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Invitation to the Game

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A chilling account of life in 2154, when most jobs are done by machines. Lisse and her friends are unemployable after graduation, but the government gives them an abandoned warehouse in a bleak neighborhood to live in. Anxious to escape their dreary lives, the friends embrace The Game, which takes them to paradise. But is this world real or only a computer simulation?


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A chilling account of life in 2154, when most jobs are done by machines. Lisse and her friends are unemployable after graduation, but the government gives them an abandoned warehouse in a bleak neighborhood to live in. Anxious to escape their dreary lives, the friends embrace The Game, which takes them to paradise. But is this world real or only a computer simulation?

30 review for Invitation to the Game

  1. 5 out of 5

    Flannery

    So, when I saw this on the shelves at B & N, I thought it sounded like a mixture of The Running Man(awesome) and The Hunger Games (also awesome) and I had to buy it. Having finished it, I can't say that it is as good as either of those books, but it is definitely enjoyable. This book was originally published in the early nineties and, though the author passed away a few years ago, obviously her publisher didn't want to miss out on the YA dystopia trend. I have to say, though, that this book is n So, when I saw this on the shelves at B & N, I thought it sounded like a mixture of The Running Man(awesome) and The Hunger Games (also awesome) and I had to buy it. Having finished it, I can't say that it is as good as either of those books, but it is definitely enjoyable. This book was originally published in the early nineties and, though the author passed away a few years ago, obviously her publisher didn't want to miss out on the YA dystopia trend. I have to say, though, that this book is not dated at all--but I did chuckle at her prediction that we'd be using e-readers in the future... The beginning of this book is definitely not its strong point. Monica Hughes introduces us to Lisse, our protagonist, and her group of friends, all of whom are graduating from Government School. In a The Giver-type ceremony, each graduate is given their future job assignment or confirmation that they are an Unemployed. As their society has replaced more and more of its workforce with robots, an increasing number of students find themselves Unemployed. Surprise! Lisse and several of her friends join the ranks of the jobless and move to their "Designated Area," where the Government provides them with their basic needs. All around their neighborhood, they hear whispers and conversations about "The Game." Now, don't get crazy, I'm not going to tell you what The Game is, it would ruin the whole story. But I will tell you that each kid specializes in some sort of occupation while at school. Lisse's group is balanced so each person brings something to their team. When they start playing The Game, it is clear that some people bring more to the table than others and this book was a little frustrating for me because the person who is dead weight on the team is THE PROTAGONIST. Seriously, we have a chemist, a farmer, someone medically trained, a historian, someone that knows karate, etc. And Lisse? Useless. (view spoiler)[and don't try to tell me she's "a writer." HISTORIANS can write history. And that's basically what she was doing at the end of the story. (hide spoiler)] She keeps getting injured, sick, crying, and generally holding her team back. This book is pretty interesting in that it shoves political theory into the minds of young adults. There were undertones of rebellion, questionings of authority, and at least a few discussions of the organization of society. The author really packs it all into 182 pages--it's like a clown car--but I didn't mind as I became invested in the story. In fact, I thought it was a great misdirection method--I couldn't wait to find out what The Game really was and what it had to do with the organization of this society! (view spoiler)[Answer: basically nothing. (hide spoiler)] If you really want to know what The Game is about, I'll tell you: (view spoiler)[At first, the group is doing a virtual reality exploration of a huge land. Over time, they stay for longer. In their final time playing, it turns out that all the practice gaming they'd done had been to prepare them for their actual mission to colonize a new planet. Evidently, their society has been shipping off well-balanced groups of Unemployeds to other planets to deal with their workforce problem. Each time they played, the teens were "asleep" when they played the game. The last time, I guess we are to believe that they were put under for however long it took the Government to send them on a spaceship to a planet ON THE OTHER SIDE OF OUR GALAXY. Nevertheless, I did enjoy the fact that each member of the team helped in the colonization. (Except Lisse, who was pretty useless) (hide spoiler)] I don't regret buying this one, nor do I regret reading it. The writing style (especially the dialogue) were annoying at points because the characters (who were basically cardboard, let's not kid ourselves here) had simplistic conversations and then they went to a club where the author said a Pierrot approached them. Now, I had an idea of what a Pierrot was, but I had to look it up to confirm my suspicion. Who the hell is the audience for this book? In most respects, I feel like it is middle readers, but every once in a while it felt like a teen book. I am clueless who I'd recommend this book to amongst my friends, but it was worthwhile.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Bren

    "An invitation to the game! Where had it come from? Who apart from the librarians and those horrible people we had met during our dip into the night jungle of our DA, Knew of our curiosity"? Invitation to the Game by Monica Hughes. Dystopian before anybody even knew what Dystopian actually is. I cannot believe I missed this in my young adult years. Or maybe I read it. It did seem sorta familiar. But who knows... Anyway this was really good. I had no idea what was going on with "the game" and I want "An invitation to the game! Where had it come from? Who apart from the librarians and those horrible people we had met during our dip into the night jungle of our DA, Knew of our curiosity"? Invitation to the Game by Monica Hughes. Dystopian before anybody even knew what Dystopian actually is. I cannot believe I missed this in my young adult years. Or maybe I read it. It did seem sorta familiar. But who knows... Anyway this was really good. I had no idea what was going on with "the game" and I wanted to know as much as the kids did I think. Anyway..it is short read..and way ahead of its time. I really enjoyed every aspect of Invitation, from the characters to where the plot ultimately went. I think Dystopian fans will enjoy this one.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Carllee

    This was one of the first books I can ever remember reading and really loving. This book had a huge impact on both my reading habits and my main areas of interest. I fully believe that this book is the reason I love science fiction novels and have a great love for (read: obsession with) the end of the world and post-apocalyptic fiction. Invitation to the Game follows a group of characters who have recently graduated with highly specialized degrees but most of whom are unemployable because of the This was one of the first books I can ever remember reading and really loving. This book had a huge impact on both my reading habits and my main areas of interest. I fully believe that this book is the reason I love science fiction novels and have a great love for (read: obsession with) the end of the world and post-apocalyptic fiction. Invitation to the Game follows a group of characters who have recently graduated with highly specialized degrees but most of whom are unemployable because of the growing number of jobs that are given to robots. These unemployed children are shuttled off to the middle of a ghetto and told society has no use for them. Life is dull and very nearly unbearable until the group receives an invitation. I haven't read the book in about 12 years but the characters and story still stick with me to this day. This book is hard to find, but hunt it down. I promise you won't be sorry.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Reuben H.

