These Deadly Games

Content Overview

Overall Content



Alcohol, Drugs, Smoking


Intimacy, Sex, Immodesty


Violence, Weapons, Crime, Blood


Potentially Intense Themes


**As an Amazon associate I earn from qualifying purchases. 

These Deadly Games

Diana Urban

Let’s play a game.

You have 24 hours to win. If you break my rules, she dies. If you call the police, she dies. If you tell your parents or anyone else, she dies.

Are you ready?

When Crystal Donavan gets a message on a mysterious app with a video of her little sister gagged and bound, she agrees to play the kidnapper’s game. At first, they make her complete bizarre tasks: steal a test and stuff it in a locker, bake brownies, make a prank call.

But then Crystal realizes each task is meant to hurt—and kill—her friends, one by one. But if she refuses to play, the kidnapper will kill her sister. Is someone trying to take her team out of the running for a gaming tournament? Or have they uncovered a secret from their past, and wants them to pay for what they did…

As Crystal makes the impossible choices between her friends and her sister, she must uncover the truth and find a way to outplay the kidnapper… before it’s too late.

Author of All Your Twisted Secrets, Diana Urban’s explosive sophomore novel, These Deadly Games, will keep you riveted until the final twist is revealed.

-Excerpt taken from Goodreads.

Check Goodreads to see the book’s ratings.

My Opinion

“There was a monster in each of us. The question was whether you managed to stifle it.”

3.5 out of 5 stars (3.5 / 5) I am so torn with this book. It started out as almost 5 stars. Then even through all the excitement, it started waning. I didn’t want to read, I was bored. It dropped to 2 stars. But the end pulled it back up to 3.5 because that really was a great conclusion.

It’s twisty, it’s deranged, it’s a fabulously unique and creative plot. But the character development- even the plot development, wasn’t done well. I didn’t know these characters, I didn’t feel for them. They felt emotion over deaths for mere seconds at a time. It felt disrespectful and bland. 

The plot was so outrageous that it started to lose me. I feel this should’ve sucked me in and held me throughout. The time change of past to present left me frustrated. Instead of intriguing me, it had the opposite effect and made me lose interest. It didn’t give me enough information early enough to hold my attention.

The thought that went into this plot is tremendous. Props to Urban for creativity, even if it became predictable. I believe most will love it.

Content Summary: This was a dark and disturbing read, I’m a bit bothered it’s YA, it should at least be college-age characters. The language was very high, including 42 F words, while the violence doesn’t seem very high, it was deceptive in it’s delivery. Writing a bunch of the scenes down would not have made sense because alone they are not considered violent. However, in the context of the book (a young woman is captured and held at ransom while her sister is forced to manipulate people), they were meant as serious bullying, and many actions were very detrimental or life-altering or life-threatening for some.

Thank you to Wednesday Books for the gifted copy in exchange for an honest review.

The book releases February 1, 2022.

Detailed Content Review


F***- 42

H***- 79

S***- 43

A**- 13

B****- 7

D***- 52

Bas****- 3

Religious Cursing

J****- 9

Chr***- 1

G**- 91


Derogatory terms etc-

Alcohol, Drugs, Smoking

Many stories of yelling matches between a mother and a drunk father. 

A young woman thinks of a recent party with a beer bong and drinking a drink she didn’t know. 

A young woman thinks of a recent party where her friends were playing beer pong. 

A dad brings spiked hot chocolate hiking with his daughter. She takes a swig. 

A young man tells of his mother driving drunk and swerving into the wrong lane, instantly being killed. 

A young woman unknowingly drinks a sedative someone placed in her cup. 

Intimacy, Sex, Immodesty

*Very minor LGBTQ+ aspects included* 

A bisexual young man admits his feelings for a straight young man. 

A young woman buys a box of condoms for when her boyfriend comes over since her parents are traveling. 

A young man pushes a young woman against the wall passionately kissing her. 

Violence, Weapons, Crime, Blood

A father previously beat his wife. The children could hear. 

A young woman receives a video of her sister tied up and held captive. 

A knife is held at a young woman’s throat many times. She is cut a few times too. 

A young woman holds a knife to a young woman.

A young woman is tied to a chair. 

A young woman stabs a young man in the arm. Blood sprays and leaves a trail on the carpet. It continues to flow, causing a puddle. 

A young man causes a large explosion of a house, someone is believed to still be inside.

Potentially Intense Themes

A young woman is being held captive. Her sister receives messages about what to do to help her. One message has her calling the police as a man, saying she shot someone, locked another in a basement and threatened to burn the house down with her in it. 

A young man has a serious allergic reaction and can’t breathe. 

A young woman performs CPR on a young man. 

A father has a heart attack and is rushed to the hospital. 

A group is bullied online multiple times. Racial slurs and rude comments are often. 

A young man dies. 

A young woman has a serious panic attack (multiple times).

A young woman falls from a height. 

A young boy’s body is found. His skin was purple with wide, glassy eyes. Many fall and cry over his death. 

A large explosion sends large objects toward a young woman. 

**Any quotes from the book may be taken from the advance copy and therefore may not be fully accurate or correctly compare to the final copy of the book.

**As an Amazon associate I earn from qualifying purchases. 


  1. Sounds lazy and over the top with that much language, it shouldn’t be necessary to get the message across

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.