unsavory nature may not persuade all readers that he could attract these acolytes in the first place. Regardless, Corrigan again presents darkly disturbing insight into the teenage psyche, while exploring how entering relationships without a sense of self-worth can lead to destruction. Ages 13–18. (Dec.)
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