    Review originally written on 7/4/11. For me, Invitation to the Game by Monica Hughes is a classic. I absolutely loved it the first time I read it several years ago, and this time I loved it as well. I actually reviewed this book on a past blog when I read it the first time. I was first introduced to Invitation to the Game by my librarian. I instantly knew it wouldn't be a "regular" teen science fiction novel, because, well, my librarian introduced it to me! This is the librarian that doesn't reall Review originally written on 7/4/11. For me, Invitation to the Game by Monica Hughes is a classic. I absolutely loved it the first time I read it several years ago, and this time I loved it as well. I actually reviewed this book on a past blog when I read it the first time. I was first introduced to Invitation to the Game by my librarian. I instantly knew it wouldn't be a "regular" teen science fiction novel, because, well, my librarian introduced it to me! This is the librarian that doesn't really want any books about fishing in the library but has an entire section on quilting. She is definitely not a science fiction fan. But, alas, she actually recommended the book. I believe she said it was the only science fiction book that she ever liked. I was a little unsure when I started reading it, but after a short time I realized that it really was . . . you know, cool! In the future, 2154 to be exact, the world is practically run by machines. (Sound familiar? At first it seems like a typical science fiction story setting.) Thousands of occupations that were once filled by human beings are now filled by robots. This leaves thousands, probably millions across the world, of people unemployed, and they're pretty much dumped in a designated area (DA for short) and told to stay there. A sixteen-year-old girl named Lisse, fresh out of school, fails to land a job, as does seven of her friends (which she's shocked about, since they're all such bright students). They are driven to a city (it never specifies which) and let off in their designated area. They are given just enough government credits to survive every month, and are told that if they ever leave their DA, the Thought Police will track them down in mere moments. That's how Invitation to the Game starts out: a group of teens trying to survive in a dark and savage world. I believe if the author had spent more time exploring this world and all of the interesting pieces of future culture, then the book would've been a lot better, but it was written over twenty years ago, so I doubt I can change her mind. The group actually fares well for a while, until in a night bar they heard of something called 'The Game', and it perked their interest. On a few occasional nights since then they went to taverns and such and ask about this 'Game' that has capital letters. Eventually they find something about it, but not in any of those dirty, scum-infested bars. The Game is a treasure hunt. You're given clues every time you play, and the clues are all for a prize in the end, which nobody knows what it is. Only those invited can participate. It sounds sort of weird and maybe a bit boring, but the teens continue looking for information about it. And then they get invited to it. They don't know how, or why, or even if they should accept or not. Soon they find it is amazing beyond what they had imagined before. I'll stop the story synopsis at that point, as I don't want to tell you the entire story. Whether or not I made it sound great or horrible, I loved the book both times I read it. It's full of adventure, and jam-packed with various emotions such as intrigue, depression, joy, hatred, triumph, and realization that in the end it can all work out if you work together (the long version of saying "teamwork"). The plot was great, and I didn't really see the ending twist coming (though I'm the type of person who doesn't usually see twists coming). I've fallen in love with the author's portrayal of the future (though I certainly hope our future doesn't turn out that way), and if there were other books that take place in the same universe, I'd read them for sure. Monica Hughes is a great author. There are many things that I think she could have done better, but altogether it was a spectacular novel. I'd recommend it to people at any age.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Mindi Mallia

    This is the first book in a really long time that I haven't been thrilled with. I picked this up while browsing through the store one day and thought it looked interesting. The book is really short, I assumed it would be a quick and easy read. Realistically it would have been, but it took me forever to get through because I just wasn't interested in it. The only part that I was mildly interested in was the last 40 pages or so, and only because the twist was so far out of left field that I read c This is the first book in a really long time that I haven't been thrilled with. I picked this up while browsing through the store one day and thought it looked interesting. The book is really short, I assumed it would be a quick and easy read. Realistically it would have been, but it took me forever to get through because I just wasn't interested in it. The only part that I was mildly interested in was the last 40 pages or so, and only because the twist was so far out of left field that I read closer to see if I could pick up on what I had missed earlier. A few other issues that I had with it were the big periods of time missing between chapters. I get that it was necessary to move the story along, but it just seemed disjointed. There are also a ton of characters and I felt like it was difficult to keep them all sorted in my head, and harder still to form any real attachment to any of them but a few. Even the main character wasn't all that interesting. I'm making it sound like I hated the book, and that's not true, I really didn't. It's just that I tend to care about the books that I read and what happens. I feel like everyone could have died in the end of this book and I couldn't have batted an eyelash. It was just one of those books whose plot and characters didn't connect with me, and if I can't connect with the characters then their story isn't that important to me. I don't know, maybe I need a bit more time to process it, but I'm kind of relieved to be done with it just so I don't have to spend any more time convincing myself to finish it already.

