The Believing Game by Eireann Corrigan

Greer Cannon is a troubled rich girl who finally steals one too many things. Her parents send her to McCracken Hill, a very expensive, private institution for teens with various addictions. Greer has an instant connection with the most attractive boy in the joint, Addison Bradley, who insists that she become close to his mentor, an older black man with a shady past named Joshua. As Greer tries to find out more about Joshua’s background, she uncovers his many lies and struggles with how to break the news to Addison. She also doesn’t know how to pull her friends out of the cult that she unknowingly helped them create.

I have to say that this is the first novel I’ve read about cults. This might surprise you but, as a kid, my church was pretty fanatical about cults and doomsday stuff, so I had already been taught to look out for David Koresh-type whackos. All that knowledge probably kept me from going to Baylor University too because it was in We Ain’t Comin’ Out, Texas. I didn’t want to spend my college years having to worry about the possibility of a surviving sect of the Branch Davidians existing and eye the Kool Aid bowl all the time. Anyway, as interesting as the premise, something rings false throughout. Corrigan does a good enough job with the dialogue (nothing bothers me more than an adult who tries too hard but can’t write teenage dialogue) but I think the relationship and strange sexual tension between Greer and Addison didn’t feel quite right. Maybe Corrigan didn’t have her first real relationship until college or something. Other than that nitpick, the book had a nice forward motion which led to a somewhat disappointing ending. If you like happily ever afters, don’t read this book. If you want to read something that could really happen in real life, this one’s for you.

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