It’s Only a Game

Kelsea Yu

YA Thriller

In this twisty, fast-paced YA thriller, a dangerous game becomes all too real when Marina and her friends are framed for murder.

When Marina Chan ran from her old life, she brought nothing with her-not even her real name. Now she lives in fear of her past being discovered. But when her online gaming team is offered a tour of their favorite game company, Marina can’t resist accepting, even though she knows it might put her fake identity at risk.

Then the creator of the game is murdered during their tour. Whoever killed him plans to frame Marina and her friends for the murder unless they win four rounds of a dangerous game. A game that requires them to lie, trespass, and steal. A game that could destroy everything Marina’s worked so hard to build…. A game that she might not survive.

-Excerpt taken from Goodreads.

Check Goodreads to see the book’s ratings.

My Opinion

4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5) Marina has a dark past that she has moved far away from. In this new life, with a new name, she has friends and people that feel like family. Her favorite hobby is to game, so when her gaming team is offered the chance to tour the greatest online game company, they just can’t resist. The tour turns horrible when someone is murdered and they are being framed unless they follow the killer’s game.

Right off, the story starts with the mystery of the murder and they are tasked with the game. Since they are great gamers they are confident but wary. The tasks are almost impossible to finish but their lives, the lives of their families or even family businesses are being threatened. This put such an extra spin on the mystery because so much more was weighing on the win.

There isn’t much backstory on the characters except for the end with Marina. They were likeable but without a lot of depth. The story was full of twisted family members, a loyal dog and many secrets. Some of the mystery felt very unrealistic but ultimately, the game and their trials were highly entertaining and it had a great twist with a dash of evil thrown in at the end.

Those who love YA thrillers, found family or the gaming community will love this one!

General content summary: 

Gun shot (person found on floor with blood)

Talk of birth control and STD’s

F/F attraction and kiss 

Transgender person

Hit and run (previous, paralyzed )

Explosion (building)

Child and adult deaths (previous, hiking fall)

Non binary person (they/them)

Appearance of self harm (scars, brief blood, scars referenced multiple times)

Physical child abuse (previous, scars, knife, some details, multiple)

Kidnapping (previous)

Sedative given unwillingly (3x)

Captivity (tied up, 3x)

Physical violence (choking 2x, hit on head, blood, taser, stabbing 2x)

Building fire (paramedics taking people out)

Murder (child, adults, few details)

**Any quotes have been taken from the advance readers copy and may or may not be in the final, published copy.

Thank you to Bloomsbury YA and NetGalley for the copy!

The book releases July 9, 2024.

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

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