  6. 4 out of 5

    N.T. Embe

    This book, is absolutely a fantastic read! The writing style is so easy and clear that you flow right through the book and are sucked into it before you even know it! Everything runs so smoothly! It's amazing how well Monica Hughes makes this book run, and I have only the highest compliments for her. It's a short book as well! Under two hundred pages which makes it an even easier task to go through swiftly, but the pace is never rushed, even though you can read it within a few hours if you're a This book, is absolutely a fantastic read! The writing style is so easy and clear that you flow right through the book and are sucked into it before you even know it! Everything runs so smoothly! It's amazing how well Monica Hughes makes this book run, and I have only the highest compliments for her. It's a short book as well! Under two hundred pages which makes it an even easier task to go through swiftly, but the pace is never rushed, even though you can read it within a few hours if you're a fast reader or even not so quick! On top of that, Monica Hughes has a GREAT talent for bringing you right into the situation. The book and its characters are IMMENSELY relate-able. The situation is twisted of course to match the future year, yet even though this book is categorized as Science Fiction, there are only a few mild elements to it that really brings about that feel, which makes it not wholly an alien landscape. You have the school they go to, you have the idea of being assigned jobs by the government, and then the concept of being dictated where to live. It all has a very Dystopian air about it, which is probably the stronger of the two elements in the book. But it mingles it so very well that you don't even pay much attention to either. They serve as only the mild sparks of the unusual that make this book a really interesting read! Plus, even with these elements, the book never strays too far from the impossible, even at the surprise twist towards the end! (Don't worry. This review will remain Spoiler Free, I promise.) The story is set in the future, during a time period where almost every job has been replaced by robots. Not too unusual a scenario, but even if this makes it familiar, it also makes it easy to relate to. When a batch of kids fresh from high school end up as the Permanently Unemployed, you're sitting right there thinking, "Well great! We get to stay in one place, with this amount of money, for the REST of our BORING lives! Wonderful!" It's enough to play on the emotions of any self-respecting individual! And then, (Warning, corny line coming up) everything changes when they get introduced to The Game. Since that itself is a spoiler, I won't tell you what it is. *Smiles* However! It's enough to get these kids crazy involved with it, since heck! ANYTHING is better than this slum life they're FORCED to live because the entire Government has them in lock-down until they DIE. You get this enormous sense of the unfairness of this corrupt, slowly degrading world, and you feel even worse because you know that there's not a stinking thing you can do about it. It brings about a vivid feeling of imprisonment in not just these kids, freshly raised with all this knowledge! And now no where to use it...but in the reader as well. And speaking of the kids! These characters are AWESOME. They're so smart and they work so well together, and even when they have fights and disagreements, you GET what they're going through, because you would probably feel the same way if you were in their shoes! Plus, the main character, Lisse? She's awesome. She comes off as such a quiet type, but she has her moments of speaking out and stating her thoughts aloud (as well as in narrative, which is really great to read) and mingling them with those of her friends. What Monica does is takes all these different people and uses them to create every single side of the argument possible, and you feel so easily bounced back from one to the other that you don't even mind when you're not quite sure who's speaking, because what they say makes so much SENSE. It's a book that plays on your emotions more than anything, and it's a great ride. Because it's also fun! You've got a lot of seriousness in it, but the bond of this band of teenagers is so tight that everything you go through feels...well, normal! And not in the boring normal way either, but in the way that makes you feel like you're right in there with them, going through the same things they are. It's a great way of being carried along in the story, and I know that if you don't agree with one of the characters, you'll find yourself echoing the thoughts and words of one of the others. That's what Lisse's job is throughout the book. She's the one that we get to relate to, and who sets the scene for us. It's because of her that our emotions begin to fuse with those of the people around us in the story, since we're seeing it from Lisse's point of view. And that's the key to really enjoying this book! Because we get to know Lisse's thoughts, it evokes in us a lot of corresponding ideas until we're just as deep in as the rest of them. Plus, this book's got that GREAT twist at the end. Considering it's such an EASY book to fall into, and it really does carry that sense of normality and relate-ability to it, when you get thrown for that big loop at the end, you're just as stunned as the rest of them. In my opinion, that's what makes this such a great and really fun book to read! You know it's Sci-Fi and Dystopian, but you forget all that in the fact that it's also really, really, really personal! Monica Hughes herself said it in the book! It's about the subtlety of the story. You get so drawn in, you can conceive of the situation they're in with the government and living situations, because it's something that CAN happen to OUR world and US. And because of that, when you DO get the twist at the end, you're shocked! Because after everything being so easy to relate to, you've suddenly been thrown a curve ball you couldn't have seen coming if you were as involved with the characters and their thoughts as I was! And sure, you probably could figure it out, but that's not the magic of this book. Its true wonder is revealed when you give up your own thoughts and just get captured in the book itself, in the characters and in their thoughts and arguments. When you flow right along with them, when you go through their troubles and their attempts to survive and learn, you get so into their situation that the ending does take you by surprise and it's AWESOME for it! This is truly a great story. Simple and fun, easy to read and filled with enjoyable, intelligent characters of all kinds! It's the kind of story you like to pick up and read because it's just a blast to be taken along for the ride! I would recommend this story definitely for the Sci-Fi minded Dystopian lovers. It's not top-full of one over the other, but it's a great story to read just for enjoyment's sake! And it's so easy to read and enjoy that I don't see why anyone shouldn't read it! Go on and have some fun! It's worth the trip if you're willing to let loose and let the story take you. Try it out! I hope you'll be amazed! Maybe that's just the child in me though? It's definitely not over-complex, and it's also a typical middle-school book I'd say. But there's nothing wrong with enjoying a simple read for the sake of enjoyment itself. *Smiles* I think if you have an open mind, and read this book seeking to enjoy it, you will. And that's a good enough reason to pick it up and try!

  7. 5 out of 5

    Anna K

    To say the least I did not enjoy this book. The dialog is forced and cringe worthy, the characters do not develop at all, the plot is predictable and very basic. It takes a lot for me to not like a book but this book definitely did it. The only reason I stuck with it till the end (which, was by all means utterly predictable) was because it was a book read for school and refusing to read school material can do a toll on your grade. The characters are stagnant and don't change over the course of t To say the least I did not enjoy this book. The dialog is forced and cringe worthy, the characters do not develop at all, the plot is predictable and very basic. It takes a lot for me to not like a book but this book definitely did it. The only reason I stuck with it till the end (which, was by all means utterly predictable) was because it was a book read for school and refusing to read school material can do a toll on your grade. The characters are stagnant and don't change over the course of the entire book. You never get attached to the characters they are not established enough for you to do so. And the character you get to know a little are irritating and get on your nerves. Sorry, Lessie but you deserved pneumonia for being such a nuisance. What about Scylla? or Katie? They should be more involved in the story. The book would have been a better read through the eyes of Scylla or Katie. There are ten main characters and I can name about six of them and tell you maybe one or two things about four of the characters. I usually am very invested in the character throughout a story but this book made this incredibly hard to do. And what is the moral? Don't let robots take your jobs? New beginnings are needed to keep from make the human population extinct? If you know please tell me. Although this was a cautionary story they talk about now modern technology like its exotic and foreign and won't be invented for another 150 year but spoiler alert these things are happening now. Don't even get me started on the plot it is predictable in every way shape and form. No, i'm not done yet. I haven't even gotten started, next stop on the pity train is the dialog. The dialog in this so called book is the most forced and awkward conversations you will ever read. No one talks like that and if you do I feel bad for you. Example (no big spoilers): “No way! Oh, for a little hot chicken soup. My throat-” “Why don’t you just pipe down, Rich, before I make your sore throat worse?” “What’s happened to you all? You just awful!” “Jogging. I looked for our old place. But I couldn’t find it.” (page 124) Ect. I would find another better example but if I look at this book again I might throw it out the window. Am I the only one we thinks the characters talk like robots? This has nothing to do with the quality of the book but THE COVER makes me want to barf. I screams. Cool, futuristic, adventure that is if you think an outdated drawing of a cheesy girl wearing a headset is adventurous . This cover was made in the 90's I am begging someone to please give this book a cover update. And um the girl on the cover is wearing an orange jumpsuit it clearly states several times throughout the book that the jumpsuit are plan and gray-green. Proof (no big spoilers): "There was every possible size to chose from, but otherwise they were an identical greenish-gray" (page 61) The only reason it gave this book two stars instead of one is that I do see the thinking behind this book and can see how this could be an amazing tale. But, instead it is a crappy excuse for a book that seems as if the pages where slapped together and put under and cover that makes me ill. And if you still want to read this book after reading my rant, you should skim it. It might be a good skim book. Thanks for reading my rant.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Wealhtheow

