Author: Adele Griffin
Release Date: August 2010
Published By: Putnam Juvenile
Pages: 200 pages
Goodreads Rating: 3.41 stars
Review: Raye is far from popular, as the new scholarship girl, and spends her Friday nights watching sci-fi movies with her friend, Natalya. One night they decide to create a fake Facebook profile for "Elizabeth" and use her to talk to all the boys they're too afraid to approach as themselves. While it wasn't as successful as they hoped, Elizabeth and the extremely popular, extremely hot Julian become friends. But then the queen bee of the school, Ella, learns about Elizabeth and wants to use the fake profile to exact revenge on Julian, her ex. However, things don't stay innocent for long, and as the situation escalates, Raye is forced to question: how far is she willing to go to be with the "in" crowd?
THE JULIAN GAME had its ups and downs. The beginning of the book sucked me in quickly and for a while, I was deeply engrossed in the story. Cyber-bullying, privacy, and other Internet-related issues are hot topics in today's society, so I felt like this book had a lot of potential to be a relevant and relatable read. However, as I progressed to the middle and end, my enjoyment ebbed as I grew increasingly frustrated with the characters, especially Raye.
Raye's a smart girl - after all, she is the only scholarship student in the grade. And yet she was unable to see the most obvious things. Ella was clearly manipulating her but Raye continued to do as she requested and ditched Natalya. I wanted to be able to get into her head in order to understand the decisions she made and figure out why she was so willing to overlook how obviously unstable Ella was (her OCD tendencies were way more than just tendencies), but I simply couldn't. Her inability to see Julian as the jerk and player he was bothered me as well.
Henry and Natalya were the saving graces of this book. Both were original and seemed like people I would want to get to know in real life, but they weren't featured as much as I hoped they would be. In fact, we rarely get to see them, which made Raye's developing romance with Henry fall flat for me.
I did like THE JULIAN GAME. It had an intriguing concept and while it was well executed, I had higher expectations. I so wanted to adore this book, but I came away disappointed. Towards the end, I felt a little unsettled because there didn't really seem to be much of a resolution. It was like there was something missing. But while I didn't fall in love with it, this is still a good, fast-paced book for those who want a quick read as well as anyone who's intrigued by novels dealing with social networking.