    In a future dys/utopia, Lisse and her friends have all just graduated from school. But there are too many people and not enough jobs, and they are each left unemployed, on the dole, and at a loss for how to live in a highly regimented society with no place for them. They quickly learn hard lessons about dumpster-diving and squatting, and even faster, they lose interest in the hard-partying lifestyle of their fellow unemployed youths. When the group is invited to play a free virtual reality game, In a future dys/utopia, Lisse and her friends have all just graduated from school. But there are too many people and not enough jobs, and they are each left unemployed, on the dole, and at a loss for how to live in a highly regimented society with no place for them. They quickly learn hard lessons about dumpster-diving and squatting, and even faster, they lose interest in the hard-partying lifestyle of their fellow unemployed youths. When the group is invited to play a free virtual reality game, they jump at the chance to escape the grime and social stigmas of their daily lives. Living on an alien planet within "the game," each of the group finds new purpose to their lives. But when they disconnect, they're still just as poor and unwanted as ever.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Bridget

    This was almost really good. It felt like a mash-up of 1984, The Running Man, and The Hunger Games, but not quite as good as any of them. Definitely an interesting concept though - and a new one that I wasn't really expecting. But in the end, I felt the book was lacking depth. And where it was lacking depth, I felt that Hughes had made the ending too clean for my taste. This was almost really good. It felt like a mash-up of 1984, The Running Man, and The Hunger Games, but not quite as good as any of them. Definitely an interesting concept though - and a new one that I wasn't really expecting. But in the end, I felt the book was lacking depth. And where it was lacking depth, I felt that Hughes had made the ending too clean for my taste.

  10. 4 out of 5

    StarMan

    VERDICT: 3 YA/juvenile stars. Adult rating: under 3 stars. FIRST LINE:   It was the last day of school and the terror of the previous weeks had crept up on me again. PLOT: High school grads in a future dystopia... with rumors of a mysterious Game. IN SHORT: A more juvenile, uber-lite Hunger Games* -- minus the details and depth. And romance. And weapons. And most everything else. BUT... with a plot twist you will NOT find in The Hunger Games books. * Hunger Games was first published in 2008. [INVITA VERDICT: 3 YA/juvenile stars. Adult rating: under 3 stars. FIRST LINE:   It was the last day of school and the terror of the previous weeks had crept up on me again. PLOT: High school grads in a future dystopia... with rumors of a mysterious Game. IN SHORT: A more juvenile, uber-lite Hunger Games* -- minus the details and depth. And romance. And weapons. And most everything else. BUT... with a plot twist you will NOT find in The Hunger Games books. * Hunger Games was first published in 2008. [INVITATION TO] THE GAME was published 17 years earlier (1991). A FEW DETAILS (no big spoilers): ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ (view spoiler)[ THE GAME was originally titled Invitation to the Game when first published in 1993 1991, and it has won a couple of awards. It still holds up pretty well today. It's a short read at around 180 pages, and probably is best suited for the younger end of the YA spectrum -- maybe ages 11-15 or so. As long as you don't expect much plot or character depth, and can get past some logic flaws, this stand-alone YA/juvenile SF dystopia adventure is a pretty good way to pass a few hours. It's also family-friendly: no cursing, religion, insta-love, extreme violence, or sex. And there's a twist that may catch young readers by surprise. In the end, THE GAME feels like a good draft of what could be a more exciting, emotional, and fleshed-out novel. On the plus side, it stands alone without a life-or-death cliffhanger, and there's no objectionable content to offend parents or prudes. (hide spoiler)] ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Note: my copy of THE Game (paperback ISBN 1442409398) included at the end a preview of a book by Robin Wasserman: Skinned , also published under the title Frozen

  11. 4 out of 5

    Dramapuppy

    I tried to think of a reason to give this book three stars. I really did. It's true it entertained me for two or three hours. I never wanted to put it down; I had to know what would happen. Hughes' writing is certainly engaging. And the premise is so intriguing! But... there are so many things wrong with it. First of all, there are ten main characters. I can list seven. I can describe none. No one had a distinct personality, even the narrator. For example, Katie knows karate. That is literally the I tried to think of a reason to give this book three stars. I really did. It's true it entertained me for two or three hours. I never wanted to put it down; I had to know what would happen. Hughes' writing is certainly engaging. And the premise is so intriguing! But... there are so many things wrong with it. First of all, there are ten main characters. I can list seven. I can describe none. No one had a distinct personality, even the narrator. For example, Katie knows karate. That is literally the only thing we know about her. At least that I can remember. And apparently three of them had incredibly generic names. Anyway, it was frustrating to read about a bunch of strangers. They all talked the same way. Read a line of dialogue; any one of the characters could have said it and you wouldn't know which. The writing, while intriguing, was just...bad. Maybe I just don't like the style? It just read really weird. It was supposedly in first person but... no teenager talks that way! The premise, while interesting, makes absolutely no sense! (view spoiler)[ Why would the oh so cleverly named Government send teenagers to another planet without basic essentials? Why should they start over at the Stone Age? Isn't that a waste of time? Why would they only test seemingly randomly selected teenagers? Why would they include teenagers who are going to be bitter at the group for ripping them out of the upper class? Why ISN'T Benta more bitter? Why would the original Game include a world actually way happier than the actual planet? Why would they wait so long between sessions? Why would the author SHOW us these boring in between times? All of these are questions that Hughes attempts and fails to answer in the last ten pages. Things that are also never addressed: The group never gets definitive proof that they're no longer in a simulation. Personally, I like to think that they're still lying on gray couches as scientists laugh at the theories they come up with. Both groups have the same number of men and women, and they are all attracted to a unique member of the other team. No one falls in love with anyone on their own team, no one likes the same person, no one would rather be single, no one is homosexual. Twenty people? Really? Twenty? I get that there are other groups else where in the world (why are they separate?), but this is not enough people. Inbreeding will happen. Lisse is pregnant, and all she's got is a ton of sheltered young adults. That birth will not be smooth. Why is NO ONE even a LITTLE BIT upset about being on another planet? Why didn't the government find consensual participants? Surely some people would be willing to escape their poverty? Why do they have to go on the same history cycle as Earth? Stone age, Bronze age, why?? It's so unlikely it will happen the same way. Wouldn't it be more effective to move more people to this planet, so they could move through the phases FASTER, and stop the unemployment back on Earth? I feel like the Government could kill two birds with one stone here. I mean seriously they removed a couple of actual workers to do this. WHY. WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY. (hide spoiler)] You can tell Hughes just wanted to write this and when she got to the end she realized how little sense it made but just didn't care anymore. But at least it's entertaining, right?

  12. 5 out of 5

    Diallo

    I read the Invitation To The Game by, Monica Hughes. I think this book is wonderful to read,I think it's wonderful because i like books/movies about the future and i wish we had flying cars like in old movies sad 2015 would be like. The main setting is inside the game and in the Designated Area. The main characters are children named Lisse, Scylla, Brad, Rich, Paul, Katie, Alden, Trent, Karen and Benta and robots. The conflict was the robots were doing jobs for the kids and others but the other I read the Invitation To The Game by, Monica Hughes. I think this book is wonderful to read,I think it's wonderful because i like books/movies about the future and i wish we had flying cars like in old movies sad 2015 would be like. The main setting is inside the game and in the Designated Area. The main characters are children named Lisse, Scylla, Brad, Rich, Paul, Katie, Alden, Trent, Karen and Benta and robots. The conflict was the robots were doing jobs for the kids and others but the other people need jobs but the robots took them. I would recommend this book because people would find it wonderful like i did its the best book i ever read. I would recommend this book to people who wants to go to the future and what it would be like.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Allen Johnson

    The book I read was Invitation to the Game the author is Monica Hughes. I really did like the book because there is robots who take all the jobs and so the kids have to survive with a group. There is many settings like there house, the nightlife Barton oaks, and the virtual reality. The main characters are Karen, Benta, Brad, Lisse, Scylla, Charlie, Alden, Katie, Paul, and Rich. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes science fiction I would recommend this book to them because it is a re The book I read was Invitation to the Game the author is Monica Hughes. I really did like the book because there is robots who take all the jobs and so the kids have to survive with a group. There is many settings like there house, the nightlife Barton oaks, and the virtual reality. The main characters are Karen, Benta, Brad, Lisse, Scylla, Charlie, Alden, Katie, Paul, and Rich. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes science fiction I would recommend this book to them because it is a really good book and it has robots.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Matthew Campbell

    Based on my memory of reading the book in '92. At the time, it was a fairly 'hard' dystopia starring wayward and dead end kids that captured a very particular version early late gen-x/early gen-y zeitgeist of economic fatalism. Based on my memory of reading the book in '92. At the time, it was a fairly 'hard' dystopia starring wayward and dead end kids that captured a very particular version early late gen-x/early gen-y zeitgeist of economic fatalism.

  15. 4 out of 5

    BobRoss'sCooluncle

    Okay

  16. 5 out of 5

    TheBookSmugglers

    Originally Reviewed on The Book Smugglers Why did I read this book: This previously published early '90s book has been coming up in talks with other dystopian-minded bibliophiles (including the wonderful author Megan Crewe who mentioned the book as one of her favorite YA dystopians in this month's newsletter!), and when I learned that Simon & Schuster had recently republished the book, I knew I had to track it down and give it a shot. Although I must say, I think I prefer the totally rad 1990s co Originally Reviewed on The Book Smugglers Why did I read this book: This previously published early '90s book has been coming up in talks with other dystopian-minded bibliophiles (including the wonderful author Megan Crewe who mentioned the book as one of her favorite YA dystopians in this month's newsletter!), and when I learned that Simon & Schuster had recently republished the book, I knew I had to track it down and give it a shot. Although I must say, I think I prefer the totally rad 1990s cover to the bland reissued version. Look at that Virtual Reality madness! The colors! LIGHTNING! Review: In the year 2154, overcrowding is the world's biggest problem. For Lisse and her friends, graduating from their government sponsored school is a time of morbid dread, because even though she and her classmates have graduated with honors and have surpassed all expectation in their final exams, they are surplus population. With androids taking over tasks both menial and specialized, there isn't anything available for newly minted high school graduates - certainly not college, and no career prospects. When Lisse's graduation day comes around, she learns that her worst fear has come true with three brief sentences: CONGRATULATIONS ON GRADUATING WITH HONORS! ENJOY YOUR LEISURE YEARS! USE THEM CREATIVELY. With seven other friends, Lisse is driven to the City and dropped off in her "Designated Area". Given a monthly allowance by the government to cover shelter, food, and the bare necessities, Lisse and her friends decide to pool their knowledge and resources and try to make it, together, in this strange, terrifying new world, teeming with youthful unemployed with nothing but time on their hands. As the group becomes acclimated to their new surroundings, they learn about a mysterious diversion that promises riches and treasure. A diversion known, in whispered tones, as The Game. A secret affair, The Game can be accessed by invitation only - and Lisse and her crew have just received their summons. The Game is an alternate reality like nothing like they have ever felt before, and Lisse and her friends become ever-deeper immersed in the experience, hungry for their next invitation. But what is The Game? What is its purpose? And why have Lisse and her friends been chosen? Prior to last year, I had not heard of The Game (nor had I seen anything of its glorious 1991 original cover) - and you know, it's funny how you can tell the era a book was written in by the tropes present. Though it has been repackaged for the era of The Hunger Games, from the prose to the characterizations, the quick plotting to the tropes, this is very much an early '90s science fiction/dystopia. And you know what? Despite the lack of in-depth characterization or emotion, I liked it. I liked it a lot. Easily, the strongest aspect of The Game lies with its overall conceptualization and its plot. Like an episode of The Twilight Zone, The Game relies on a strong central hook, the ensuing conflict, and a helluva twist at the end to tie it all together. I love the theme at the heart of the book and how oddly socially relevant it is today: there's the problem of unemployment, especially of intelligent, motivated, and educated youth who are unable to procure jobs by no real fault of their own as there simply aren't any jobs to be had. With robots able to do tasks faster and cheaper than the human populace (hello, outsourcing parallel), and the snide attitudes of the employed resenting the taxes they have to pay in order to keep the unemployed fed and housed (sound familiar?), it's almost eerie how much the issues in The Game mimic today's socio-economic issues. I loved that The Game's society is a true dystopia - on a superficial level, it's kind of a Utopia in that the populace need not work, their needs are generally catered for by the state and taxpayers. On a deeper level, the state controls the populace with Orwellian Thought Police, through limited means and absolute control of credits, communication and transportation, and of course through The eponymous Game itself. Also, I loved the "twist" that pulls the book together - thought-provoking and deeply rooted in full-blown SF territory, I was not expecting the final level of The Game, and I love the path down which Monica Hughes takes readers. (Sorry, can't say more for fear of spoilers! Suffice to say, it's good, dear readers. It is good.) These praises said, I do feel like certain elements of the book were lacking - most importantly, the characterizations, especially that of our narrator Lisse. Utterly passive and strangely detached, there's a hollowness to Lisse's narrative that makes her seem like a passenger to her own story - we learn much more about the characters of Scylla or Katie, or even Alden than we do Lisse, who spends a lot of time sitting and watching, catching up when she falls behind, and playing peacekeeper. There's nothing really endearing or defining about Lisse as a character, which is a huge drawback to the novel. From a writing perspective, my reaction to The Game is hard to scale. It's interesting to me because clearly, there's enough meat in The Game to protract the story across a trilogy of books spanning a thousand pages - yet this novel is a standalone that finishes the job in less than 200 pages. It's a kind of interesting examination of the YA market today versus what it used to be in the early '90s. So many of my favorite books as a tween and teen (hello, Christopher Pike!) were standalone novels very much like The Game - brilliant in concept, but perhaps less indulgent in the characterization and emotional explication. By the end of the book, too, there's a lot of telling and characters sitting around theorizing (thus explaining) their predicament in lieu of showing. Had Ms. Hughes been writing in today's market, I'm certain Lisse would be quite a different character, and The Game expanded over multiple volumes. I'm not sure which era is better for YA Speculative Fiction - but it's an interesting contrast, at the very least. While I felt like this book could have used a lot of beefing up, particularly in the character department, for what it is - one of those glorious neon packaged books that you would devour in a bus ride as a tween reader (fellow nerds, you know what I'm talking about) - The Game completely succeeds. For anyone yearning for a kickback to nostalgic '80s/'90s style YA SF, this one's for you.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Aaron

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. This book seems confused about its politics. It's a dystopia sci-fi novel about a world with an oppressive and totalitarian government keeping the unemployed penned into squalourous neighborhoods - but the government and their decisions are celebrated and justified by the end of the book. It's a book about a privileged working class and a destitute underclass legally prohibited from working, who rely on government programs to survive - but it seems critical of social programs that it dubs 'bread This book seems confused about its politics. It's a dystopia sci-fi novel about a world with an oppressive and totalitarian government keeping the unemployed penned into squalourous neighborhoods - but the government and their decisions are celebrated and justified by the end of the book. It's a book about a privileged working class and a destitute underclass legally prohibited from working, who rely on government programs to survive - but it seems critical of social programs that it dubs 'bread and circuses.' It's about a government that has driven unemployment rates to 90% by refusing to decommission a cheap and efficient robotic workforce because it would cost more to give jobs back to humans - but the natural questions of labor exploitation, late-stage capitalism, and corporate greed are never broached. It's a book about extreme self-reliance and community solidarity that doesn't try to engage with the contradictions of those worldviews, and that scarcely questions a moral question in the third act that absolutely strips all characters of their agency. Also, everyone is just so straight by the end, and that's just a bummer. By the end, the only takeaway I could glean was an Ayn Rand-ian, luddite philosophy that the only good life option is throwing away society and living alone in the wilderness while forging your own copper. This was a book I read a dozen times in middle school, and still recalled a lot of the passages with surprising clarity on this re-read. I was disappointed that it didn't hold up to a less childlike exploration of its ideas. I think there a lot of interesting ideas that could have been expounded on further. A much longer book written for an older audience on this same premise would probably be something I'd be very interested in reading.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Katie

    So this was first published in 1991, but oh wow, it could've been written in response to the events of today. Robots taking over jobs! And the comments about unemployeds living off taxpayer money? Owwwwww, that was hard to read. So that was interesting and I liked this for the most part, though the characters didn't really stand out to me. The ending weakened it. (view spoiler)[I liked getting a glimpse of their future, but, come on, "We met up with a group of 10 other people and within a year ea So this was first published in 1991, but oh wow, it could've been written in response to the events of today. Robots taking over jobs! And the comments about unemployeds living off taxpayer money? Owwwwww, that was hard to read. So that was interesting and I liked this for the most part, though the characters didn't really stand out to me. The ending weakened it. (view spoiler)[I liked getting a glimpse of their future, but, come on, "We met up with a group of 10 other people and within a year each of us had married one of the other 10!" REALLY? It worked out that perfectly??? Especially since we're talking TEENAGERS. (hide spoiler)] Anyway, glad I finally pulled this off my shelf.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Louisa

    This holds up surprisingly well! There are times when the worldbuilding is a little weak -- are there still countries in this time? The kids mention Australia, e.g., but it also seems like the Government is somehow global -- but it detracts minimally from the story. The other thing that struck me rereading this after over a decade was the pacing. I'd forgotten how these big chunks of time pass. Both the thinness of the worldbuilding and the pacing can easily be put down to this being very much a This holds up surprisingly well! There are times when the worldbuilding is a little weak -- are there still countries in this time? The kids mention Australia, e.g., but it also seems like the Government is somehow global -- but it detracts minimally from the story. The other thing that struck me rereading this after over a decade was the pacing. I'd forgotten how these big chunks of time pass. Both the thinness of the worldbuilding and the pacing can easily be put down to this being very much a kids' book, and I think the principles of it and the intrigue manage to make up for that, for the most part.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Mitchell D. 8B

    Amazing book that everyone should read, you don't even know that is happening until the end! Amazing book that everyone should read, you don't even know that is happening until the end!

  21. 5 out of 5

    Kevin Flynn

    This was just OK. I thought it kinda sucked. I took some righteous vape hits while I read it though

  22. 5 out of 5

    Emily Dean

    I enjoyed this one! I wasn't sure where it was going and I could see this being expanded upon for a longer, more up-to-date YA novel, but the story was interesting and I enjoyed the characters. I enjoyed this one! I wasn't sure where it was going and I could see this being expanded upon for a longer, more up-to-date YA novel, but the story was interesting and I enjoyed the characters.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Ian

    Invitation to the Game was a fascinating, thought-provoking and fun book to read. My only problem was that there was pretty poor characterization through the story, though that is kind of part of the dystopian genre I think. Finding your identity. The author takes you through three different main settings (and many other different atmospheres in those settings), and this was written in a seamless way that really engrossed me. You do have to get used to the writing style, and the quotes are not def Invitation to the Game was a fascinating, thought-provoking and fun book to read. My only problem was that there was pretty poor characterization through the story, though that is kind of part of the dystopian genre I think. Finding your identity. The author takes you through three different main settings (and many other different atmospheres in those settings), and this was written in a seamless way that really engrossed me. You do have to get used to the writing style, and the quotes are not defined as to who said them (which was kind of annoying). 4.25 Stars

  24. 5 out of 5

    Jessica

    Monica Hughes has long been a hero of mine. Her books DEVIL ON MY BACK and THE KEEPER OF THE ISIS LIGHT are amazing, and I read them over and over as a child. Long before YA books like THE HUNGER GAMES were common, books that asked hard questions of teen readers and put teen characters in truly desperate situations, she was writing things like this. DEVIL ON MY BACK doesn't have a happy ending, it has a hard ending, where the main character has to decide whether to give up happiness in order to Monica Hughes has long been a hero of mine. Her books DEVIL ON MY BACK and THE KEEPER OF THE ISIS LIGHT are amazing, and I read them over and over as a child. Long before YA books like THE HUNGER GAMES were common, books that asked hard questions of teen readers and put teen characters in truly desperate situations, she was writing things like this. DEVIL ON MY BACK doesn't have a happy ending, it has a hard ending, where the main character has to decide whether to give up happiness in order to do the right thing. In INVITATION TO THE GAME, Lisse and her friends have been declared unemployable, their only skills are things that can be done by robots. So they know they will live out their days on welfare, reviled by workers, scrounging for anything beyond the basic necessities. There's talk of sterilizing the unemployeds, their life expectancy is around 60, and they cannot leave the single neighborhood they've been assigned to. It's harsh stuff. But Lisse and her friends are trying. They're trying to make something of themselves, to be happy . . . and then they're invited to play the game. But is the game for real? And what is the prize waiting for them at the end? The premise of this book is fascinating, and Hughes' writing just whips along. It's a small book, and spare. There are no endless training montages or deep descriptions. If this book had been written today, it would have been a good two hundred pages longer, and my attention would have wandered a great deal. As it is, I couldn't put it down. But It's not her best book, sadly. There are WAY too many characters, and most of them are completely interchangeable. I actually didn't care enough about most of Lisse's friends enough to bother learning who was who. The only person given a physical description is her friend Scylla, who has long red hair and a deep voice. We don't even know what Lisse looks like. She's also the least dynamic character in the book, the only one who really has no useful skills, until the very end. With more compelling characters this book would have been 5 stars and would probably still be talked about.

  25. 4 out of 5

    katyjanereads

    1. Who was Charlie really? What was the point in his part of the story? Why was he so powerful? I don't know. Was he a government spy or thought police who was supposed to see if this group was strong enough for The Game? 2. Didn't the other group on the Subway say that this was their second year at The Game? Does that mean that they got stronger as a group and were ready for drop off to another planet? 3. So Lisse's special thing was being a writer. Gotcha. That's the reason I am forgiving of the 1. Who was Charlie really? What was the point in his part of the story? Why was he so powerful? I don't know. Was he a government spy or thought police who was supposed to see if this group was strong enough for The Game? 2. Didn't the other group on the Subway say that this was their second year at The Game? Does that mean that they got stronger as a group and were ready for drop off to another planet? 3. So Lisse's special thing was being a writer. Gotcha. That's the reason I am forgiving of the holes in the story. It is only told through her perspective so we get a very limited view. 4. There were so many people to keep up with. 3/4 of the way through I think I finally got it. 5. Parallels to The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins include the name of the book, the concept of bread and circuses, and all of the outlandish clothing of the people on Earth. 6. This book made me really think at the end. What would happen if we had to start all over? Without being conditioned as they were in a government school, I'm afraid we may not succeed as they did. How many of us know how to build a loom? Make things from the various metals? Start a fire. Ok, I might be able to do that one. Maybe. We are way too dependent on modern conveniences. 7. I needed more information about how the government was run, the rules that the masses had to abide by, why the stores were really only open at night, why they never really met more groups like themselves on the street, what family life was like before they go to school, how the parents met, what the government school like (in more depth,) more backstory to the takeover of robots, more about the mechanics of the robots, more about the technology, what their space exploration was like. But again, Lisse doesn't know these answers, so neither do we. Maybe this story would have been even better in third person or with all of the information I want to know, a series? 8. So Earth is just going to suck forever? Earthlings, please rebel. Seriously, just throw some water on those robots and watch 'em rust.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Duane Miller

    The book is set in a dystopian future wherein human labor is being replaced with that of robots. A group of students graduate from the government boarding school and are shipped to their 'area'. They are not allowed to leave the area without permission. They basically live off of meager welfare and their craftiness. But the thing is, these kids really are intelligent. They decide to live together which gives them more latitude in choosing a place to live, as there are no individual dwellings avai The book is set in a dystopian future wherein human labor is being replaced with that of robots. A group of students graduate from the government boarding school and are shipped to their 'area'. They are not allowed to leave the area without permission. They basically live off of meager welfare and their craftiness. But the thing is, these kids really are intelligent. They decide to live together which gives them more latitude in choosing a place to live, as there are no individual dwellings available at that time. The group demonstrates solidarity and diversity. Not the stereotypical diversity of different skin colors—we never learn anything about anyone's ethnicity, actually—but in their skills and personalities. You know, like in real life. They are invited to "the game" (as in the title) even as they learn to thrive in the sordid world of the unemployed. The story is about character, skill, and teamwork. It is about learning that a team of six can accomplish vastly more than six individuals. And the reveal—there are two—at the end is gratifying; it is gracious; it is rewarding. Also, the kids know how to do stuff, like make a loom and identify plants. This hints at actual useful, practical applied knowledge (ie, technology) will make the book challenging for your pre-teen or early teen. The Hunger Games series forces a young woman to be a hero by displaying masculine traits. This book doesn't fall into that facile, infantile, ridiculous trap of the unsophisticated and misanthropic mind.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Krystle

    Oh my. This book sure is a trip. I was having some weird Minority Report, I, Robot, and Titan A.E moments when I read this. So, since this book is really short, you obviously can point out key areas where there would be good places for expansion or more in depth development, like the characters or certain plot elements but it’s fun by itself. I liked how the characters worked together and puzzled things out even though some of their interactions seem a bit contrived or forced. It feels dated a bit Oh my. This book sure is a trip. I was having some weird Minority Report, I, Robot, and Titan A.E moments when I read this. So, since this book is really short, you obviously can point out key areas where there would be good places for expansion or more in depth development, like the characters or certain plot elements but it’s fun by itself. I liked how the characters worked together and puzzled things out even though some of their interactions seem a bit contrived or forced. It feels dated a bit in parts concerning the whole futuristic elements and technology since it was released in 1991 but that’s not so bad. I liked the author’s creativity. There’s this driving OMG, WHAT IS THIS GAME question pulling me all the way through the book and while I don’t think it was addressed in a smooth way, it sure had me going HOLY CRAP, WHAT THE HECK JUST HAPPENED?! That plot twist totally came out of nowhere. Holy hells. I was so not prepared for it. Nevertheless, it’s an enjoyable book and feels more sci-fi rather than dystopian but it’s an interesting contrast on how people view dystopian societies with the then and the now. Nice short book.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Colleen

    Best post-apocalyptic dystopian interstellar colonization story EVER. Specific, yes. But you know what, nothing else in children's lit scratches this itch! It's maddening! Enough that I re-read it earlier this year (preparatory to trying to make my youngest sister read it.) And it was still good, because frankly it taps into the same childhood fantasy you would have every time you went to the mall. 'Wouldn't it be COOL if I was locked in here, after hours, especially with a bunch of my friends? Best post-apocalyptic dystopian interstellar colonization story EVER. Specific, yes. But you know what, nothing else in children's lit scratches this itch! It's maddening! Enough that I re-read it earlier this year (preparatory to trying to make my youngest sister read it.) And it was still good, because frankly it taps into the same childhood fantasy you would have every time you went to the mall. 'Wouldn't it be COOL if I was locked in here, after hours, especially with a bunch of my friends? We could do anything... Hey, we could even LIVE here if we needed to...' And then if you're a budding futurist you think ahead a step or two and go, 'Oh, wait, without continuing our education we'd run into certain problems... what if someone got sugar-high and fell off the Giant Pile of Mattresses we're planning to make, and broke his arm, empty malls don't have doctors...' And Hughes treats this set of ideas in TWO radically different settings as part of the same plot. And I am way too excited about an out-of-print children's book, but so be it.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Sam

    I love sci-fi, but this book was absolutely awful. It's fundamental premise, that almost all jobs have been filled by robots and created a huge unemployed class, unravels with the lightest application of logic (the unemployed all have many, many needs and wants that are not met, but they are forced to scrounge through the trash rather than make and sell products and services to each other). The characters are whiny and one-dimensional and really not all that different from each other. The story I love sci-fi, but this book was absolutely awful. It's fundamental premise, that almost all jobs have been filled by robots and created a huge unemployed class, unravels with the lightest application of logic (the unemployed all have many, many needs and wants that are not met, but they are forced to scrounge through the trash rather than make and sell products and services to each other). The characters are whiny and one-dimensional and really not all that different from each other. The story doesn't build to a climax, everything just sort of resolves. It doesn't matter, there's no let down at the end because the 'mystery' of the book never feels genuine or even all that interesting to begin with. I was happy when this crappy book was over.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Ann aka Iftcan

    Interesting book set 150 years in the future. It deals with 10 young people who have just graduated from School--and are now Unemployed, (yes, that's capital U type Unemployed, as in that is the title of what they do now) and living in a grim, grey city with no hope for a job. The Game, which they learn about very soon after settling into their new "home" is something that they decide that they want to play, and see if it gives them any way to make the days less tense and more fulfilling. Altho Interesting book set 150 years in the future. It deals with 10 young people who have just graduated from School--and are now Unemployed, (yes, that's capital U type Unemployed, as in that is the title of what they do now) and living in a grim, grey city with no hope for a job. The Game, which they learn about very soon after settling into their new "home" is something that they decide that they want to play, and see if it gives them any way to make the days less tense and more fulfilling. Altho they also find out that not everyone gets invited to play The Game, they are hopeful and evenutally get invited. The results of what happens in The Game and afterwards is the 'hook' for this story and provides a very interesting perspecitive.

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